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 Home > About Thailand > Thailand

Geography Topography The Climate Population
The National Flag The National Symbol National Colours National Anthem
National Dress National Day National Language Public Holidays
Sport Food , Fruit Thai Brahmans for Visitors to Thailand

Historical Background

There 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."

Geography:

The Kingdom 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.

Thailand covers 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.

Topography:

Thailand is divided into four natural regions:

The Climate:

The climate is tropical with long hours of sunshine and high humidity. There are three seasons:

  1. Hot from March to June
  2. Rainy from July to October
  3. 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 crops.

Population:

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 Language

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 white elephant 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.

The 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:

The 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.

National Colors

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.

National Anthem;

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 and body.
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
.

National Dress

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 silk.
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 the waist.

National Day;

December 5, the birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, is generally regarded as national day. This day is a public holiday.

Public Holidays:

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.

Sport:

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.

Food

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.

Fruit

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 many others.

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.

Thai Salads

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 of chilli.

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 leaves.

Religion in Thailand

Government and Politics

The Character and Structure of the Economy

Transportation (International)

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.

Customs

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.

 


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