The kingdom of Thailand lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it a natural gateway to Indochina, Myanmar and Southern China. Its shape and geography divide into four natural regions : the mountains and forests of the North; the vast rice fields of the Central Plains; the semi-arid farm lands of the Northeast plateau; and the tropical islands and long coastline of the peninsula South.
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The country comprises 76 provinces that are further divided into districts, sub-districts and villages. Bangkok is the capital city and centre of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities. It is also the seat of Thailand’s revered Royal Family, with His Majesty the King recognised as Head of State, Head of the Armed Forces, Upholder of the Buddhist religion and Upholder of all religions.
THAILAND – REGIONS AND CITIES:
Thailand, formerly Siam, officially known as the Kingdom of Thailand, is a constitutional monarchy in South East Asia, bordered by Myanmar (Burma) to the north and west, by Laos to the north-east, by Cambodia and the Gulf of Thailand (Siam) to the south-east, by Malaysia to the south, and by the Andaman Sea to the south-west. The total area of Thailand is 513,115 sq km (198,115 sq mi). The capital and largest city is Bangkok.
Thailand is divided into four natural regions: the North, the Northeast or the Korat Plateau, the Central Plains or the Chao Phraya River Basin and the South, or the Southern Peninsula.
Apart from the capital city of Bangkok, other major cities include; Chiang Mai in the North, Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat) and Khon Kaen in the Northeast, Ayutthaya and Chon Buri on the Central Plains and Songkhla, in the South.
THAILAND WEATHER AND CLIMATE
Thailand enjoys a tropical climate with three distinct seasons. Hot and dry from February to May (average temperature 34 degrees Celsius and 75% humidity); rainy with plenty of sunshine from June to October (average day temperature 29 degrees Celsius and 87% humidity); and cool from November to January (temperatures range from 32 degrees Celsius to below 20 degrees Celsius with a drop in humidity). Much lower temperatures are experienced in the North and Northeast at night. The South has a tropical rainforest climate with temperatures averaging 28 degrees Celsius almost all year round. The best time to visit Thailand is during the cool season, between November and March.
Thais are well-known for their friendliness and hospitality. A large majority of over 62 million citizens of Thailand are ethic Thai, along with strong communities whose ethnic origins lie in China, India and elsewhere. About 7 million people reside in the capital city of Bangkok. About 10 million people live in Bangkok.
THAILAND BUSINESS HOURS
Most commercial concerns in Bangkok operate on a five-day week, usually from 8 am to 5 pm. Many stores open seven days a week from 10 am to 10 pm. Government offices are generally open between 8.30 am and 4.30 pm with a noon to 1 pm lunch break, Monday to Friday except on public holidays. Banks are open Mondays to Fridays from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm except on public holidays.
The Thai unit of currency is the baht 1 baht is divided into 100 satang. Note are in denominations of 1,000 (brown), 500 (purple), 100 (red), 50 (blue), 20 (green) and 10 (brown) baht. Coins consist of 25 satang, 50 satang, 1 baht, 5 baht and 10 baht. Most foreign currencies and traveller cheques are easily changed at banks, hotels or moneychangers. All major credit cards are widely accepted throughout the kingdom.
Spoken and written Thai is largely incomprehensible to the casual visitor. However, English is widely understood, particularly in Bangkok where it is almost the major commercial language. English and some European Languages are spoken in most hotels, shops and restaurants in major tourist destinations, and Thai-English road and street signs are found nationwide.
THAILAND VISA REQUIREMENTS
Foreign nationals visiting Thailand must possess valid passports or acceptable travel documents and appropriate visas before entering the country. Visitors from certain countries are permitted to stay up to 15 days without visas, provided they possess tickets confirming departure within 15 days, while visitors from several other countries are allowed to apply for tourists visas at all ports of entry. Transit visas are granted for up to 30 days and tourist visas for up to 60 days. Non-immigrant, diplomatic, and official visas are valid for up to 90 days.
The electric current is 220 volt AC (50 cycles) throughout the country. Many different types of plugs and sockets are in use. Travellers with electric shavers, hair dryers, tape recorders and other appliances should carry a plug adapter kit. The better hotels will make available 110-volt transformers.
Tap water is clean but drinking from it directly should be avoided. Bottled water is recommended
Light, cool clothes are sensible and a jacket is needed for formal meetings and dining in top restaurants. Shorts (except knee length walking shorts), sleeveless shirts, tank tops and other beach-style attire are considered inappropriate dress when not actually at the beach or in a resort area.
There are no required vaccinations, unless you are coming from an infected area. That being said, it would be prudent to check with your medical provider to ensure that your standard health vaccinations are up to date.