September 2012
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Thailand…a mixture of great food, a tropical climate, fascinating culture and great beaches – Part 3

Thailand is a country in Southeast Asia with coasts on the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand.

Overview of Thailand

• It borders Myanmar (Burma) to the north-west, Laos to the north-east, Cambodia to the south-east and Malaysia to the south.
• Thailand is a mixture of great food, a tropical climate, fascinating culture and great beaches.

Garlanded statue, Wat Rajanadda, Bangkok

– Thailand is the country in Southeast Asia with the maximum tourists, and for a reason.
– You can find almost anything here: thick jungle as green as can be, crystal blue waters that feel more like a warm bath than a swim in the ocean and food that can curl your nose hairs while tap dancing across your taste buds.
– Exotic, yet safe; cheap, yet equipped with every modern amenity you need, there is something for every interest and every price bracket, from beach front backpacker bungalows to some of the best luxury hotels in the world.
– And despite the heavy flow of tourism, Thailand retains its quintessential Thai-ness, with a culture and history all its own and a carefree people famed for their smiles and their fun-seeking sanuk lifestyle.
– Many travelers come to Thailand and extend their stay well beyond their original plans and others never find a reason to leave.
– Whatever your cup of tea is, they know how to make it in Thailand.
– This is not to say that Thailand doesn’t have its downsides, including the considerable growing pains of an economy where an agricultural laborer is lucky to earn 100 baht per day while Bangkok, the capital, is notorious for its traffic jams and rampant development has wrecked much of once-beautiful Pattaya and Phuket.

History of Thailand

• Ancient civilizations
– Dvaravati
– Si Kottaboon
– Southern Thailand
• Classical era
– Hariphunchai
– Arrival of the Tais
– Chao Phraya Basin under the Tai
– Lavo
– Sukhothai and Lanna
– Ayutthaya
• The earliest identifiably Thai kingdom was founded in Sukhothai in 1238.
• 14th century and later it was under the control of the kingdom of Ayutthaya.
• They ruled most of present-day Thailand and much of today’s Laos and Cambodia as well.
• Ayutthaya was sacked in 1767 by the Burmese.
• King Taksin regrouped and founded a new capital at Thonburi.
• His successor, General Chakri, moved across the river to Bangkok and became King Rama I.
• He was the founding father of the Chakri dynasty that rules (constitutionally) to this day.
• During World War II, while Japan conquered the rest of Southeast Asia, only Thailand was not conquered by the Japanese due to smart political moves.
• Thailand finally stabilized into a fair approximation of a democracy and the economy boomed through tourism and industry.
• Above it all presided King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), the world’s longest-reigning monarch.

Historical and cultural attractions
• Bangkok is at the start of many visitors’ itineraries.
• It has a rich cultural heritage.
• The Grand Palace is a collection of highly decorated buildings and monuments.
• It is home to Wat Phra Kaew, the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand.
• This houses the Emerald Buddha.

Other cultural attractions include:
• Wat Pho
• Wat Arun
• Jim Thompson’s House

The six major hill tribes in Thailand are:
• Akha
• Lahu
• Karen
• Hmong
• Mien
• Lisu

Other Historical Sights
• Chiang Mai makes a good base for arranging these trekking.
• It also has some cultural sights of its own, such as Wat Doi Suthep.
• For those interested in recent history, Kanchanaburi has a lot of sights related to World War II.
• The Bridge over the River Kwai is the most famous one.
• There are many museums in its vicinity.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

• Siam
• Ayutthaya
• Sukhothai
• Si Satchanalai
• Kamphaeng Phet
– Khmer architecture is mostly found in Isaan.
– There are the historical remains of Phimai and Phanom Rung being the most significant.

Best time to visit/climate

• Thailand is largely tropical.
• It’s hot and humid all year around with temperatures in the 28-35°C range (82-95°F).
• From November to the end of February, it doesn’t rain much and temperatures are at their lowest.
• From March to June, Thailand swelters in temperatures as high as 40°C (104°F).
• From July to October, although it only really gets underway in September, tropical monsoons hit most of the country.

Location on Google Maps

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How to get to Thailand?

1. By plane
• The main international airports in Thailand are at Bangkok and Phuket.
• Both are well-served by intercontinental flights.
• Practically every airline that flies to Asia also flies into Bangkok.
• International airports are also located at Hat Yai, Krabi, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai.
• Kuala Lumpur and Singapore make excellent places to catch flights into these smaller Thai cities.
• The national carrier is the well-regarded THAI Airways with Bangkok Airways filling in some gaps in the nearby region.
• Bangkok Airways offers free internet access while you wait for boarding to start at your gate.
• Chartered flights from and to Thailand from international destinations are operated by Hi Flying group.
• They fly to Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui and Udon Thani.

2. By Road
– Cambodia : six international border crossings.
The highway from Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor via Poipet to Aranyaprathet.
– Laos : The busiest border crossing is at the Friendship Bridge across the Mekong between Nong Khai and the Lao capital Vientiane.
It’s also possible to cross the Mekong at Chiang Khong / Huay Xai, Nakhon Phanom /Tha Khaek, Mukdahan / Savannakhet, and elsewhere.
– Vientiane / Udon Thani
– A bus service runs from the Morning Market bus station in Vientiane to the bus station in Udon Thani.
– The cost is 80 Baht or 22,000 Kip and the journey takes two hours.
– The Udon Thani airport is 30 minutes by Tuk Tuk from the bus station and is served by Thai Airways, Nok Air and Air Asia.
– Malaysia and Singapore – Driving is entirely possible.
• Main crossings between Thailand and Malaysia are Padang Besar (Padang Besar) and Sadao (Bukit Kayu Hitam) in Songkhla province, Betong in Yala province, and Sungai Kolok in Narathiwat province.
• There are regular buses from Singapore to the southern hub of Hat Yai.

3. By Train
Thailand’s sole international train service links to Butterworth (near Penang) and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, continuing all the way to Singapore.

4. By Ferry
• It is possible now to travel by ferries in high season (Nov-May) from Phuket and island hop your way down the coast all the way to Indonesia.
• This can now be done without ever touching the mainland, Phuket (Thailand) to Padang (Indonesia).
Islands en route:
– Ko Phi Phi
– Ko Lanta
– Ko Ngai
– Ko Mook
– Ko Bulon
– Ko Lipe
– Langkawi.
– Penang

Some Travel Books about Thailand

Lonely Planet Discover Thailand Thailand PhotoMazing Thailand

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at
Hotels at
Hotels at

Blogs / Sites about Thailand

Blogs at
Blogs at
Blogs at
Blogs and reviews at

Images and photos of Thailand

Images at
Images at
Images at
Images at

Videos of Thailand

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