General Information



Thailand is roughly the same size as France or Texas and has a coastline that stretches about 3,000km. The north, bordering with Laos, the western border with Myanmar and the southern peninsula until Malaysia are mountainous and vegetated with lush rain forests. The eastern border with Laos is dominated by the fertile valley of the Mekong River. A forested mountainous area is situated along the border with Cambodia. The fertile central low-lying plains and the semi-arid northeastern plateau are known as ‘the rice-bowl of Asia’. Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain (2565 m). Phuket is the largest island


Thailand is a tropical country with temperatures ranging from 19 to 38 degrees and a high relative humidity. The country has 3 seasons: the summer from March to May, the rainy season with usually heavy but short showers from June to October and the cool, dry season from November to February. Chiang Mai is known for its pleasant climate. The average daytime temperatures here are a few degrees lower than in Bangkok all year round. Especially in the evening, in the cooler season, a sweater, thin jacket or cardigan can be pleasant or prove useful in the air-conditioned hotel rooms or coaches, which are often very cool. The coastal regions escape the worst of the heat thanks to cool sea breezes


Thailand has a population of over 69 million (2021), of which the Thai is the majority. In the past, the area was a thoroughfare of migratory peoples, so that large groups of people of Mon, Khmer, Burmese, Malay, Indian and especially Chinese descent now form a great ethnic diversity. However, the integration is such that a large social unit exists.


More than 90% of the population is Buddhist. In addition, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and other beliefs are also freely available. Buddhism has a strong influence on daily life, senior monks are highly revered and in towns and villages the temple is the center of social and religious life.


Thailand has been a constitutional monarchy with a two-chamber parliament since 1932. The country has 77 provinces (changwat), subdivided into districts (ampur), municipalities (tambon) and villages (mooban).


The official language is Thai (with 44 consonants and 32 vowels). In most of the hotels and tourism attractions people do speak English


The three colors of the Thai flag symbolize the “3 pillars of society”:

*The red color symbolizes the country and its people

*The white color symbolizes Buddhism

*The blue color symbolizes the monarchy which is the binding force

between Buddhism and the population


The history of Thailand is divided into 5 eras. The first is known as the Nanchao Period, which lasted from 650 to 1238 and included influence from the powerful Khmers. The second was the Sukhothai Period, which lasted from 1238 to 1350 and was distinguished by a golden era of civilization and artistic flowering. Located in the upper central region Sukhothai was preceded by the small but very well organised Lanna Kingdom that was in Chiang Mai. The Ayutthaya Period lasted from 1350 to 1767, and saw Siam reach its zenith in power, controlling an area beyond the present borders, including Laos, Cambodia as well as parts of Burma and Malaysia. It eventually fell to invading Burmese, but by then had experienced nearly a century of relations with foreigners. In the sixteenth century, the Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in Thailand. In the seventeenth century, the Dutch took over the hegemony of trade here. The Thon Buri Period from 1767 to 1782 was a brief regrouping and relocation of the capital 100kms south of Ayutthaya to present day western Bangkok. Finally, the Bangkok (Rattanakosin) Period began 1782 with the proper founding of the Chakri Dynasty that continues to this day. During the reign of Kings Rama IV and Rama V Siam, especially Bangkok, was modernized and Western practices introduced. Much territory was also ceded to pacify the advancing British and French on either side.

All throughout its 800-year long history, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country that never was colonized by a European country. Siam became in the 19th century the country’s official name. A bloodless coup created a constitutional monarchy in 1932 but Thai politics has always been complicated and the country has experienced 20 coups since then. In 1939 the name was changed to Thailand, which means “Land of the Free”. The puppet government readily capitulated to the Japanese in WWII and their occupation saw the brutal construction of the death railway and bridge over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi. After the war Thailand was impoverished and had to pay war reparations to the British. In the 1970s it joined other Asian tigers in rapidly developing and experienced double-digit growth that saw the country’s prosperity improve dramatically. It also brought mass urban migration to Bangkok. Tourist took off in the late eighties bringing unprecedented western influence, and accounting for 10 per cent of the GNP each year

Nanchao Period (650-1238) Source
Sukhothai Period (1238-1350) Source
Ayutthaya Period (1350-1767) Source
Thon Buri Period (1767-1782) Source
Bangkok Period (1782-Present) Source