Thailand is a wondrous kingdom, featuring Buddhist temples, exotic wildlife, and spectacular islands. Along with a fascinating history and a unique culture that includes delectable Thai food and massage, Thailand features a modern capital city, and friendly people who epitomise Thailands land of smiles reputation.
The country comprises 76 provinces that are further divided into districts, sub-districts and villages. Bangkok is the capital city and centre of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities. It is also the seat of Thailand's revered Royal Family, with His majesty the King recognized as head of state, Head of the Armed Forces, upholder of the Buddhist religion and upholder of all religions.
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with his Majesty King BhumibolAdulyadej, or King Rama IX, the ninth king of the Chakri dynasty, the present king. The king has reigned for more than half a century, making him the longest reigning Thai monarch. Thailand embraces a rich diversity of cultures and traditions.
Thailand can best be described as tropical and humid for the majority of the country during most of the year. The area of Thailand north of Bangkok has a climate determined by three seasons whilst the southern peninsular region of Thailand has only two.
Thailand is one of the most strongly Buddhist countries in the world. The national religion is Theravada Buddhism, a branch of Hinayana Buddhism, practiced by more than 90 % of all Thais.
The remainder of the population adheres to lslam, Christianity, Hinduism and other faiths all of which are allowed full freedom of expression. Buddhism continues to cast strong influence on daily life. Senior monks are highly revered. Thus, in towns and villages, the temple (wat) is the heart of social and religious life. Numerous Thai practice meditation, one of the most popular aspects of Buddhism, regularly as a means of promoting inner peace and happiness. Visitors, too, can learn the fundamentals of this practice at several centres in Bangkok and elsewhere in the country.
Throughout her long history, Thailand has gently absorbed immigrants. Many were skilled as writers, painters, sculptors, dancers, musicians and architects, and helped enrich indigenous culture. People inhabiting Thailand today share rich ethnic diversity - mainly Thai, Mon, Khmer, Laotian, Chinese, Malay, Persian and Indian stock - with the result that there is no typically Thai physiognomy or physique. There are petite Thais, statuesque Thais, round-faced Thais, dark-skinned Thais and light-skinned Thais. Some 80% of all Thais are connected in some way with agriculture, which, in varying degrees, influences and is influenced by the religious ceremonies and festivals that help make Thailand such a distinctive country. Spoken and written Thai remain largely incomprehensible to the casual visitor.
With sixteen million foreigners flying into the country each year, Thailand is Asias primary travel destination and offers a host of places to visit. Thailand is a collage of animated scenes that comprise bustling modern cities crowded with motorbikes and tuk-tuks, Buddhist temples tended by orange-robed monks, hill tribes selling handicrafts, lush landscapes dotted with traditional farming villages, ancient ruins and stunning coastlines peppered with gorgeous beaches and blue lagoons.
Travelling to Thailand anytime soon? Even if not, plan your next vacation there and make sure to explore these wonderful Tai destinations: Chiang Rai, Pai,Phanom Rung, Railay, KhaoSok National Park, Ayuthaya, Kanchanaburi, Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Thailand Islands, The Grad Palace, KoSamet, Tiger Cave Temple, National Museum of Royal Barges, Elephant Nature Park, Safari World, WatUmong, Golden Budhdha and Erawan Shrine.
The official currency of Thailand is the Thai BAHT. The currency code for Baht is THB, and the currency symbol is ?.One baht is divided into 100 satang. Coins come in denominations of: 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht, as well as 25 and 50 satang. Banknotes come in denominations of: 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 baht. The most commonly used coin is the 10 baht and the most commonly used note is the 100 baht. The notes of 20 and 50 baht have changed with a slightly different portrait of the King.
The most popular Thailand Baht currency exchangesin Thailand are US Dollar (USD
), European Euro (EUR
), UK Pound Sterling (GBP
), Australian Dollar (AUD
), Indian Rupee (INR
), Malaysian Ringgit (MYR
), Canadian Dollar (CAD
), Singapore Dollar (SGD
), and Swiss Franc (CHF