| Thailand Guide Directories
here are conflicting
opinions as to the origins of the Thais. Three decades ago
it could be said with presumed certainty that the Thais
originated in Northwestern Szechuan in China about 4,500
years ago and later migrated down to their present homeland.
However, this theory has been altered by the discovery of
remarkable prehistoric artifacts in the village of Ban Chiang
in the Nong Han District of Udon Thani Province in the Northeast
These include evidence of bronze metallurgy going back 3,500
years, as well as other indications of a far more sophisticated
culture than any previously suspected by archaeologists.
It now appears that the a Thais might have originated here
in Thailand and later scattered to various parts of Asia,
including some parts of China.
Siam is the
name by which the country was known to the world until 1939
and again between 1945 and 1949. On May 11, 1949, an official
proclamation changed the name of the country to "Prathet
Thai", or "Thailand", by which it has since
been known. The word "Thai" means "free",
and therefore "Thailand" means "Land of the Free."
of Thailand, located in Southeast Asia on the Gulf of
Thailand and the Andaman Sea, shares boundaries with Myanmar
(Burma) on the west and northwest, Laos on the east and
northeast, Cambodia (Kampuchea) on the southeast, and
Malaysia on the south. Thailand, although rich in rubber
and in mineral resources, was never colonized by Europeans
and has existed as a unified monarchy since 1350. The
capital, BANGKOK, an attractive blend of Western and Thai
architecture, was established in 1782.
a land area of 513,115 square kilometers, from North 5°
30¨ to 21° and from East 97° 30¨ to 105°
30¨, and extends about 2,500 kilometers from north
to south and 1,250 kilometers from east to west, with
a coastline of approximately 1,840 kilometers on the Gulf
of Thailand and 865 kilometers along the Indian Ocean.
Thailand is divided into four natural
The climate is tropical with long hours
of sunshine and high humidity. There are three seasons:
Hot from March to June
Rainy from July to October
Cool from November to February
Average low temperature is 20°c
and high temperature is 37°c. The geographic and climatic
conditions make the country suitable for the cultivation
of a wide range of tropical and semi-tropical agricultural
The country has a population of approximately
58.6 million (1994), of which around 6 million live in
the capital city, Bangkok. The most important ethnic minority
are Chinese. Other minority groups include Malays, Cambodians,
Indians, non-Thai hill tribes, and some Vietnamese. Immigration
is controlled by a quota system.
The National Flag:
The flag of the Kingdom of Siam was
created during the reign of King Rama II and flew on all
Siamese sea-going vessels The symbol of a
on a red background was chosen because
white elephants are considered very auspicious by Thais.
King Rama II
was known as the
'White Elephant King' as he had three of these noble animals
in his possession during his reign.
five horizontal stripes of three colors-red, white, and
blue-have very significant meanings. Red signifies the
life-blood of Thai people; the white stripe symbolizes
the purity of Buddhism, the national religion; and the
dominant blue stripe, the monarchy and the important part
it plays in the daily life of the Thai people.
The present national flag , the "Trai-rong"
or three colors , was designed by King Rama VI and was
first used on September 28, 1917.
The flag is raised daily at 8.00 am
and lowered at 6.00 pm at all official buildings, public
places, large private enterprises, and schools, usually
to the accompaniment of the Thai National Anthem. The
flag is also flown nationwide on national holidays.
The National Symbol:
Thai national and royal symbol is the Garuda, a mythical
half-bird half-human figure [steed of the Hindu god Vishnu]
that adorns King Bhumibol Adulyadej's scepter and royal
standard. Many ministries and departments have incorporated
the Garuda into their insignias. Moreover, the Garuda
is signification of being "By Royal Appointment"
and is awarded, at the personal discretion of His Majesty
the King, as a sign of royal approval to companies that
have rendered outstanding economic and charitable services
to Thailand. Such an award is rarely bestowed and is considered
a great honor.
Thailand has no official national colors,
although the use of red, white, and blue, inspired by
the colors of the Thai flag, are used by Thai international
sporting teams, as well as on other appropriate occasions.
The national anthem is played on
all ceremonial 0 of national flag is being raised and
lowered . Its music was composed in 1932 by Professor
Phra Jenduriyang, while the lyrics, as presently constituted,
were written in 1939 by Colonel Luang Saranuprabhands.
A literal translation is as follows:
Thailand is the unity of Thai blood
The whole country belongs to the Thai people, maintaining
thus far for the Thai.
All Thais intend to unite together.
Thais love peace, but do not fear to fight.
They will never let anyone threaten their independence.
They will sacrifice every drop of their blood to contribute
to the nation, will serve their country
with pride and prestige-full of victory. CHAI YO.
Although there is no official national
dress, the traditional dress has been adopted as the
unofficial national costume and can be seen on both
formal and informal occasions. For women, it is a full
length "pha sin" -a rectangular piece of cloth
worn like a skirt or sarong- generally made of Thai
The pasin can be of any color and
generally has contrasted bands aroud the hem. It is
worn with a long-sleeved silk blouse. on formal 0 a
sash may be worn across the breast from the left shoulder
to the right part of the waist. For men, the 0 dress
is trouser with a "seur phra ratchathan"
, a short-sleeved
shirt [ long- Sleeved for formal occasions] with a high
0 neck. On formal occasions, a cummerbund is tied around
December 5, the birthday of His Majesty
, is generally regarded as national
day. This day is a public holiday.
Most national holidays and festivals
are of a religious nature and serve to evoke a sense
of the monarchy,
the religion, and the nation. Some are celebrated by
the calendar and thus vary in date from year to year,
while others are celebrated according to the solar calendar.
Thai Boxing or "Muey Thai"
as referred to by locals, is an art of self defence
that comes naturally to Thai boys, unlike other martial
arts in which training is essential. Thai boys know
the arts of kinging and boxing in Muey Thai style even
0 are very little,usually urged on by their elders.
Muey Thai is an ancient art of self 0, and it is believed
that many of the deadlier forms of this arts have been
lost over the centuries, as each teacher or "Archarn
Muey" has been said to have kept the highest forms
to himself to prevent his students from disobedience.
Unlike other martial arts, Muey Thai
has musical accompaniment which consists of a drum or
"Krong" small brass cymbals called "Ching
Chup" and a Thai clarinet commonly called " Pee."
At the being of each fight the contenders dance to the
rhythm of the music around the ring to pay homage to
their respective Archarn or Kru Muey [teacher], usually
for five to ten minutes.
Thailand's culinary heritage is blessed
with an abundant amount of food found in the seas and
in the fields which offers ample oportunity to the adventurous
cook to use his 1 and resourcefulness in concocting
a variety of nutritious and delicious dishes.
The food in general is rather spicy
with the most commonly used ingredients being ginger,
garlic, chili, pepper, knob khaa, coriander leaves and
roots, cumin seed, manglak leaves and seeds, lemon grass
and basil leaves. Equally important in bringing out
the distinctive Thai flavor are prepared curry paste,
nam prik, biachan, and the 0 high quality Thai nam pla.
Thailand is a paradise for tropical
fruits. At any time during the year at least a dozen
different kinds can be found in the market. Their strong
aromas and distinctive tastes are addictive once more
acquires a liking for them. These include the durian
, rambutan, magosteen, longans, lychee, langsat and
While the most common way fruit is
eaten in Thailand is simply by removing the skin and
biting into it, for very special occasions the fruits
are intricately carved and sometimes stuffed one into
another or simply mixed to give a blend of tastes. Alt
hough Thais prefer to eat fruits in their fresh state
and a little unripe, they turn a lot into jams and juices
and other preserved foods.
Unlike the generally uninspiring
Western side - dishes, Thai salads are a significant
part of most meals, often combining with meat
and seafood to become the main course. In a
country where presentation is the key to culinary
pleasure, cooks take great pride in making a
colourful, multi - textured plate of freshly
picked vegetables, aromatic herbs and exotic
fruits, all chopped, spiced and commonly topped
with peanuts, various shredded leaves and strips
Don't expect the insipid
lettuce and carrot variety of most Western cuisines.
One popular dish is the Thai beef salad, where
thin strips of beef are mixed with coriander,
soy, lime juice and black pepper. This is then
cooked with onions and the essential chillis,
and served with a garnish of lettuce and coriander
Information for Visitors to Thailand
Passports and Visas
Aliens visiting Thailand must possess
valid passports or acceptable travel documents and appropriate
visas before entering the country. Visitors from certain
countries are permitted to stay for up to 15 day without
visas, provided they possess tickets confirming departure
within 15 days, while visitors from several other countries
are allowed to apply for tourist visas at all ports
of entry. Transit visas are granted for up to 30 days
and tourist visas for up to 60 days. 1, diplomatic and
official visas are valid for up to 90 days.
Narcotics and pornographic materials
are strictly prohibited. Permits must be obtained for
firearms and certain species of animals and plants.
The export of Buddha images, images of deities and antiques
is strictly forbidden without first obtaining approval
from the Fine Arts Department. Any amount of foreign
Currency may be brought in for personal use.