Thailand Facts

  • Official Name: Kingdom of Thailand
  • Capital: Bangkok
  • Area Code: 00 66
  • Time Zone: UTC+7
  • Population: 66.86 million.
  • Area (km²): 513,120 km2.
  • Government Type: constitutional monarchy
  • Language: Thai (official) 90.7%, Burmese 1.3%, other 8%
  • Religion: Buddhist (official) 93.6%, Muslim 4.9%, Christian 1.2%, other 0.2%, none 0.1% (2010 est.
  • Major Tourism Cities/Places: Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Pattaya City, Ko Samui, Phi Phi Islands, Chiang Rai, Krabi, Samut Prakan

 

Thailand, formerly known as "Siam", is a famous tourism country in Southeast Asia. It borders Laos and Cambodia in the east, Siam Gulf and Malaysia in the south, and Myanmar and the Andaman Sea in the west. Known as the "Smile Country", this place has become one of the favorite travel destinations for tourists worldwide.

Whether its magnificent temples, deep religious atmosphere, beautiful beaches, or exotic history and culture, have attracted more and more people to explore this magic country. In Thailand, the locals are friendly with comfortable Thai smiles and great hospitality, which makes tourists feeling like home and gives them a sense of belonging.

A variety of delicious Thai snacks and abundant seafood with low prices are also reasons to keep visitors lingering around. In addition, inexpensive Thai souvenirs, low-key luxury Thai silk, fashionable retro clothing design all endow great fun to shop in Thailand. Thailand is a magic country, where everyone can find the most colorful holiday that suits them best.

Thailand Facts
Koh Samui

 

History of Thailand

Thailand, originally called Siam, has a profound history and culture with over 700 years. Around 1240, Pho Khun, a local Thai ruler, established the first independent unified kingdom, Sukhothai Kingdom. Sukhothai was the capital of the Sukhothai kingdom, it used to belong to Myanmar, but Pho Khun led the people to fight and occupied Sukhothai to establish the Sukhothai kingdom. Having experienced Ayutthaya Kingdom, Thonburi Kingdom, now it is the kingdom of Thai.

Thailand Facts
Ayutthaya

 

Politics

Thai politics is conducted within the framework of a constitutional monarchy, whereby a hereditary monarch is head of state. The constitution limits the powers of the king. Thai government is divided into three branches: Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary.

 

Administrative Divisions

Thailand consists of 76 provinces with two specially governed districts: the capital Bangkok and Pattaya. Bangkok is at the provincial level and often counted as a province.

Provinces are administrated by regions according to the four-region division system. It divides the country into the four regions: Northern, Northeastern, Central and Southern, all have their own distinct historical backgrounds, culture, language and people.

Popular tourist cities in Thailand include Chiang Mai and Pai in the north; sunny islands such as Koh Samui and Phuket in the south; and modern capital Bangkok in the middle.

Thailand Facts
Phuket

 

Economy

Thai Currency

Baht (code: THB ) is the official currency of Thailand. It is divided into 100 satang. The issuance of currency is the responsibility of the Bank of Thailand.

 

  • Symbol: ฿
  • Central Bank: Bank of Thailand
  • Subunit: satang
  • Banknotes: ฿1000, ฿100, ฿50, ฿500, ฿20
  • Coins: ฿10, 50 satang, ฿1, 25 satang, ฿5, ฿2


Exchange Rate

The exchange rate between baht and other currencies are as bellowing:

 

1 THB≈USD 0.0305; 1 THB≈GBP 0.025; 1 THB≈EUR 0.0279; 1 THB≈AUD 0.0515

1 THB≈CNY 0.2169; 1 THB≈AUD 0.0434; 1 THB≈JPY 3.3794; 1 THB≈KRW 37.4267

 

How to Tip in Thailand

Tipping is not mandatory in Thailand, but small gratuities for great service are very much appreciated. Please keep in mind that it is NOT polite to tip anyone with coins.


Restaurants and Bars

For meals at restaurants or bars, the bill often adds 10% services charge and 7% tax into the total amount. In that case, you don't have to tip the staff additionally.


Hotel Staff, Tour Guides, Masseuses

Bellhops, porters, service people, and others who carry things for you should also be tipped. 20 baht or 20 baht per bag is recommended. 20 to 50 baht tip in an envelope left in the room for your housekeeper is appreciated.

Massage therapists, spa technicians, and salon employees should also be tipped 10 percent or more, but depending on their services.

If you book a private tour in Thailand, 10 percent of the tour price is often recommended to tip your tour guide.


Taxis

Most people round up their taxi fare. Thus, for a 52 baht fare, the driver would get 60 baht. If the driver helps you to pick up the luggage or bags, you may tip additionally.

 

Tourism

Tourism is an economic contributor to the Kingdom of Thailand and occupies a significant portion of Thai GDP, which can be divided into cultural tourism, medical tourism, gastronomical tourism, elephant tourism, and Muay Thai tourism.

Thailand Facts

 

Best Time to Travel in Thailand

Thailand has no winter, spring, summer, or fall. There are broadly three seasons in most of Thailand: hot, cool, and rainy. The hot season is from March to May; the rainy season is from June to October, the cool season is from November to February. From November to February is the high season to travel in Thailand with lower temperature and less rainy, the weather condition is good for beach activities, like swimming, snorkeling and boating, etc. Although it is the rainy season from June to October, it usually rains at night time, if you come during this period, you will find good discounts for the local hotels.

Thailand Facts
White Temple

 

Best Places to Travel in Thailand

Bangkok

Located in central Thailand, known as the city of angel, is the capital and largest city of Thailand. Bangkok is also the city with the most Buddhist temples in the world, so it is also known as the "Capital of Buddhism". The famous sightseeing sites include the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Maeklong Railway Market, etc.

Thailand Facts
Grand Palace


Pattaya

Pattaya is located in 154 kilometers southeast of the capital Bangkok, at the Gulf of Siam, between the Indian Peninsula and the Malay Peninsula. It is famous for its sun, beaches, and seafood, known as "Oriental Hawaii" and a world-renowned beach resort.

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Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya is a city of ruins, known as World Cultural Heritage Ayutthaya Historical Park, which is about 80 kilometers away from Bangkok. People who are fond of history will visit this place. It witnessed the prosperity and decline of the Sukhothai kingdom, and it is the second capital city of Sukhothai kingdom. At the beginning of the 17th century, it has become one of the richest cities in Asia. In 1767, Ayutthaya was destroyed by the Burmese army. All the temples and palaces were ruined in the fire.

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Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is the largest city in northern Thailand and the capital of Chiang Mai Province. The old city gate, ancient city wall and moat have been guarding this ancient town of Chiang Mai for more than 700 years. The completed repaired Tha Phae Gate welcomes visitors from all over the world with its orange-red brick walls. More than 300 temple pagodas, as a witness of history and the sedimentation of culture, are scattered all over the streets. The pure and vicissitudes Wat Chedi Luang and the splendid Wat Phra That Doi Suthep are one of the famous representatives.

Thailand Facts
Tha Phae Gate
 

Phuket

Phuket is located in the southeastern part of the Andaman Sea in the Indian Ocean, 867 kilometers from the Thai capital Bangkok. It is the only island in Thailand that has been designated as a provincial island. It has a profound history and culture, known as the pearl of the Andaman Sea. Besides Phuket island, there are more than 30 islands in Phuket also have their own charm and attract thousands of tourists from all over the world to visit, Racha Island, Phi Phi Island and Similan Island, etc.

Thailand Facts
Phi Phi Island

 

Dressing Code

The average temperature in Thailand is about 20 degrees throughout the year. Whenever you come to Thailand, summer short sleeves, shorts and skirts can meet the demand. The temperature difference between day and night in northern Thailand is significant, and it is cooler at night. If you visit north Thailand from December to February, you need to prepare a gown to avoid catching a cold.

However, the Thai people pay more attention to appearance and need to pay attention to dressing on some special occasions:
 

  • Temples: In Thailand, temples are very sacred places, and tourists are required to dress more. Generally, tourists are required to wear trousers and long skirts and sleeved tops. Avoid exposure.
     
  • High-end bars and hotels: Many high-end bars and hotels in Bangkok refuse to enter with tourists in shorts, vests, and slippers. For example, many rooftop bars in Bangkok watch the night view, and they have higher requirements for tourists.
     
  • Seaside: To the seaside in Thailand, swimwear and bikinis are a must. If necessary, snorkeling equipment.

 

Etiquette

Royal Etiquette

1. Thai people have great respect for the members of the royal family, and portraits of kings can be found everywhere in this country. The law also has penalties for royal disrespect.

2. Pay attention to etiquette when talking to the royal family, and follow the actions of the locals when the royal family is present.

3. If the boat in the river is passing the royal residential area, the engine will be turned off, the sound will be reduced, and the boat will run quietly. Visitors should also pay attention to keeping quiet and avoiding noise.

4. Every morning and evening or before the movie is played in the theater, the Thai national anthem will be played, letting go of the things on hand, and standing up with the Thai people to pay tribute.

5. The members of the royal family in Thailand all have their own colors. The king is yellow, and the queen is blue. Therefore, on Father's Day and Mother's Day, they will wear the corresponding colors to express their respect.
 

Daily Etiquette

1. Thai people think that the head is the noblest part of the body. They are not allowed to stroke anyone's head, even if it is a friendly expression. At the same time, the feet are considered shabby. Don't use your feet to point or touch anyone, otherwise it will be considered rude behaviors.

2. Thai people also think that the right hand is clean, and the left hand is dirty. Please use your right hand or both hands to show respect when accepting or delivering other people's things. You cannot use your left hand.

3. Men and women should not be too affectionate in public. It is rare to see Thai men and women to hold hands in public.

4. Gambling is illegal in Thailand. Do not play cards in public, or you will be detained.


Religious Etiquette

1. Thai temples are recognized as sacred places by Thai people. Please dress properly when entering a Buddhist temple. You will not be allowed to wear any short skirt, shorts, or topless.

2. When entering Buddhist temples, Muslim temples or private houses, tourists need to take off their shoes and pay attention not to step on the threshold.

3. Don't touch or climb any of the Buddha statues inside and outside the temple, respect all the Buddha statues, regardless of their size, and don't put them in the trouser bag.

4. Women cannot directly contact the monks. If you need to deliver items, please ask the men to transfer them.


Thailand Facts

 

Thai Festivals

Makha Bucha Day

Makha Bucha Day, the third most important Buddhist festival, is celebrated on March 15th of the Thai lunar calendar. According to the legend, the Buddhist founder Shakyamuni came forward to assemble 1250 Arhats to publicize the teachings during that day. This is a statutory holiday in Thailand. Thai men, women, children, young and old bring flowers, incense, and alms to nearby temples for fasting, incense burning, and worship of Buddha. If tourists are interested, they can also worship the scriptures with locals in the temple. The government also held a ceremony to celebrate this Festival, and the king would attend this ceremony.
 

Songkran

Songkran, an important event on the Buddhist calendar, is the Thai New Year's national holiday, which takes place from April 13th to 15th every year and celebrates in every city of Thailand. It is also the biggest and longest festival in Thailand.

During Songkran Festival, families and friends will gather together to pay gratitude to elders and visit temples for prayer and offering. Water fight is another important element of Songkran. People will go out of the door and throw water to each other for the annual celebrations. If you're visiting Thailand during this period, prepare to get splashed!

Buddhists also visit temples throughout Songkran where water is poured on Buddha images and on the hands of Buddhist monks as a mark of respect.

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Loi Krathong

Loi Krathong is a Siamese festival celebrated annually throughout the Kingdom of Thailand and in nearby countries with significant southwestern Tai cultures. It takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. In the western calendar, this usually falls in November. The exact date is announced a month before the festival. On that day, people will make their own Krathong and put it into the river or lakes to make a wish then let it go. The Thais now also see it as a time to wave goodbye to misfortune, wash away sins of the past year, and make wishes for the coming year.

Thailand Facts

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