Thailand is a fascinating kingdom that combines history, culture, heritage and modern-day tourist attractions in truly spectacular style. Every year more and more tourists visit Thailand to enjoy the country’s many stunning Buddhist temples, amazing cuisine, fabulous climate, spectacular islands and beaches and, most importantly, the warm and friendly Thai people who epitomise Thailand’s reputation as the ‘land of smiles’. Bangkok, the capital city, sits centrally in the Kingdom close to the northern shores of the Gulf of Thailand. Like so many capital cities, Bangkok has developed along the course of a major river – and the city’s Chao Phraya river still provides an important transport link for commerce and for the city’s inhabitants and tourists.
Climate – There are three seasons in Thailand: Monsoon (June – October), hot (March – May) and ‘cool’ (November – February). Daytime temperatures in Bangkok range from a very pleasant 26 – 30 ° Celsius in December to 35°C and higher in April. Remember to wear sunblock at all times in Thailand – even when the air feels relative ‘cool’.
Languages – English is widely spoken in Thailand’s travel, tourism, hospitality and aviation sectors. Major shopping malls such as Siam Paragon, Central World and Emporium also employ staff with some English language skills. Take a phrase book with you and try to learn some basic words and phrases in the Thai language. Thai people are always keen to help visitors to their country and appreciate efforts to speak a few words in their language.
Religion – Around 95 percent of Thais are Buddhists and Buddhism is the official religion of Thailand. Temples (wats) are a feature of cities, towns and rural communities throughout the Kingdom. Thai people are very respectful of the religious beliefs of others and are very open towards discussing their Buddhist values with visitors.
Politics - Thailand is a Constitutional Monarchy presided over by the reigning King of Thailand who is the official head of state.
The Monarchy - H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) is the world’s longest reigning monarch and is also one of the most revered monarchs in Thai history, enjoying worldwide respect for his wisdom and compassion. As an accomplished musician, photographer, scientist and man of the people, King Bhumibol has served as spiritual leader of his people for 70 years - acting as a symbol of stability and hope for the country and fostering numerous programmes to bring economic prosperity to his people. His Majesty has been a guiding light to the people of his nation and his philosophy of ‘Sufficiency Economy’, embracing sustainability, moderation and broad-based development is widely known and appreciated.