Thailand, the beating heart of Southeast Asia with a rich culture and history, friendly people, beautiful beaches and excellent cuisine! Thailand is an enchanting Buddhist Kingdom with a unique past. As a more detailed background to your holiday in Thailand, this page aims to give further details on the Kingdom as a whole, and more specifically on the Northeast of the country, where Resotel Baan Sanook, your holiday retreat, is situated.
Thailand: Some Basic Facts
- Area: 514,000 sq km
- Provinces: 76
- Land boundaries: total: 4,863 km
- Bordering countries: Burma 1,800 km, Cambodia 803 km, Laos 1,754 km, Malaysia 506 km
- Languages: Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects
- Ethnic groups: Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%
- Religions: Buddhism 95%, Muslim 3.8%, Christianity 0.5%, Hinduism 0.1%, other 0.6% (1991)
- Capital: Bangkok
- Head of State: King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) passed away in 2016 and during 2017 mourning period is applicable. His son is now the new King Rama X
- Government type: Constitutional monarchy
- Time zone: GMT/UTC + 7 (Thailand has no winter saving time)
- The basic monetary unit in Thailand is the Baht which is divided into 100 satang. The following coins and notes are currently in use; coins: 1, 2, 5, and 10.
- Bill notes: 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 Baht.
- Electricity operates on 230 volts and 50 Hz cycles throughout the country.; wall sockets are typically suitable for European and USA plugs
- Thailand has a tropical Climate with three seasons; hot (March to May), Green (June to October) and Cool (November to February). Average temperatures are 30 C, ranging, for example, from 40 C in April, to 23 C in December.
Location & Landscape
Thailand is a vast country, slightly smaller than France and is located in Southeast Asia, between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. The country is bordered by Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. Northern Thailand is mountainous, while the east is flat where the ground is fertilised by the Mekong River The south of Thailand, known as Kra Island, offers a picture of long sandy beaches, beautiful bays, many tropical islands and an impressive rainforest.
Thailand, or Siam as it was called until 1939, has never been colonised by a foreign power in history, unlike its Southern and South Eastern Asian neighbours. Despite periodic invasion by the Burmese and the Khmers, and brief occupation by the Japanese in WWII, the kingdom has never been externally controlled for long enough to dampen the Thai's individualism.
The earliest civilisation in Thailand history is believed to have been that of the Mons in central Thailand, who brought a Buddhist culture from the Indian subcontinent. In the 12th century, this met a Khmer culture moving from the east, the Sumatran-based Srivijaya culture moving north, and citizens of the Thai state of Nan Chao, in what is now southern China, migrating south. Thai princes created the first Siamese capital in Sukhothai and later centres in Chiang Mai and, notably, Ayuthaya.
The Burmese military invaded Siam in both the 16th and 18th centuries, capturing Chiang Mai and destroying Ayuthaya. The Thais expelled the Burmese and moved their capital to Thonburi. In 1782, the current Chakri dynasty was founded by King Rama I and the capital was moved across the river to Bangkok. In the 19th century, Siam remained independent by deftly playing off one European power against another.
The 20th century brought great change to Siam. Modern Thai history begins with the military coup of 1932, which shifted power from the king to a coalition of military and elected officials. In 1939, the country changed its name from Siam to Thailand. During WWII, the Thai government sided with the Japanese. After the war, Thailand was dominated by the military and experienced more than twenty military coups and military countercoups interspersed with short-lived experiments with democracy. Democratic elections in 1979 were followed by a long period of stability and prosperity as power shifted from the military to the business elite.
Recent decades have seen a parade of governments elected under what some have called "supermarket democracy", amidst a politically more polarized society. Currently the military is controlling the country.
Population, Culture & Religion
Thailand is known as the 'Land of Smiles'. The Thai is known for his hospitality, his jollity and relaxed attitude in daily life. Nowhere in the world do people have a more friendly laugh, even the characteristic of gold Buddha statues and stone have a jolly laugh. Thailand has nearly 60 million inhabitants, more than ten percent reside in the metropolis of Bangkok. The ethnic Thai makes up the majority of the population, although there are several regions each with its own dialect. As a result of migration in the past there are many foreign influences in Thailand. There are Chinese, Malay, Khmer, Burmese and Indian found everywhere. This leads to the Thai culture having an interesting "Oriental Mix". Buddhism has always been the national religion of the Kingdom of Thailand and 90% of the people still practice this belief. Religion has a great influence on the culture and the lifestyle of the people of Thailand. You will encounter it everywhere: the gilded spiers of the temples, the many Buddha statues and the rows of the monks clad in their saffron coloured robes collecting alms in the morning.
Flora & Fauna
Thailand has a very varied landscape. In the north you will find lush tropical rainforests with lots of fern vegetation and numerous types of orchids. In the east, the hills are actually very arid and vegetation consists mainly of low shrubs. The fertile Mekong Delta (in the east), however, has a rich flora and fauna, with many national parks. Thailand as a whole has many national parks, where you can still see elephants, tigers and leopards!
Thailand has a tropical climate, whereby the daytime temperature for the entire year, hovers around 30 degrees Celsius and the humidity is high. The monsoon, or rainy season begins on the west coast in May and lasts until October. On the east coast (approximately where the island of Koh Samui is located) lasts from November to April. The showers are generally short and intense, after which the sun breaks quickly through again!
Food & Drink
For lovers of Asian cuisine Thailand is a paradise. Although Thai cuisine is known for its sharp spicy meals, there are also a lot of less hot dishes. Almost all dishes include noodles or rice, served with vegetables and meat or fish. Coconut is also a common ingredient in Thai cuisine. The many different tropical fruits that grow in Thailand can be found in juices and are often freshly available for sale along the roadside.
- Land of smiles and hospitality.
- Idyllic beaches, hospitable people, bustling Bangkok, diverse nature.
- Suitable for both luxury and low budget vacations.