Tourism Authority of Thailand
372, Bamrung Muang Road
Tel: (662) 226-0060/ 226-0080. Fax: (662) 224-6221
Bangkok 10100 Thailand


Physical geography

Thailand is situated between the parallels of 5 and 21 degrees north latitude and between the meridians of 97 and 106 degrees east longitude. It is bounded to the west by the Indian Ocean and the Union of Myanmar, to the east by South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand, in the extreme south by Malaysia. Laos and Cambodia are neighbours to the northeast and east. The country, covering 513,115 square miles, can be divided into six regions:
  1. The western region: high mountain ranges, Thanon Thong Chai Range and Tanaosi Range;
  2. The northern region: bordered by the Salawin and Mekong rivers, comprises a series of parallel limestone ranges; average height of the peaks: 5,200 feet;
  3. The central region: vast alluvial plains; most densely populated and most economically productive part of the country;
  4. The northeastern region: a saucer-shaped plateau tilted towards the southeast;
  5. The eastern region: area between the Chantaburi Mountains and the Gulf, drained by numerous short rivers;
  6. The southern region, or Thai Peninsula.


Tropical and with a high degree of humidity. Average temperature is 28.3°C. In Bangkok, temperatures range from 33.2°C in December to nearly 24.4°C in April and May. Thailand has three seasons: rainy season (May-October), cool season November February), hot season (March-April). <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Economic geography</H3> Today agricultural products are produced in such quantities that in many commodities the country ranks as the world's number one supplier. Thus besides being the world's foremost exporter of tapioca and rice, it is the leader in the production of maize, frozen shrimp, canned pineapple, natural rubber and sugar. Moreover, Thailand's industrial sector produces a large number of goods ranging from textiles including the famous Thai silk and ready-made garments to integrated circuits, plastics, jewellery, footwear, knock-down furniture and fibre-glass yachts. In recent years in fact, manufacturing has surpassed agricultural products in Thailand's GNP, while tourism has replaced agricultural products as Thailand's largest source of foreign exchange. The country's rich reserves of minerals are eagerly sought by the world's industries. In recent years, local factories have been established to manufacture industrial goods from the ores and thereby enhance their value. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Demography</H3> Total population: 59,460,382 (1995). <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>A brief history</H3> There are conflicting opinions as to the origins of the Thais. Three decades ago it could be said with presumed certainty that the Thais originated in northwestern Szechuan in China about 4,500 years ago and later migrated down to their present homeland. However, this theory has been altered by the discovery of remarkable prehistoric artifacts in the village of Ban Chiang in the north-east. These include evidence of bronze metallurgy going back 3,500 years, as well as other indications of a far more sophisticated culture than any previously suspected by archaeologists. It now appears that the Thais might have originated here in Thailand and later scattered to various parts of Asia, including some parts of China. <P>The state that is still regarded by Thai historical tradition as the 'First Thai Kingdom' was Sukhothai.</P> <P>Sukhothai has rightly been named the cradle of Thai civilization. The most important ruler was the national hero, King Ram Kamhaeng (1275) who invented the Thai alphabet.</P> <P>In 1350, King Rama Thibodi formed a new dynasty and established his capital at Ayutthaya. 33 kings ruled for the next 417 years until Ayutthaya fell to the Burmese in 1767 and was almost totally destroyed. Phraya Tak Sin restored independence and established his capital at Thon Buri (across the river of the Bangkok of today). He was succeeded some 15 years later by Chao Phraya Chakri, founder of the present Chakri dynasty, who established his capital at Bangkok in 1782. Until 1932, Siam was an absolute monarchy. A constitutional monarchy was established in 1932: creation of a National Assembly, a Council of Ministers and Courts of Law.</P> <P>'Siam' is the name by which the country was known to the world until 1939 and again between 1945 and 1949. On 11 May 1949 an official proclamation changed the name of the country to 'Prathet Thai' or 'Thailand' by which it has since been known. The word 'Thai' means 'free', and therefore 'Thailand' means 'Land of the Free'.</P> <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Religions</H3> The national religion of Thailand is Buddhism. Most other religions have their own places of worship and are recognised by the King and the Government. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Languages spoken by nationals</H3> Thai is the national language. However many of the inhabitants in the capital city of Bangkok and in the main towns speak and understand English. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Time</H3> Seven hours before G.M.T. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Currency</H3> The monetary unit is the Tical or the Baht, which is divided into 100 Satangs. US$1 = approx. 25 Baht. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Official holidays (all offices closed)</H3> <P>1 January, New Year's Day - 3 March, Magha Bucha - 6 April, Chakri Day - 12,13,14 April, Songkran (Water Festival) - 5 May Coronation Day - 16 May, Royal Ploughing Ceremony - 31 May (Full Moon Day), Wisakha Bucha - 29 July (Full Moon Day), Asalha Bucha - 30 July (First Day of the Waning Days), Khao Phansa (Buddhist Lent) - 12 August, Queen's Birthday - 23 October, Chulalongkorn Day - 5 December, King's Birthday and National Day - 10 December, Constitution Day - 31 December, New Year's Eve.</P> <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What one should not fail to see</H3> Bangkok - Pasteur Institute with the Snake Farm, Wat Benchamabophit (the Marble Temple), the Zoo, the National Museum, Suan Pakkard Palace, Wat Phra Kaeo with its Emerald Buddha, the Buddhist temples: Phra Thi Nang Vimanmek (The Celestial Residence), Wat Traimit, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, (Temple of Dawn), Weekend Market at Suan Chatuchak, Jim Thompson's Thai House, Siam Water Park, Safari World, Magicland, Dream World, The National Art Gallery, Chalerm Krung Royal Theatre, Wat Saket (The Golden Mount). <P>Ancient city - Located some 30km east of Bangkok, an outdoor museum of 250 acres with more than 50 historical sites. <BR>Floating market, Nakhon Pathom and Rose Garden - A day trip would begin with a two-hour drive south of Bangkok to the floating market at Damnoen Saduak. On the way back to Bangkok stop to see the world's tallest Buddhist pagoda in Nakhon Pathom. Then come early afternoon, drop into the Rose Garden for a daily Thai Village Show designed to give visitors a quick but comprehensive survey of Thai life and culture as well as interesting entertainments. Visit Samphran Elephant Ground and zoo. <BR>Kanchanaburi - Some 128km west of Bangkok. Neolithic burial sites were discovered in the region. Graveyard containing the bodies of British, Dutch, Australian and American soldiers dead during the construction of the Death Railway (the famous film <I>The Bridge over the River Kwai</I>). <BR>Lop Buri - One of the oldest capitals of Khmers, 153km north of Bangkok. Phra Buddha Baht, Shrine of Buddha's Footprint, is just north of Saraburi, some 120 kilometres north of Bangkok. Phimai - Capital of the Khmers about 1,000 years ago, 322km from Bangkok. <BR>Sukhothai - Ancient capital of Thailand (1257-1407). Ruins of many old temples. <BR>Phitsanulok - Wat Phra Sri Ratana Maha That, with the original Phra Buddha Jinaraj and the Wang Nok Ann waterfalls. <BR>Ayutthaya - Former capital of Thailand. Interesting ruins. Surin - Well known for its annual Elephant Round-up, usually in the third week of November. <BR>Chiang Mai - 696km north of Bangkok: Thailand's second largest city, also called 'Rose of the North'. Many temples Chiang Dao caves, Mae Klang waterfalls, the King's winter palace. <BR>Udon Thani - Ban Chiang, the forgotten world of 7,000 years ago (a thousand pieces of pottery, that are the same as the pottery in Jerigo and the Anatolian plains). <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touring</H3> There are no seasonal climate changes and Thailand is good for a visit any time of the year. The most pleasant time is during the cool dry months from September to February. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>How to dress</H3> As Thailand is a tropical country the problem of what to wear is simple. <P><B>Women</B> should choose something cool and washable. Sandals are not permitted in sacred grounds; shoes are removed before entering temples. <P>For <B>men:</B> lightweight suits, light sports jackets and slacks. Sandals and shorts are not permitted in the Grand Palace. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main holiday resorts</H3> Pattaya - One of the most popular seaside resorts, located 154km east of Bangkok. Pattaya offers waterskiing, sailing, horseriding, skin diving or just resting. Nearby visit Rayong, Chantaburi, Trat. Cha-Am, Hua-Hin - Some 189km south of Bangkok, is the most popular summer resort in Thailand with a fine beach and good swimming. Worthy of a visit are: Khao Ta Kieb, Prachuab, Pranburi. Songkhla - On the Songkhla Lake is a lovely summer resort. Excursions to the islands of the Cat and the Rat. Nearby, visit Hat Yai, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat. Phuket - A coastal island in the Andaman sea. Take a plane or go by road, to join the holiday scene at a thriving resort. Nearby visit Phang Nga, Krabi, Ranong and Surat-Thani. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main holiday sports</H3> Fishing, squash, tennis, golf and all water sports. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What to eat and drink</H3> Thailand is a paradise for the gourmet. Peppers, garlic, herbs, curry and spices are used with a generous hand. The basic food is rice, and it is considered the best in the world. Chicken curry, Thai style, has a most unusual flavour as it contains coconut milk. Barbecued chicken or pork served in small pieces on a coconut palm stick, dipped in a sauce of coconut milk, mashed peanuts and curry, is delicious. Try some Mekhong whisky made from rice. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What to buy</H3> The best known of all the good buys is Thai silk. There is a great variety of weights and colours, Thai cottons and Thai bronze tableware are another good buy, and there is a choice of wood or plain bronze handles. <P>Jewellery and precious stones are good purchases in Bangkok. Traditional Princess rings are reasonable in price even though they are set with precious stones. Silverware is also very popular. Neilloware is a form of oxidized silver with inlaid and engraved designs. Bags, shoes, belts and wallets.</P> <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Frontier formalities</H3> <H3>Passports and visas</H3> All foreign nationals entering Thailand must possess valid passports. Visas can be applied for and obtained from Thai Embassies and Consulates abroad. Exempted from this formality are persons of the following nationalities who intend to stay in the country no longer than 30 days: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, USA, Bahrain, Brunei, Myanmar, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkey, UAE, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Western Samoa, Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia, Yemen, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK. <H3>Health regulations</H3> No inoculations or vaccinations are required, unless you are coming from or passing through infested areas. Yellow fever certificates are required for those coming from endemic or infected areas. <P>Please check the latest regulation with your local Health Office.</P> <H3>Customs</H3> All kinds of narcotics (hemp, opium, cocaine, morphine, heroin) are prohibited. One still camera and one movie camera for non-resident passengers and a reasonable amount of personal effects may be brought duty free. <H3>Currency regulations</H3> From 1 April 1991 onwards, each visitor can take not more than 50,000 baht in Thai currency out of the kingdom. There are no restrictions for other currencies. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main travel routes</H3> The State Railway of Thailand which has four trunk routes can take visitors to the northern, southern, eastern and northeastern parts. The southern route travels as far as Penang connecting with Malaysian Railways. <P>The Thai Airways International (Ltd), the domestic airline, flies to all important cities in Thailand as well as to Penang in Malaysia and Vientiane in Laos. Bangkok Airways also share the domestic routes. <P>Coastal Service: Inter-provincial bus service from Bangkok.</P> <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Miscellaneous</H3> Thai boxing: a prayer opens the bout and the fight is accompanied by the music of two drums and a pipe. Grown-ups fly kites during February to April, depending on the south winds. Takraw, another traditional sport, is a kind of static soccer. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Overseas offices</H3> AUSTRALIA: Tourism Authority of Thailand, Level 2, Natioanl Ausrtalia Bank, House 255, George Street, Sydney 2000. Tel: (61 2) 247 7549 - 247 7540. Cable THAITOUR SYDNEY. Fax: (61 2) 251- 2465. <P>ENGLAND: Tourism Authority of Thailand, 49 Albemarle Street, London W1X 3FE. Tel: (44 171) 499-7679. LONDON. Fax: (44 171) 629 5519. Areas of responsibility: UK, Ireland, Finland and Scandinavia. <P>FRANCE: Office National du Tourisme de Thailande, 90, Avenue des Champs Elysees, 75008 Paris. Tel: 4562-8656, 4562-8748. Fax: 3314563 7888. Areas of responsibility: France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. <P>GERMANY: Thailandisches Fremdenverkehrsamt, Bethmannstrasse 58, D-60311 Frankfurt/Main. Tel: (069) 295-704, 295-804. Fax: 4969 281468. Areas of responsibility: Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Eastern Europe. <P>HONG KONG: Tourism Authority of Thailand, 401 Fairmont House, 8 Cotton Tree Drive, Central, Hong Kong. Tel: (852) 868-0732, 868-0854. Fax: (852) 868 4585. Areas of responsibility: Hong Kong, Macau and PR China. <P>ITALY: Ente Nazionale per il Turismo Thailandese, Via Barberini 50, 00187 Rome. Tel: (396) 487 3479/487 3500. Fax: (39 6) 487 35 00. Areas of responsibility: Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Israel, Egypt and Turkey. <P>JAPAN: Tourism Authority of Thailand, Yurakucho Denki Bldg, South Tower 2F, Room 259, 1-7-1 Yurakucho chiyoda-ku. Tokyo 100. Tel.: (813) 3218-0337. 3218-0355, Fax: (813) 3218-0855. Areas of responsibility: Northern Area of Honshu Island, Tohoku, Kanto and Hokkaido Island. <P>Tourism Authority of Thailand, Hiranomachi Yachiyo Building, 5F, 1-8-13 Hiranomachi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 514. Tel: (816) 231-4434. Fax: (816) 231-4337. Areas of responsibility: Southern Area of Honshu Island, Kinki, Chugoku and Chubu. <P>Tourism Authority of Thailand, Hakata Pal Bldg., 2F, 2-63 Gokusho-Machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka 812. Tel: (810 92) 262-3031. Fax: (810 92) 262-3032. Areas of responsibility: Kyushu Island, Shikoku Island and Okinawa. <P>KOREA: Tourism Authority of Thailand, RM. N° 2003, 20th Fl., Coryo Daeyungak Center Building, 25-5, 1-Ka, Chungmu-Ro, Chung-Ku Seoul 100-706. Tel: (82 2) 779-5417, 779-5418. Fax: (82 2) 779-5419. <P>LAOS: Tourism Authority of Thailand, 79/9 Lanscang Ave - Ventiane, Laos. PDR or PO Box 12, Nongkai 43000. <P>MALAYSIA: Tourism Authority of Thailand, c/o Royal Thai Embassy, 206 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur. Tel: (093) 248-0958, 248-6529. Fax: (093) 2413002. Areas of responsibility: Malaysia, Brunei, India and Middle East. <P>SINGAPORE: Tourism Authority of Thailand, c/o Royal Thai Embassy, 370 Orchard Road, Singapore 238870. Tel: (65) 235-7901, 235-7694. Fax: (65) 7335653. Areas of responsibility: Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and South Africa. <P>TAIWAN: Tourism Authority of Thailand, 13 Floor, Boss Tower, 109-11 Sung Chiang Rd., Taipei 104. Tel: (886 2) 502-1600. Fax: (886 2) 502-1603. <P>USA: Tourism Authority of Thailand, 3440 Wilshire Blvd, Suite l100, Los Angeles, Calif. 90010. Tel: (213) 382 2353 55. Fax: 1213 3897544 <P>Tourism Authority of Thailand, 5 World Trade Center, Suite No. 3443, New York, N.Y. 10048. Tel: (212) 432-0433-35. Fax: 1212-912-0920. Areas of responsibility: Washington DC, NY, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rohde Island, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, North & South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. <P>Tourism Authority of Thailand, 303 East Wacker Drive, Suite 400, Chicago, Il. 60601. Tel: (312) 819-3990-6. Fax: (312) 585-0359. Areas of responsibility: North & South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Ohio, Michigan and Canada. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><I><P>We have been able to publish the present tourist information on Thailand thanks to the co-operation of the Tourism Authority of Thailand in Bangkok.</P></I> <!-- End of article --> <P> <CENTER><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="4"></CENTER> <P> <CENTER><A HREF=#TOP><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteTopbut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A> <A HREF="../../../watanetwork/NTOs/Countrieslist/"><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteNTObut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A></CENTER> </TD> </TR> </TABLE> </BODY> </HTML>