Thailand was formerly known as Siam, Officially the “kingdom of Thailand” is the world’s 50th-largest and 20th most populous country in the world with around 66 million people. From the north, it is border by Myanmar and Laos, from the east by Laos and Cambodia, from the south by the Gulf of Thailand and towards the west by the Andaman Sea.
A Southeast Asian country, Thailand is popular for its lavish royal palaces, tropical beaches, ornate temples exhibiting figures of Buddha and ancient ruins. In the capital city, Bangkok, an advanced cityscape ascends next to tranquil canalside communities and the iconic Temple of the Emerald Buddha Temple, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun. Nearby beach resorts consist of fashionable Hua Hin and bustling Pattaya.
A Country of Smiles
Thailand is often known as the “Land of Smiles”, and also as a jewel of Southeast Asia. It is rightly celebrated for its rich cultural heritage, which is crafted over 700 years. A very welcoming country from high arts and performance to the friendly earthiness of village life. The Thai people are quite friendly and its culture will definitely captivate and charm you. The country is all about smiles and is one of the pillars of The tourism industry in Thailand. On the most famous island hopping route in the country, the banana pancake trail, one can find some aggressive Thai people handling annoying tourists every day and might appear grumpy. However, this does not mean that one can generalize the entire country. Thailand is one of the friendliest countries in the world and is always eager to help out a stranger.
Spicy Thai Cuisine
Thai cuisine has a reputation for being overly spicy, which include Green Curry, Spicy Papaya Salad and spicy Thai soup with Prawns. Thai cuisine is a balance between various flavors including sour, spicy, salty, sweet and bitter. One absolute aspect of Thai cuisine is the use of fresh spices and herbs and also the insertion of fermented fish sauce in almost every fish. Rice is the staple food for Thais, which is eaten with most meals. Thailand is the largest exporter of rice in the world. Its rice contain more than one strain, each of which possess its own flavor and characteristic. Jasmine rice is the most appreciated Thai rice and sweet aromatic long grain rice that is native to Thailand.
Special Thai Noodles
In Thailand, Thai noodles are quite common and most of the dishes are grilled or stir-fried served with rice. Chicken, pork, and fish are all prepared in a variety of ways and chopped into small-sized pieces and stir-fried with different spices such as chili, basil and garlic. Thai food also contains Thai salad or Yam, Thai curry and soup, Thai fruit, Thai desserts, Thai beer and beverages and much more.
Thai Music and Dance
Thai classical music and dance are immensely esteemed symbols of national heritage. Originally, the classical music was played at court and was based on Khmer models. There are three types of orchestral groups for Thai classical music: Khruang sai which is usually heard in indoor instrumental settings, mahori which is mixed ensemble that usually accompanies vocalists. There were a number of specialized schools that were established to train classical dancers and musicians as Thai music turned out to be a field of study at the university level.
Meditation Centers in Thailand
Learning about Buddhism with monks can immensely benefit a person. An average day at monastery begins with a wake-up call in the morning at around 4 a.m, which involves several hours of chanting and group meditation and also time put aside for personal reflection and chores.
Thailand is a nation which is filled with opportunities for once-in-a-lifetime kind of travel experience. You begin with the mountain village in the north or the incredible beaches in the south, it offers tourists with diverse attractions and a memorable and rewarding experience in its own way.
Currency in Thailand
Thai Baht is the currency used in Thailand. 1 US dollar equals to 30 Thai Baht. The currency exchange obviously changes over time, however the Thai Baht in general is quite stable. Not using US dollars while traveling to Thailand is highly recommended. Have local currency on you always. One can easily change their dollars into Thai Baht using ATMs that are there everywhere in Thailand.
Thailand is a country situated in Southeast Asia which is visited most by tourists, and for good reason. One can find nearly anything here - crystal blue waters, green thick jungle, and amazing food to feed to treat your taste buds. Extravagant, yet safe; cheap, yet furnished with every modern amenity that one may require. There is something for every price bracket and every interest, from some of the world’s best lavish hotels to beach front backpacker bungalows. Fun-loving and friendly, historic and cultured, Thailand emits a golden hue, from its tropical beaches and shimmering temples through to the ever-cheering Thai smile. There are many good luxury Thailand tour agents who help you in planning and making your trip smoother.
A Bounteous Table
Loved around the world, Thai dishes exhibits foundational aspects of Thai culture - it is warm, generous, relaxed and refreshing. Thai cuisine rely on local, fresh ingredients - strong lemongrass, plump seafood and flaming chillies.
A diverse national menu is formed around the four basic flavors: sweet, salty, spicy and sour. Wandering appetites go on eating tours of seafood pavilions in Phuket, Bangkok noodle shacks, and Burmese market stalls in Mae Sot. Cooking sessions unveil the simplicity behind the apparently complex dishes, and mastering the market is an essential survival skill.
Forests and Fields
In between the tangled cities and towns, lies the rural heartland, which is a blend of tropical forests, rice paddies and squat villages linked to the agricultural clock. In the north, the fields and forests crash against toothy blue mountains adorned with silvery waterfalls. In the south, scrawny limestone cliffs protrude out of the cultivated landscape such as prehistoric skyscrapers.
The usually barren northeast radiates an emerald hue during the rainy season when delicate green rice shoots cover the landscape.
In this Buddhist nation, the celestial world is a close confidant, and religious devotion is extensive and colorful. Golden Buddhas and gleaming temples frame both the modern and rural landscape. Ancient banyan trees are wrapped ceremoniously in holy cloth to honor the spirit of the resident, fortune-attracting shrines adorn humble homes and also monumental malls, while garland-festooned dashboards prevent traffic accidents. Tourists can join the conversation through religious festivals in northeastern Thailand, meditation retreats in Chiang Mai, hilltop temples in northern Thailand, and underground cave shrines in Phetchaburi and Kanchanaburi.
Sand Between The Toes
Having two long coastlines and jungle-topped islands connected to azure waters, Thailand is a tropical getaway for the hermit and the hedonist, the pauper and the prince. This heaven offers a diverse menu: diving with whale sharks off Koh Tao, playing in the gentle surf of Ko Lipe, kiteboarding in Hua Hin, scaling the sea cliffs of Krabi, recuperating at a health resort on Koh Samui, partying on Koh Phi-Phi and having a fun and relaxing time on the beach.
The Archipelago Cinema
Pop-up cinemas are all the craze these days, a hipster pastime that has really taken the world by storm - from rooftop experiences with hot-tubs to hidden ones. However, nothing in New York, Berlin or London can top this masterpiece of architecture, which is created out of recycled materials by architect Ole Scheeren in a splendid archipelago-lagoon near Koh Yao Noi. The floating-raft cinema positions tourists in a dramatic and incredible locations, enclosed by massive karst rocks rising out of the sea and the dark water reflecting the screen at night. The installation has launched and is presently traversing the world, in discrete water bodies - but it will ultimately return to Koh Yao Noi just outside Phuket and will be donated as a project to the local community to develop sustainable tourism ideas in the region.
The high season in Thailand is November to February, when the weather is usually at its best throughout the country.
In northern Thailand, the dry season happens between November and May.
June-October is specified by heavy rainfall and temperatures tend to be cooler between October-January.
The south can be divided into two - the east coast encounter heavy rainfall between September-December, while the west coast experiences wettest months from April to October.
During the remaining of the year, sunny and dry weather is the order of the day.
Famous throughout the globe for its incredible beaches, spicy cuisine and welcoming people, Thailand offers a complete holiday package to its visitors. When it comes to weather, much of the country experiences a usually tropical climate that consist of two seasons - dry and wet.
Southern regions are an exception to this rule, with either side of the Thai Peninsula encountering a typical monsoon climate, though to complex things a bit further, the two sides of it are entirely out of synch with one another. However, this generally does mean that there is sun to be found somewhere on a beach.
One can plan a Thailand tour throughout the year, although more rural areas become difficult to access at the peak of the rainy season.
The best time to travel to Thailand is during the cool and dry season, i.e. between November - early April. The climate differs in the south between the western and eastern coasts. The western coast tends to be more favourable during the winter months, when snorkelling and diving are at its best. The weather on the eastern coast remains good most of the year, with the highest rainfall in November and the lowest in January and February.
January - March: If you wish to travel to Thailand extensively, this would be the perfect time to do that. The north and central regions will tend to be hot and dry, having sun-drenched beaches across the southern peninsula. The conditions remain comfortable throughout the country and the chance of rain is minimal.
April: Across all of Thailand, April brings wonderful weather, making it an amazing place to visit during the Easter holidays. Temperatures will shoot high 30°C across the country, especially in Bangkok where it will tend to be very hot.
May - August: This time of the year brings monsoon to much of the country, including the south west, central and north. It rains heavily for a few years every day, but there are also intervals of an amazing weather. The south east coast beaches are dry and hot during these months.
September - October: These two are the wettest months in Thailand, where rain and humidity will be frequent across the entire country. One advantage of this wet weather is that the national parks tend to be quite green and lush, with waterfalls plunging with water making for some splendid natural vistas. The weather begin to improve by late October.
November: This month marks the beginning of the dry winter season in Thailand, with the monsoon rains subsiding remarkably across most of the regions in the country. Warm and dry sunshine cover the central and north regions, and bright sunny days return back to the southern beaches. November is usually considered a good month to travel in Thailand and spot wildlife, too.
December: The weather happens to be brilliant in this month, making it a famous time to visit Thailand. The central regions and Bangkok are dry and war, while the beaches are hot and lovely. The northern regions also tend to be dry and hot in the day with slightly cooler temperatures at night.
Thais are quite resourceful people, pitching up hotels, bungalows, and hostels where no one else would think about. So, if you are traveling to Thailand for the first time, you must definitely not worry about finding accommodation.
The most usual accommodation in cities and towns is the backpackers’ guesthouse or hostel, while on the beaches and islands, it is bungalow resorts. For just $1.96 per night, one can get a basic room or even a beach bungalow with shared facilities.
For some extra amount a night, one could easily opt for a room having a mosquito net over the bed and probably a chair or towel rail in the corner.
For an exorbitant $5.23 a night, one could get an en-suite.
These resorts and guest houses usually have a common restaurant or room with chairs and tables, hammocks, cushions, etc.
It is absolutely not necessary to book in advance, just choose the one you like from the guidebook and reach a suitable hour. In case it happens to be fully-occupied, do not panic as it is quite likely to have an almost similar place just next door. Generally, one pays the morning after every night that they have stayed.
Thai food - as exotic as it is - needs no introduction. Nowadays you can find at least one Thai restaurant in most western towns but Thai food in Thailand itself is a whole new experience. The juxtaposition of sweet, sour, hot and salty flavours is what makes Thai cuisine so distinct and nowhere is it more noticeable than in the Thai national soup tom yam. Thai chefs are extremely talented in appropriating foreign dishes and making them their own - such as in a typical noodle dish. Forget green salad for a while - enjoy a hearty papaya salad, otherwise known as som tam, while Thai green curry is as distinct a dish as they ever get. Enhance your stay in Thailand with its delicious food.
A passport that is valid for at least another 6 months upon entry into Thailand. Most Western countries get a stamp in their passports upon arrival that permits them to stay up to 30 days. Nowadays you also get a 30-day visa if you enter Thailand over land, but be aware that you can only do two over land crossings per year.
Overstaying your visa is not recommended, but if it is only a couple days you have to pay a 500 THB ($16) fine per day. After you pay you get a lot of stamps in your passport and you are good to go.
If you want to stay longer you can apply for a 2-month tourist visa at any embassy around the world.
Thailand is a very safe country for tourists. Every nation has its own pros and cons and many people aren’t even aware of the fact that the army is officially in power, however, when it comes to a tourist, there are hardly any dangers. With millions of people traveling to Thailand every year, the country is well aware that safety is an important aspect and they are doing their best so as to maintain a safe environment for tourists.
Crimes against the person or physical attacks are far less likely as compared to many other ‘developed’ countries. One just needs to be well aware of their surroundings.
While going on a Thailand tour, make sure to get vaccinations for the standard childhood diseases such as Diphtheria, Measles, and Tetanus.
Ignore any kind of free sightseeing or shopping help from strangers. These are just scams that consistently abstract a commission from your purchases.
Avoid having anything precooked. It is always a wise idea to consume food that is being prepared right before your eyes. This will make you aware of everything that goes into its preparation.
Following simple rules of Thailand customs and etiquette will prevent you from offending some local accidentally. It will also set you apart from tourists who are only interested in idyllic beaches and cheap shopping. Respecting and observing local culture will surely enhance your Thailand trip experience.
Whenever you enter someone’s home, always remove your shoes. Also, whenever entering a temple or a shop, do check if other people have removed their shoes.
Always wear neat and modest clothing. Since clothing often determines social status, it is crucial to present a conservative and well-groomed image.
Pay respect to the royal family. Show respect during the National Anthem by stopping and avoiding to make any negative comments about the king.
Address people using their first name. The title Khun is often added before the first name. This is used for both women and men and is similar to Mrs. or Mr., regardless of their marital status. Family names are usually only used in formal settings.
Never touch a monk, particularly if you happen to be a woman. It is strictly prohibited and observed for monks to have any physical contact with women.
Do not wear low-cut tops, shorts or revealing clothes. Usually, any kind of revealing attire is only considered to be appropriate on the beach.
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