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The Kingdom of Thailand pulls tourists from all accross the globe because of its irresistible combination of enticing natural beauty, splendid temples, recognized hospitality, delicious cuisine and remains of fabulous ancient kingdoms.
The country offers a lot to the visitors from the stupa-studded mountains of Mae Hong Son and the amazing limestone islands of the Andaman Sea, to the mind blowing dance clubs of Bangkok and the serene villages moored along the Mekong River.
Thailand, despite the advent of the foreign culture but the never-changing character of Thai culture has remained prevalent, even in modern city life. The county can be described as a fun-loving place with carefree people. Nevertheless, the Thais are proud and strong, as they have struggled for centuries to preserve their undying zeal and ever lasting enthusiasm. Thailand can be marked as one of the best destinations in South east Asia for lovely and memorable vacations.

Fact File
Official name : Kingdom of Thailand
Government : Constitutional Monarchy
Nationality : Thai
Capital city : Bangkok
ThailandEthnic groups : 75% Thai, 11% Chinese, 3.5% Malay; also Mon, Khmer, Phuan and Karen minorities
Location : Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma
Continent : Asia
Currency : Baht (THB); 1 THB = 1.0541 Indian Rupee = 0.02420 US $ = 0.02011 Euro( subject to change)
Population : 62 million
Languages : Thai, English
Religion : 95% Buddhism, 4% Muslim
Area : 517,000 sq km
Famous for : Beaches, Thai Cuisine is famous all over the world, rubber plantations
Major cities : Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket
Clothing : Light cotton clothing, use a good sun screen.
Major events : New Year/Songkran (mid-April); Rocket Festival (May );The Vegetarian Festival in Phuket and Trang (from late September to early October), The Elephant Roundup in Surin (November), Loi Krathong Festival (usually in November)
Things to Buy : Thai silk and cottons, modern and traditional jewellery featuring precious gemstones, semi-precious gemstones, silverware, nielloware, pewterware, ceramics, celadon, woodcarvings, paintings, and clothing.
Things to do : Eating is one thing which you should not miss here, Shopping, sightseeing, enjoying the beaches are other things to do here.
Cuisine : The Thai cuisine is pungent and spicy, containing heaps of garlic and chillies and a characteristic mix of lime juice, lemon grass and fresh coriander. Galanga root, basil, ground peanuts, tamarind juice, ginger and coconut milk are other common additions. Fish sauce rice hot and sour fish ragout, green and red curries, various soups and noodle dishes. Snacks and appetisers include fried peanuts, chicken, chopped ginger, peppers and slices of lime.


Visa Permit
Most visitors can stay for 30 days without a visa. For longer stays one should apply for a visa before leaving home. A tourist visa allows the visitor to stay for 60 days, and a non-immigrant visa for 90 days. You should enter Thailand within 90 days of the visa being issued otherwise it will be invalid. Tourist and non-immigrant visas may be extended after you have arrived in Thailand but this is strictly at the discretion of the immigration office and is not guaranteed. The 30 day visa cannot be extended, but this rule may be relaxed in the near future.


Culture
ThailandReligion and monarchy are the pillars of Thai culture, and they are part of everyday life. Buddhism is the most commanding religion here and orange-robed monks and gold, marble and stone Buddhas are the common sights in Thailand. One should make sure about the dress when visiting a temple - no shorts or singlets are allowed in the places of worship.
Thai art, principally sculpture and architecture, is divided into a number of historical styles beginning from Mon (6th-13thC), Khmer (7th-13th C), Peninsular (until 14th C) and so on.
Classical Thai music has closeness to Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Indonesian music. The traditional Thai orchestra includes woodwind, string and percussion instruments. The most eminent is a double-handed drum; seen often before a performance.
There are various dance forms where most are closely linked to drama. The epic Ramayana in particular forms the basis for most of the dances and dramas. The performers are elaborately dressed with heavy costumes and decoarted masks.



When to Go
The best time to visit is from February to March when the weather is good and the beaches are at their finest.
The best seasons are August, November, December, February and March, with secondary ideal months in January and July. If your main aim is to avoid crowds and to take advantage of low-season rates, you should plan travelling during the least crowded months (April, May, June, September and October).

Climate
Thailand's climate is tropical, with high temperature and high humidity, and is dominated by monsoons. Summers lie between April and May. June marks the onset of the South West Monsoon, and brings with it the rainy season, which continues until the end of October.
From November to the end of February the climate is much less due to the the cooling North East breeze and a reduction in the humidity level. This is also the main tourist season, and the best time to visit Thailand.
The north and north-east are generally cooler than Bangkok in winter, and hotter in summer. In the far north, around Mae Hong Son temperatures can occasionally drop as low as 2 degree C.

Getting there
By Air : Bangkok’s Don Muang International Airport is located 25 kilometres (16 miles) north of the city of Bangkok. It serves the city and surrounding areas and acts as a principal hub for Thailand and other parts of South-East Asia.
Budhist templeA second Bangkok international airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport, is set to receive passenger traffic from 2006. Suvarnabhumi Airport is approximately 25 kilometres (16 miles) from downtown Bangkok in the Bang Phli district.

Getting around
By Air : Thailand has a total of 28 commercial airports , 7 of which are international and 21 are domestic.
Serveral airlines operate out of Bangkok’s Don Muang International Airport and offer daily flights to most cities in Thailand.
By Train : The train network in Thailand is efficient,economical and rail connections link northern and northeastern towns with Bangkok (terminus is Hualamphong Station). Regular western and southern routes out of Bangkok (Thon Buri) Station enable travel by train to Kanchanaburi province and to southern Thailand.
By Road : Buses are an economical and easy way to travel in Thailand. They leave Bangkok every day for all corners of the country.

Major attractions
Bangkok(capital city) : Bangkok rules the country’s urban hierarchy as well as it is the political, commercial and cultural centre of the country. It is one of the most interesting travel destination for the whole Southeast Asian region and also the other parts of the world.
At the end of 2000, the new Sky Train has gone into service and new roads have been built which has augmented the infrastructure of the country. Bangkok is also a very safe city and has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. In this 'City of Angels', one discoveres that walking, instead of taking a taxi or bus, is often the quickest option.

Phuket : It is Thailand's largest, most populous and most visited island. This is a colourful place with cosmopolitanism and thrives solely on tourism. The island owns some interesting markets, temples, examples of Sino-Portuguese architecture and nature reserves.

Ayuthaya Historical Park : Located along the encircling rivers, Ayuthaya Historical Park is Unesco World Heritage Site, the temples of which are spread throughout this once lively city. Several of the ruins – Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Mongkhon Bophit, Wat Na Phra Meru, Wat Thammikarat, Wat Ratburana and Wat Phra Mahathat – can be visited on foot.

Chiang Mai : With over 300 temples and an old-world aura, Chiang Mai has a spectacular mountain background. Chiang Mai is also a modern, welcoming city with global flavour. This place is most ideal for food lovers, accommodation and shopping. With a plethora of temples, soothing gardens, great night bazaar, striking musuems, the city is a great place to spend the leisure hours.

Ko Samui : This enigmatic island off southeastern Thailand is full of coconut plantations and encompassed by palm-fringed beaches. Once an unexplored spot with untouched surroundings, this place is now almost a complete tourist resort. The most popular beaches are Hat Chaweng and Hat Lamai with facilities like swimming, snorkeling and much more.

Nakhon Pathom : Nakhon Pathom, located west of Bangkok, is considered to be the oldest city in Thailand. This city is host to the 127m (417ft), orange-tiled Phra Pathom Chedi, the tallest Buddhist monument in the world. The original monument raised in the 6th century by Theravada Buddhists is now buried under the huge dome.









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