Country profile

About Thailand

For some reason, Thailand has never been colonised by the ubiquitous western powers and so it remains as authentic a taste of South East Asia as you can get, with ancient Thai culture and traditions popping up everywhere you look. That said, as a modern tourist destination, it is second to none, with everything you could possibly ask for to help you relax and unwind.

Thailand is one of South East Asia’s largest countries and stretches from the mountainous border in Myanmar (Burma) in the north to the Malaysian Peninsula in the south, and is nestled next to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam to the east. With delicious food, warm, smiling people, breathtaking beaches and glorious islands as well as a wealth of culture and history, it’s not surprising that Thailand has been a fashionable holiday destination for many years.

Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, making it a peaceful, welcoming place. Often referred to as the ‘land of smiles’, Thailand seems content with itself – and who can blame it. The Thai people, and their millions of visitors every year, enjoy a warm tropical climate, lush vegetation, beautiful beaches and food to die for. No wonder they celebrate life with so many colourful festivals throughout the year.

Thailand gives its name to a unique culinary experience, with Thai curries unlike anything else you’ll taste. A mixture of sweet, sour and spicy, Thai food is original and unique. Wherever you decide to go in Thailand, tasting some authentic Thai cuisine should be high on your list. Thai cuisine involves around 30 different herbs and spices including a number of basil varieties and the ubiquitous lemongrass and ginger flavourings while the fresh fish and sea food is out of this world. The country also gives its name to another famous tourist draw, the Thai massage, which reflects the relaxing, service orientated culture that wants to share its laidback lifestyle by massaging away your troubles.

Thailand’s rich history is all around you, with magnificent Buddhist temples and shrines littering the countryside and cities. And its future is clear to see to, in the thriving capital city of Bangkok, where modern skyscrapers tower over the traditional markets and the melee of Tuk Tuks in the streets below, in this thronging hub that is home to seven million people.

Bangkok, otherwise known as the ‘City of Sin’, offers a constant reminder of the country’s rich cultural heritage, along with fabulous shopping opportunities and plenty of entertainment along the popular Khao San Road. The Chao Phraya River divides Bangkok from Thonburi and although the city is noisy and busy, there are plenty of peaceful escapes. Quiet sanctuary can be found inside one of the city’s 400 Wats (temples), most famous of which is Wat Pho (The Temple of the Reclining Buddha), the oldest and largest Wat in Bangkok. Shopaholics and bargain hunters should hit Khao San Road for the ultimate shopping experience.

Bangkok also hosts some of the world’s finest luxury hotels and high quality restaurants, but make sure you find time to check out the traditional side too, from steaming street food stalls to the incredible sights and sounds of the floating markets.

Away from the city, Thailand is blessed with some pristine white beaches and paradise islands, such as Ko Samui, Ko Phang-Nga, Ko Tao in the south east and Phuket and Ko Phi Phi in the west, where crystal clear green/blue seas lap gently at palm fringed shores. Here you can enjoy as much action, or relaxation, as you wish, with everything imaginable available, from parascending and waterskiing to snorkeling and diving. Thailand’s parties are the stuff of legend, with the Full Moon parties a particular favourite. Or if you prefer, you can simply stretch out and relax as the friendly, attentive staff keep you refreshed with exotic cocktails.

Perhaps the reason Thailand has never been conquered is that no one wants to change a thing. It is magical just the way it is.

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Quick facts

Population: 66.7 Million
Currency: Baht
Capital: Bangkok
Languages: Thai
Religions: Buddhism 95%