National and GovernmentKingdom of Thailand‟s National Emblem
GovernmentThailand is a constitutional monarchy under thebeloved king, Bhumibol Adulyadej, who hasreigned since 1946. King Bhumibol is the worldslongest-serving head of state.
Thailands current Prime Minister is YingluckShinawatra, who assumed office as the firstever female in that role on August 5, 2011.
Geography Thailand is divided into 76 provinces ( , changwat), which are gathered into 5 groups of provinces by location.
Totaling 513,120 square kilometers (198,120 sq mi), Thailand is the worlds 51st-largest country by total area. It is slightly smaller than Yemen and slightly larger than Spain. The north of the country is the mountainous area whether The Southern Thailand consists of the narrow land bridge called Kra Isthmuts widen into Malay Peninsula Thelocal climate is tropical and characterized by monsoons. There is a rainy, warm, and cloudy southwest monsoon from mid-May to September, as well as a dry, cool northeast monsoon from November to mid-March. The southern isthmus is always hot and humid.
Religions and Language The most common religion is Theravada Buddhism. Thai Buddhism ranks amongst the highest in the world. According to the last census (2000) 94.6% of the total population are Buddhists of the Theravada tradition. Muslims are the second largest religious group in Thailand at 4.6%. Christians represent 0.7% of the population and 0.1% for the other religions. Thailand‟s national language is called Thai, which many scholars believe is a form of Chinese that was gradually brought to the area between the 7th and 13th centuries. Like Lao, Vietnamese, and Chinese, Thai is a very tonal language. Its alphabet has 32 vowels and 44 consonants.
Native Sports and Foods Muay Thai is a native form of kickboxing and Thailands national sport. It incorporates kicks, punches, knees and elbow strikes in a ring with gloves similar to those used in Western boxing and this has led to Thailand gaining medals at the Olympic Games in boxing
Takraw is a sport native to Thailand, which the players hit a rattan ball and only be allowed to use their feet, knees, chest and head to touch the ball. Sepak Takraw is a form of this sport which appears in volley ball style, the players must volley a ball over a net and force it to hit the ground on opponents side.
There are so many famous local foods from thailand such as Tom Yam Goong, Pad Thai, Som Tam, Gai Med Ma Moung (Chicken Cashew Nuts) and many more.
Tourism Spot and Culture Mae Hong Son is the capital of Thailand‟s northwestern-most province. Its close proximity to the Burmese boarder gives the city a very different feel to the rest of Thailand. Very quiet and isolated this mountainous city is often shrouded in an atmospheric mist. Visitors come here for the unusual and beautiful natural scenery, the mountain trekking and to see the local hill tribe communities – one of which is the famous Karen long neck tribe.
Ayutthaya was an important Siamese kingdom existing from 1351 to 1767. The ancient city is now ruined but the remains of the extraordinary and once towering temples are classed as an UNESCO world heritage site and should not be missed.
The Floating Market- made famous by the James Bond classic “The Man with the Golden Gun” – can be found on the Damneon Saduak Canal. Although now a major tourist attraction, the market is highly photogenic and visitors can get an idea of what trading was like in Thailand before the modernization of the city. It‟s also tons of fun. If you want to buy something here you will have to hail down a narrow long boat piled high with produce (which is quite an experience in itself). The region also has plenty of vineyards, orchards and thriving local businesses which are great to view by canal boat on route to the market.
The spiritual city of Chiang Mai is a much calmer city than Bangkok but still an essential visit on the travellers trail if you want to see the best of Thailand. Dotted with temples, craft shops, great restaurants and plenty of Thai massage and cooking schools, the city has a somehow relaxed and comparatively tranquil atmosphere
Bangkok is a restless and chaotic metropolis and an essential part of a trip to Thailand. Although not everyone‟s cup of tea, the culture-shock inducing capital has some incredible places of interest that you would be foolish to miss. The impossibly bejewelled Grand Palace should really be visited and if you have time, take a trip to Wat Arun (one of the oldest and best known landmarks in Bangkok) and Wat Po which is home to a huge reclining Buddha. The more adventurous head for the notorious backpacker‟s road Khao San, the bazaars and alleyways of Chinatown and the infamous Patpong Night Market, located in the city‟s red light district.
San Kamphaeng is a district located 36km from the northern city Chiang Mai. The area is home to the popular hot springs which are set in a 40 acre beautifully landscaped parkland. They are well known for their restorative properties and people come from miles to visit. The springs come from a deep source, are over 100 degrees centigrade and high in sulfur. Here you can camp, dine, bath in the mineral rich waters or if you fancy – boil some eggs.
Koh Samui and Koh Phangan are islands on the east side of Thailand popular with both vacationers and backpackers. The islands are known for their palm tree lined white sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters and laid back attitudes. On Koh Phangan you‟ll find plenty of bohemian style bars and cafes and of course the world-famous full moon parties. Nearby, the islands of Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan are much less touristy due to their more isolated locations and are perfect for those looking for peace. These islands also offer world-class snorkelling and diving
Divers should head for Hin Daeng located in the Andaman Sea. Literally meaning the Red Rock, this area is often said to be one of the top diving spots in Thailand – if not the world. Swim among underwater pinnacles, swaying carpets of anemone and colorful coral. It‟s also teeming with wildlife including large shoals of fish, round batfish, manta ray, barracuda and the odd whale shark or two
The tiny but idyllic west coast island of Koh Phi Phi is seen by many as the ultimate island paradise. Even though it has now fully recovered from the devastating 2009 tsunami, the island has suffered from rapid tourist growth especially since the release of the “The Beach” (starring Leo Dicaprio). Having said that it still manages to retain a relaxed vibe which seems to keep both the backpackers and the vacationers happy. Island highlights include climbing a steep viewpoint to watch the sunset and hiring a long tail boat to snorkel the beautiful surrounding waters.
Railay and the surrounding coast of the Krabi province (located in the South of Thailand) is a tropical paradise characterised by towering rugged limestone cliffs, turquoise water and powder white sand. From this area it‟s also easy to take a trip to nearby Phang Nga to see the iconic „James Bond Rock‟. Railay is a beautiful secluded beach – accessible only by boat – which attracts a mixture of in-the-know backpackers, well-heeled tourists and enthusiastic rock climbers. Surrounded by dense vegetation and mountains, the area is also good for trekking. The beach is unique because it‟s completely cut off from the daily grind and visitors kick back and often stay a lot longer than originally planned.