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About Thailand

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Suvarnabhumi Airport - The official opening of Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok’s new international airport, on 28 September 2006 ... more >>

Introduction

Full Country Name : Thailand (Prathet Thai, meaning "land of the free")

Capital : Bangkok (Krung Thep, meaning "city of angels")

Geography
The kingdom of Thailand lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it a natural gateway to Indochina, Myanmar and Southern China. Its shape and geography divide into four natural regions : the mountains and forests of the North; the vast rice fields of the Central Plains; the semi-arid farm lands of the Northeast plateau; and the tropical islands and long coastline of the peninsula South.

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 recognised 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 Bhumibol Adulyadej, 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. With its proud history, tropical climate and renowned hospitality, the Kingdom is a never-ending source of fascination and pleasure for international visitors.

Neighboring Countries
1) Myanmar - west and north,
2) Lao P.D.R. - north and northeast,
3) Cambodia - southeast and
4) Malaysia - south.

Population
Thais are well-known for their friendliness and hospitality. A large majority of over 62 million citizens of Thailand are ethic Thai, along with strong communities whose ethnic origins lie in China, India and elsewhere. About 7 million people reside in the capital city of Bangkok.

People
Thai (80%), Chinese (10%), Malay (3%), and the rest are minorities (Mons, Khmers, hill tribes) Ethnic Thais form the majority, though the area has historically been a migratory crossroads, and has thus produced a degree of ethnic diversity. Integration is such, however, that culturally and socially there is enormous unity.

Language
Spoken and written Thai is largely incomprehensible to the casual visitor. However, English is widely understood, particularly in Bangkok where it is almost the major commercial language. English and some European Languages are spoken in most hotels, shops and restaurants in major tourist destinations, and Thai-English road and street signs are found nationwide.

Time
The time in Thailand is seven hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+7 hours GMT).

Climate
Thailand enjoys a tropical climate with three distinct seasons-hot and dry from February to May (average temperature 34 degrees Celsius and 75% humidity); rainy with plenty of sunshine from June to October (average day temperature 29 degrees Celsius and 87% humidity); and cool from November to January (temperatures range from 32 degrees Celsius to below 20 degrees Celsius with a drop in humidity).

Much lower temperatures are experienced in the North and Northeast during nighttime. The South has a tropical rainforest climate with temperatures averaging 28 degrees Celsius almost all year round.

Electricity
The electric current is 220 volt AC (50 cycles) throughout the country. Many different types of plugs and sockets are in use. Travellers with electric shavers, hair dryers, tape recorders and other appliances should carry a plug adapter kit. The better hotels will make available 110-volt transformers.

Clothing
Light, cool clothes are sensible and a jacket is needed for formal meetings and dining in top restaurants. Shorts (except knee length walking shorts), sleeveless shirts, tank tops and other beach-style attire are considered inappropriate dress when not actually at the beach or in a resort area.

Business hours
Most commercial concerns in Bangkok operate on a five-day week, usually from 8 am to 5 pm. Many stores open seven days a week from 10 am to 10 pm. Government offices are generally open between 8.30 am and 4.30 pm with a noon to 1 pm lunch break, Monday to Friday except on public holidays. Banks are open Mondays to Fridays from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm except on public holidays.

Postal Services
Thailand's mail service is reliable and efficient. Major hotels provide basic postal services on their premises. Provincial post offices are usually open from 8.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.

International Roaming Mobile Phone : A Subscriber Identity Module Card (SIM Card) is now available for Thai and foreign customers who are travelling around for work. The SIM Card must be used in conjunction with a Digital GSM mobile phone within the 900-MHz range or a Digital PCN mobile phone within the 1800-MHz range.

Fax and E-Mail
All of Thailand's leading hotels offer facsimile (fax) and e-mail services. Numerous private businesses offer such facilities, most often in conjunction with translation services.

Internet Services
Thailand has been expanding its information service for residents and tourists alike through the Internet system. Services are now available at Thailand's leading hotels and at the many " Cyber-Cafes " that are cropping up in all major tourist destinations.

Telephone Services
At present, all telephone numbers (for local calls and long distance calls within the country) have nine digits.
- For Bangkok calls, 02 is added to the existing numbers i.e. 0 2694 1222.
- For provincial calls, an area code is added to the existing numbers. For example, area code for Chiang Mai is 053 = 0 5324 8604; area code for Phuket is 076 = 0 7621 1036.
- For mobile phones, 01 or 09 is added to the existing numbers.
- The new system has no effect on international phone calls.
- The international dialing code for Thailand is 66.
- When making international calls to Thailand, add 66 and omit the leading 0.
- When making international calls from Thailand, first dial 001+country code+area code+telephone number
- If calling Laos or Malaysia, there is a special code which is charged at a semi-domestic rate.
- When calling Laos, first dial 007+856+area code+telephone number
- When calling Malaysia, first dial 09+06+area code+telephone number
- Direct assistance: 1133 (local), 100 (international)

Emergency Telephone Numbers
- Central Emergency (Police, Ambulance, Fire) : 191
- Highway Patrol : 1193
- Crime Suppression : 195 or (662) 513 3844
- Tourist Police (English, French and German spoken) : 1155
- Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Call Centre : 1672
- Immigration Bureau : (662) 287 3101-10

Monarchy

Majesty King Bhumibol AdulyadejMajesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty. Born in December 1927, in Cambridge, Massachusetts USA, where his father, Prince Mahidol of Songkhla was studying medicine at Harvard University, H.M. King Bhumibol ascended the throne in 1946 and is already the longest reigning Thai monarch. As a constitutional monarch, he maintains neutrality in times of crisis.

Thai people have a deep and traditional reverence for the Royal Family. To a very large degree, H.M. King Bhumibol's popularity mirrors his deep interest in his people's welfare. He concerns himself intimately with every aspect of Thai life. He and his wife, H.M. Queen Sirikit devote much of their time to inspect and improve the welfare of the people.
The Royal Crest commemorathing the celebrations ...
His Majesty the King's initials the Thai letters Phor Por Ror placed at the centre of the crest, under the Royal Crown and above the Royal Throne of the Eight Compass Points, signify that His Majesty is the focus of the entire nation, binding the people's hearts and loyalty.

The yellow colour of the letters is the colour of His Majesty's day of birth, and the blue colour of the background that of the monarchy. The surrounding discus (Chakra) with the Thai numeral 9 means that King Bhumibol

Adulyadej is the ninth monarch of the Chakri Dynasty. The crest is flanked by two seven-tiered umbrellas and topped by a nine-tiered umbrella, both types symbols of kingship. The four-point border represents the four regions of the country, in which the people live in peace and tranquility under the King's supreme protection, as expressed by the green colour, which is a symbol of peace and abundance. Each of the four points of the border has a lotus flower, an offering to His Majesty on the occasion of his sixth-cycle birthday anniversary. The golden rays around the crest signify His Majesty's grace and benevolence, which pervade the Kingdom and beyond, and bring pride and joy to the people throughout the entire land. Beneath the crest, a blue silk banner bears the inscription of the Celebration on the Auspicious Occasion of His Majesty's 6th-Cycle Birthday Anniversary on 5 December 1999.

Source : Tourism Authority of Thailand. (TAT)

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