|Country:||Thailand is a constitutional monarchy whose current head of state is HM Bhumibol Adulyadej. A unified Thai kingdom has existed since the mid-14th century, and Thailand was known as Siam until 1939 when it officially became the Kingdom of Thailand.|
Thailand is the 50th largest country in the world; most nearly equal in size to Spain. Located just 15 degrees north of the equator, Thailand has a tropical climate and temperatures typically range from 19 to 38 degrees C (66-100 F). Thailandâ€™s largest peak, Doi Inthanon, is 2,565 meters (8,415 ft) tall. Thailand covers 510,890 sq km of land and 2,230 sq km of water. The coastline of Thailand is 3,219 km long. Thailandâ€™s longest shared border is with Myanmar (Burma), stretching 1,800 km.
Thailand has a rough geographical area of 514,000 sq km (200,000 sq miles). This makes Thailand roughly equivalent in size to France or Texas.
|Weather:||The weather in Thailand is generally hot and humid: typical of its location within the tropics. Generally speaking, Thailand can be divided into three seasons: â€śhotâ€? season, rainy season, and â€ścoolâ€? season, though Thailandâ€™s geography allows visitors to find suitable weather somewhere in the country throughout the year.
(For more information: www.tmd.go.th)
|Population:||The population of Thailand comprises of roughly 65 million citizens, the majority of whom are ethnically Thai, though peoples of Chinese, Indian, Malay, Mon, Khmer, Burmese, and Lao origin are also represented to varying degrees. Approximately 7 million citizens live in the capital city, Bangkok, though this number varies seasonally and is otherwise difficult to accurately count.|
|People:||The vast majority (roughly 80%) of Thailandâ€™s nearly 65 million citizens are ethnically Thai. The remainder consists primarily of peoples of Chinese, Indian, Malay, Mon, Khmer, Burmese, and Lao decent. Of the 7 million citizens who live in the capital city, Bangkok, there is a greater diversity of ethnicities, including a large number of expatriate residents from across the globe. Other geographic distinctions of the population include a Muslim majority in the south near the Malaysian border, and hill tribe ethnic groups, such as the Hmong and Karen, who live in the northern mountains.|
|Language:||More than 92% of the population speaks Thai or one of its regional dialects. While the Thai language is the official language of Thailand, as a result of its cosmopolitan capital city and established tourism infrastructure, English is spoken and understood throughout much of Thailand.|
94.6% of Thais are Buddhist
4.6% of Thais are Muslim
0.7% of Thais are Christian
|Government:||Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, not dissimilar to Englandâ€™s, whereby an elected Prime Minister is authorized to be the head of government and a hereditary Thai King is head of state. The constitution of Thailand allows for the people of Thailand to democratically elect their leaders in the form of a parliament, with a bicameral legislature consisting of a Senate and House of Representatives, and executive authority in the hands of the Prime Minister. A Judiciary, overseen by the Supreme Court, was designed to act independently of the executive and the legislature.|
|Temperature:||Located just 15 degrees north of the equator, Thailand has a tropical climate and temperatures typically range from 19 to 38 degrees C (66-100 F)|
The economy of Thailand is reliant on exports, which account for 60% of Thailandâ€™s approximately US$ 200 billion GDP. The economy of Thailand is the 2nd largest in Southeast Asia. Thailandâ€™s exports consist primarily of agricultural products including fish and rice, of which it is the largest exporter in the world, as well as textiles, rubber, automobiles, computers and other electronic appliances, and jewelry. While one of the premier tourist destinations in the world, Thailand relies on tourism to provide only 7 % of its GDP.
|Currency:||The currency of Thailand is the Thai Baht. Baht come in both coin and banknote form. The size of Thai currency, both coins and bills increases with value and varies in color.|
Thai bank hours are generally Monday through Friday, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, though certain banks have shorter Saturday hours and currency exchange booths are open considerably longer hours in Bangkok and other tourist destinations.
Thailand Standard time is GMT +7 and does not observe daylight savings.
Electrical outlets in Thailand are charged to 220v at 50 cycles per second, which is compatible with appliances from the U.K. but not those from the US and many other nations. While most computer cables have adaptors for voltage, visitors from the U.S. and those not on the 220/50 v. will have to bring adapters to run most other appliances. Outlets in Thailand generally feature flat, two pronged plugs, though some feature holes for round plug ends. Few outlets feature three holes (grounded outlets) so it is often necessary to have a three to two prong adapter for using notebook computers in Thailand.
Transportation of Thailand
Flying is the most convenient mode of transportation for traveling to Thailand, as visitors can fly to Thailand on non-stop routes from many corners of the globe on both international and Thai airlines.
Furthermore, Thailandâ€™s central location makes Thailand an ideal hub for exploring the rest of Asia. In addition to the primary international airport located in Bangkok, visitors from abroad can fly to Thailand on international flights destined for Chiang Mai, Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi, and even Udon Thani and Hat Yai.
Domestic flights are also easy and convenient, cutting down on journey times and often costing less than travel by car or rail.
Charter flights to Thailand from Europe or Asia may arrange to land in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, or Hua Hin.
As the major hub for air travel in and around Asia, a number of low cost airlines now serve Thailand for both domestic and international routes, and now flying to Thailand is both convenient and inexpensive.
Thailand has 6 major international airports;
1. Suvarnabhumi Airport (Click)
2. Don Muang International Airport (Click)
3. Chiang Mai International Airport (Click)
4. Mae Fah Luang Chiang Rai International Airport (Click)
5. Phuket International Airport (Click)
6. Hat Yai International Airport (Click)
And 24 domestic airports for commercial flights in major cities around the country.
|Mae Hong Son Airport||Mae Hong Son Airport||Ubon Ratchathani Airport|
|Surat Thani Airport||Surat Thani Airport||Sukhothai Airport|
|Sukhothai Airport||Trang Airport||Trat Airport|
|Mae Sot Airport||Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport||Phitsanulok Airport|
|Loei Airport||Nakhon Phanom Airport||Ranong Airport|
|Lampang Airport||Nan Airport||Chumphon Airport|
|Mae Hong Son Airport||Mae Hong Son Airport||Ubon Ratchathani Airport|
|Chumphon Airport||U-Tapao International Airport||Phrae Airport|
|Udon Thani International Airport||Sakon Nakhon Airport||Samui Airport|
There are two main types of buses running to provinces around Thailand.
- Non-air-conditioned buses operated by the government which are the cheapest and slowest.
2. Air-conditioned buses painted in blue. This type, run by both the government and private companies, is faster and more comfortable. Normally, there are two classes of air-con buses — regular and 1st class; the latter have toilets.
For long routes like those going to Chiang Mai, Surat Thani and Phuket, there is another type called “VIP” or “sleeper” buses which have only 30 to 34 seats providing more leg room for each passenger and their fares are somewhat higher. For provincial bus terminals, call 1490 or visit www.transport.co.th
Rail lines laid throughout Thailand create a 4,000 km system that is both efficient and comfortable. Passengers can travel by train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok to the Laos or Malaysian borders and many places in between. While the journey on a Thai train generally takes longer and can be more expensive than a voyage by bus, trains are safer and are generally more comfortable. Popular train routes include Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Bangkok to Surat Thani, the launching point for boats to Koh Samui.
There are three classes of Thai train service, allowing even the most budget conscious traveler to experience travel by train in Thailand. However, while first class is quite plush, featuring private cabins with twin sleeping arrangements and air conditioning on select routes, prices are often higher than flying the same route on a budget air carrier. On the other end of the spectrum, third class is cheaper than the bus but may not be the most comfortable way to spend 11 overnight hours. Second class prices on Thai trains are equivalent to first class bus tickets, both in price and in comfort, though the train has fold down beds and itâ€™s easier to get up and stretch your legs on the train than on a bus.
Thai trains depart throughout the day, though some are express and some make frequent local stops and comprise of only third class seating. Train tickets sell out well in advance for some holidays and weekends, particularly the more limited sleeper cars and the wider, lower bunk, second class sleeper seats. It is advisable to book ahead through an agent, at the station, or from the State Railway of Thailand. 66(0)2-223-7010 or via email at SRT firstname.lastname@example.org for a 200 baht surcharge. Schedules and available seats are posted on their www.railway.co.th
Most big provinces have both public non-air-con bus and air-con bus services to destinations within the provinces and to other nearby provinces. (For more detail visit website: www.bmta.co.th)
Taxis are cheap and appear on virtually every corner at almost any time.
3. Tuk-Tuk (Sam Lor)
It is a three-wheeled taxi which comes in two types motorized and non-motorized. Motorized Sam-Lor or Tuk-Tuk can be found throughout the country while non-motorized ones (or tricycle), which mostly called Sam-Lor, are available in certain provincial towns. Both types of Sam-Lor are suitable for short trips only.
4. Song Taew
A songthaew is a passenger vehicle in Thailand and Laos adapted from a pick-up or a larger truck and used as a share taxi. It takes its name from the two bench seats fixed along either side of the back of the truck; in some vehicles a third bench is put down the middle of the seating area. Additionally a roof is fitted over the rear of the vehicle, to which curtains and plastic sheeting to keep out rain may be attached. Some vehicles have roofs high enough to accommodate standing passengers within the vehicle. More typically, standing passengers occupy a platform attached to the rear. Those in Thailand were known to English-speaking travelers as a baht bus, from the days when the usual fare was one baht.
Songthaews are used both within towns and cities and for longer routes between towns and villages. Those within towns are converted from pick-up trucks and usually travel fixed routes for a set fare, but in some cases (as in Chiang Mai) they are used as shared taxis for passengers traveling in roughly the same direction.
Literally meaning two rows, this is a small pickup truck with two benches, on at each side of the truck seating several people. It is a public transport which operates fixed routes like buses, but normally runs a shorter distance or within the province. Songthaew can also be chartered like a regular taxi.
5. BTS (Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company Limited)
The Bangkok Mass Transit System, commonly known as the BTS or the Skytrain is an elevated rapid transit system in Bangkok, Thailand. It is operated by Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company Limited (BTSC) under a concession granted by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA). The system consists of 34 stations along two lines: the Sukhumvit Line running northwards and eastwards, terminating at Mo Chit and Bearing respectively, and the Silom Line which plies Silom and Sathon Roads, the Central Business District of Bangkok, terminating at the National Stadium and Bang Wa. The lines interchange at Siam Station and have a combined route length of 36.45 kilometers (22.65 mi). The system is formally known as the Elevated Train in Commemoration of HM the King’s 6th Cycle Birthday. (For more detail visit website: www.bts.co.th)
6. MRT (Bangkok Metro Public Company Limited)
TheÂ MRT Chaloem Ratchamongkhon LineÂ orÂ Blue LineÂ is the first and currently only operating line of Bangkok’sÂ MRTÂ system. Opened on 3 July 2004, it runs eastward from Bang Sue Station in Chatuchak DistrictÂ along Kamphaeng Phet, Phahon Yothin and Lat Phrao Roads, then turns south following Ratchadaphisek Road, then west following Rama IV Road to Hua Lamphong Station inÂ Pathum Wan District.
(For more detail visit website: www.bangkokmetro.co.th)
TheÂ Chao Phraya Express BoatÂ is a transportation service inÂ ThailandÂ operating on theÂ Chao Phraya River. It provides riverine express transportation between stops in the capital city ofÂ BangkokÂ and toÂ Nonthaburi, the province immediately to the north. Established in 1971, the Chao Phraya Express Boat Company serves both local commuters and tourists. It also offers special tourist boats and a weekend riverÂ boat tours, as well as offering boats available for charter. Along withÂ BTS Sky trainÂ andÂ Bangkok MetroÂ using the boats allows commuters to avoidÂ traffic jamsÂ during the peak hours on weekdays.
The 21 kilometres (13Â mi) route is served by 65 boats and operates from 06:00â€“21:30 (last departure from CEN-Sathorn pier of a yellow flagged boat) on weekdays and from 06:00â€“18:40 on weekends and holidays. Current prices are from THB9 (Local line for distance within one zone) to THB30 (for green-yellow flag trip on its entire route fromÂ PakkretÂ to Sathon), depending on the type of boat and the distance travelled.Â The river boats carry an average of about 40,000 passengers per day. (For more detail visit website: www.chaophrayaexpressboat.com)
Drivers of motorcycle taxis in Bangkok wear orange vests
9. Airport Rail Link
The Express Service is a 15-minute non-stop journey between the City Terminal and the airport with a fare at Bt150 per trip.
City Line commuter trips, with set fares at Bt15-Bt45, take 30 minutes to reach the airport, departing from Phaya Thai, Ratchaprarop, Makkasan, Asoke, Ramkhamhaeng, Hua Mak, Ban Thap Chang, and Lat Krabang stations, and will end at the last stop of Suvarnabhumi Airport.
(For more detail visit website: Airport Rail Link website)