|STATE STRUCTURE||A constitutional monarchy|
|INTERNAL DIVISION||Thailand is subdivided into 77 provinces (changwat).|
|CLIMATE||Tropical, subequatorial, equatorial|
|OFFICIAL LANGUAGE||Thai language|
|NATIONAL COMPOSITION||About 80% are Thais and Laotians, about 10% are Chinese. The kingdom is also inhabited by Malays, Hmong, Khmer and Vietnamese.|
|TIMEZONE||UTC +7 / MSK +4|
The flag of Thailand was established on September 28, 1917. The Thai name for the flag is ธงไตรรงค์ (Thong Trairong), which simply means the tricolor flag (tricolor).
The flag of Thailand consists of five horizontal stripes in the following colors (from top to bottom): red, white, blue, white and red. The middle blue stripe is twice as wide as the rest. Three colors: red-white-blue symbolize the people-religion-king, the unofficial motto of Thailand.
The National Emblem (National Symbol) of Thailand is Garuda, a figure of Buddhist and Hindu mythology.
In Thailand, Garuda is also a symbol of royalty and power. In mythology, Krut Pha, or Garuda, is the mount of the god Vishnu. According to traditional beliefs, Garuda is an additional source of strength for Vishnu.
Garuda is also on the coat of arms of Indonesia and the capital of Mongolia – Ulaanbaatar. The coat of arms of Indonesia differs from the coat of arms of Thailand in that the bird bears a heraldic shield.
Land of smiles and eternal summer
Until 1948, this kingdom was called Siam. Located in the southwest of the Indochina peninsula and in the north of the Malacca peninsula, the country borders Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia.
The shores of the kingdom are washed by the waters of the Gulf of Thailand, the Andaman Sea (Indian Ocean) and the South China Sea (Pacific Ocean). In the Gulf of Thailand, there are the large islands of Chang, Kut, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and several smaller ones belonging to Thailand. In the Andaman Sea – the islands of Surin, Similan, Phuket and a number of others.
Interesting fact: Not far from Phuket is a small limestone island of Koh Tapu, which became known throughout the world as James Bond Island. Here, in the early 70s of the XX century, one of the most beautiful scenes of the film “The Man with the Golden Gun” was filmed. Another nearby island, Phi Phi Lay, was made famous by the 2000 film The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
More than half of the country’s territory is occupied by low plains, surrounded by low mountain ranges. The highest here is the granite batholith mountain Doyintanon (2559 meters).
According to Franciscogardening.com, Thailand is located in several climatic zones at once: tropical, subequatorial and equatorial. Thanks to this, rural workers “fall” two or three crops a year, and the country gives tourists a feeling of eternal summer, because the “high season” here “flows” from one climatic zone to another.
The flora and fauna of the country is very diverse. Almost 70% of the territory is covered with tropical jungle, where you can see giant yang trees, rotting takyana, as well as bamboo, teak, mangrove trees and coconut palms.
The main animal of the country is an elephant, and this is no coincidence. On the map, the territory of the kingdom resembles in its outlines (albeit very remotely) the head of this majestic animal.
Interesting fact: Thais especially revere white elephants. The locals are convinced that they have a kind soul. According to the laws of Thailand, a person who catches a white elephant is rewarded with a piece of land – exactly the same area on which the trumpet voice of this animal will be heard. And the elephants themselves are pampered and decorated with jewels, bright ribbons, bedspreads and bells.
The first inhabitants on the territory of the modern kingdom appeared about 5 thousand years ago. In 1096, the first state was founded here – the kingdom of Phayau. In the XIV century, Thailand established relations with Europeans, and this gave a powerful impetus to its development.
Interesting fact: Thanks to the competent policy of its rulers, Thailand has never been anyone’s colony.
About 80% of the local population are Thais and Laotians, about 10% are Chinese, the rest are Malays, Hmong, Khmers, as well as Vietnamese who fled here during the Vietnam War in the second half of the 20th century.
More than 90% of the country’s inhabitants profess Buddhism, and the religion is supported by the state, and the monks have state benefits, including free travel on public transport. The Buddhist religion coexists perfectly with local pagan beliefs, including house spirits.
An interesting fact: Thais are kind to the already deceased monarch – Rama IX. Any offensive remarks addressed to him, disrespectful attitude towards his images are punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Moreover, punishment is inevitable not only for Thais, but also for tourists.
Secondary education in Thailand is compulsory for all young residents of the kingdom. The country has both free public and paid private schools and universities. The education system in the country is designed to educate citizens not only of Thailand, but also of other countries.
The level of medicine in the kingdom is equally high in large cities and in the provinces. There are about 400 hospitals in Thailand that are ready to provide highly professional assistance. As a rule, all local doctors practice in US or UK clinics.
In addition to public and private medicine, folk medicine is also practiced here, the basis of which is traditional Thai massage. Among the locals, potions and tinctures are popular, for the preparation of which they use, for example, the insides of a snake or scolopendra, a shelled centipede insect.
Tourists should stock up on international-standard medical insurance, which will allow them to receive free medical care if necessary.
Since 1952, Thai athletes have taken part in the Summer Olympics. During this time they have won 21 Olympic medals, including 7 gold. As a rule, the kingdom’s athletes are strong in boxing, taekwondo and weightlifting. The national sport is Thai boxing, which over the past decades has become popular not only in Asia, but in Europe and America.
The basis of all local dishes is rice. It is served with meat, fish and vegetables. There are many spices in traditional Thai cuisine. Locally spicy and sour soups Tom Yam and Tom Kha are known all over the world and have already become part of the culinary culture of Thailand’s neighboring countries.
A good gift from the Kingdom of Thailand can be national silk clothes, silver and gold jewelry with skillfully cut emeralds, sapphires or rubies. Unpretentious souvenirs here are very different – from a fridge magnet to an elegant figurine of an elephant. An excellent gift for men will be Thai rum Sang Som. True, it is impossible to export more than one liter of alcohol from the country.
Interesting fact: In a long list of goods that are banned from exporting from Thailand, there are also statuettes of Buddha above 13 centimeters.
All the main attractions of Thailand are connected with Buddhism. One of the largest shrines in the country is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It is part of the Royal Palace in Bangkok.
Another Buddhist sanctuary is the Marble Temple. In comparison with other local temples and monasteries, it is quite young – it is just over a hundred years old. The sanctuary is completely built of white Italian marble, and near the main building there are 50 Buddha statues – copies of those that are located in different provinces of the kingdom.
Most tourists travel to Thailand for its cozy beaches and warm sea. Expensive resorts are located on the islands of Phuket, Phi Phi Ley and Hua Hin (this is a favorite vacation spot for the royal family), and “budget” – on the islands of Pattaya, Koh Samui, Koh Lanta and many others. In addition to a beach holiday, here you can go diving or explore local attractions, getting new impressions and pleasure, looking at local cafes along the way.
In addition to traditional Buddhist holidays, which are calculated according to the Thai lunar calendar, Thailand also celebrates secular holidays with fixed dates. Among them are the New Year – January 1, Songkran, or Thai New Year, which is celebrated from April 13 to 15. There is also May 5 – the Coronation Day of the late King Rama IX and December 5 – Father’s Day, also known as the Birthday of King Rama IX.