Known as the land of smiles for its friendly welcoming towards visitors. Great food, a tropical climate, fascinating culture and great beaches.
A country about the same size as France, Thailand is sure to amaze you with the most interesting markets, places and culture, simply an unforgettable experience and one many people return to experience again and again.
The warmth of the people and places, in busy city markets or away in the islands in the Andaman Sea, I have never been anywhere that matches what Thailand has to offer the visitor (so far), finding yourself surprised with how far or how much you can get out of your experience in this land of sunshine and smiles.
An independent country that lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, officially the Kingdom of Thailand, with coasts on the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only South-East Asian country never to have been colonised by a foreign power. A revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy where the king is officially titled as the Head of State, the Head of the Armed Forces, an Upholder of the Buddhist religion, and the Defender of all Faiths. The largest city and capital is Bangkok.
The national religion is Theravada Buddhism where the place of worship are wats, temples identified by their ornate, multicolored, pointy roofs. One pre-Buddhist tradition that still survives is the spirit house (usually found at the corner of any house or business), which houses spirits so they don't enter the house and cause trouble.
The traditional Thai greeting, the wai, is a sign of respect for another. With hands pressed together as in prayer, fingertips pointing upwards as the head bowed to touch the face to the hands, is generally offered first by the younger of the two people meeting. The higher your hands go, the more respectful you are. Thais often do a wai as they walk past temples and spirit houses. If somebody makes a wai to you, a slight bow alone is more than sufficient.
Thai people smile constantly and is a subtle way to communicate, a smile can indicate any emotion?-from fear, to anger, to sadness, to joy, etc. "Saving face" is a very important aspect of Thai culture and they will try to avoid embarrassment and confrontation.
Thai cuisine blends five fundamental tastes: sweet, spicy, sour, bitter and salty. Some common ingredients used in Thai cuisine include garlic, chillies, lime juice, lemon grass, and fish sauce. The staple food in Thailand is rice, particularly jasmine variety rice which is included in almost every meal. Thai food has a reputation for being spicy, with hot little torpedo-shaped chillies making their way into many dishes. Since Thai dishes are usually made to order, it's easy to ask for anything on the menu to be made with or without ingredients you choose.
Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, is the national sport in Thailand, with its full-contact rules allowing strikes including elbows, throws and knees, derived from the military training of Thai warriors and royal soldiers for combat on battlefield if unarmed.
There are many ways to get around and a few traditional methods including the tuk-tuk, a three wheeled small/lightweight vehicle, often found in cities and towns. Common in the islands (known as kho) and coasts of Thailand are the Long-tail boats, a long thin wooden boat with the propeller at the end of a long "tail" stretching from the boat.
Taboos in Thailand include touching someone's head or pointing with the feet, as the head is considered the most sacred and the foot the dirtiest part of the body. It's illegal to show disrespect to royalty, a crime which carries up to 15 years imprisonment. Do not make any negative remarks about the King or any members of the Royal Family.
A vibrant city that lives day and night with the strangest attractions within reach, from snake farms and floating markets, to night markets selling every possible item you can find including fake designer goods that could fool anyone. Bangkok is a gateway to Asia and a must for any stopover!Hat Yai
Situated in the south of Thailand and only 30km from the Malaysian border, this small city is a transit point if you plan on traveling to the remote islands of the Andaman Sea.Koh Tarutao
Officially a national park a long distance from the mainland, I have never been anywhere so magical and tranquil, the sand a white powder, trails and jungle and even caves to explore. I loved this place and it still often re-appears in my dreams.Koh Lipe
Home to the sea gypsies of Satun province and also an island of the national park, these people live in stilt houses made of bamboo and the island is an escape of the modern world. Though I've heard there has been much development since my visit.
A coastal town that offers a perfect place to chill before or after your visit the nearby islands. Take in kayaking, elephant riding and a swim at the soothing mangrove springs where the water is crystal clear and refreshingly cool.Koh Lanta
The newest up and coming islands still has dirt roads but developers are already in to grab the best places.Koh Phi Phi
Paradise found. Day trips to private beaches, offshore islands, diving, Monkey Beach, Thai Kick Boxing and more... Koh Phi Phi can't be missed !Koh Phi Phi Ley
Within reach of Koh Phi Phi and a short day trip is all is needed to see Maya Beach where scenes from the movie 'The Beach' were filmed, visit and see the remarkable beauty of it, truly awesome!
Video of Thailand 2004 © Joe Mendonca
|Area||198,115 sq mi