General Information About ThailandThailand is a country on Southeast Asia’s Indochina peninsula known for tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, ancient ruins and ornate temples displaying figures of Buddha, a revered symbol. In Bangkok, the capital, an ultramodern cityscape rises next to quiet canal and riverside communities. Commercial hubs such as Chinatown consist of labyrinthine alleys crammed with shophouses, markets and diners.
Thailand means “Land of the Free” and throughout the country’s 800-year history,the Thai people can boast the distinction of being the only country in Southeast Asia never to have been colonized. Formerly known as Siam to Foreigners who first came to this region as early as the 12th Century, the country’s name was changed to Thailand with the advent of a democratic government. Long before the emergence of what is conventionally called the Thai Kingdom curing the 12th Century, the area known as Chao Phraya valley, was inhabited by ancient civilizations that can be traced back to pre-historic times. By far the most important archaeological discoveries confirming these ancient people were made in the tiny village of Ban Chiang near Udon Thani in the Northeast. Systematic excavation of Ban Chiang began only two decades ago, revealing painted pottery, jewellery, bronze and iron tools. Settlement began about 3600 B.C. The Ban Chiang people, farmed rice, domesticated their animals, and were skillful potters. But even before human beings roamed the northeastern plateau, the region was once home to a more ancient of animal the dinosaur, In 1984, fossils from a plant-eating dinosaur were found in Phu Wiang province, and was named Phuwiangosaurus Siamontyrannus isanensis, a fierce meat-eating ancestor of the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex. Over the centuries, the area was influenced by various cultures, from the Indians in the 3rd Century, the Mons between the 6th to the 11th Century, and the Khmers who built the wondrous Angkor Wat and who also left their legacy in the form of numerous stone sanctuaries scattered across the Thai Kingdom. Thailand dominant culture is believed to have arrived with tribes who moved down from southern China almost a thousand years ago. They settled in what is now northern Thailand before expanding south to the rich plains and valleys, gradually asserting their independence from existing Khmer and Mon Kingdoms.
Early kingdomsWith no written records or chronologies it is difficult to say with certainty what kind of cultures existed in Thailand before the middle of the first millennium AD. However, by the 6th century an important network of agricultural communities was thriving as far south as modern-day Pattani and Yala, and as far north and northeast as Lamphun and Muang Fa Daet (near Khon Kaen). Theravada Buddhism was flourishing and may have entered the region during India’s Ashoka period, in the 3rd or 2nd century BC, when Indian missionaries are said to have been sent to a land called Suvannabhumi (Land of Gold). Suvannabhumi most likely corresponds to a remarkably fertile area stretching from southern Myanmar, across central Thailand, to eastern Cambodia. Two different cities in Thailand’s central river basin have long been called Suphanburi (City of Gold) and U Thong (Cradle of Gold).
ModernisationCommonly known as King Mongkut (Phra Chom Klao to the Thais), Rama IV was a colourful and innovative Chakri king. He originally missed out on the throne in deference to his half-brother, Rama III, and lived as a Buddhist monk for 27 years. During his long monastic term he became adept in Sanskrit, Pali, Latin and English, studied Western sciences and adopted the strict discipline of local Mon monks. He kept an eye on the outside world and, when he took the throne in 1851, immediately courted diplomatic relations with a few European nations, taking care to evade colonisation. In addition, he attempted to demythologise Thai religion by aligning Buddhist cosmology with modern science, and founded the Thammayut monastic sect, based on the strict discipline he had followed as a monk. King Mongkut loosened Thai trade restrictions and many Western powers signed trade agreements with the monarch. He also sponsored Siam’s second printing press and instituted educational reforms, developing a school system along European lines. Although the king courted the West, he did so with caution and warned his subjects, ‘Whatever they have invented or done which we should know of and do, we can imitate and learn from them, but do not wholeheartedly believe in them’. Mongkut was the first monarch to show his face to Thai commoners in public. Mongkut’s son King Chulalongkorn (known to the Thais as Rama V or Chula Chom Klao; r 1868–1910) continued his father’s tradition of reform, especially in the legal and administrative realms. Educated by European tutors, Rama V abolished prostration before the king as well as slavery and corvée (state labour). Siam further benefited from relations with European nations and the USA: railways were built, a civil service was established and the legal code restructured. Although Siam still managed to avoid European colonisation, the king was compelled to concede territory to French Indochina (Laos in 1893 and Cambodia in 1907) and British Burma (three Malayan states in 1909) during his reign. Rama V’s son King Vajiravudh (Mongkut Klao or Rama VI; r 1910–25), was educated in Britain and during his reign he introduced educational reforms, including compulsory education. He further ‘Westernised’ the nation by conforming the Thai calendar to Western models. His reign was clouded by a top-down push for Thai nationalism that resulted in strong anti-Chinese sentiment. Before Vajiravudh’s reign Thai parents gave each of their children a single, original name, with no surname to identify family origins. In 1909 a royal decree required the adoption of Thai surnames for all Thai citizens – a move designed to parallel the European system of family surnames and to weed out Chinese names. In 1912 a group of Thai military officers unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the monarchy, the first in a series of coup attempts that have plagued Thai history. As a show of support for the Allies in WWI, Vajiravudh sent 1300 Thai troops to France in 1918.
StabilisationPrem served as prime minister until 1988 and is credited with the political and economic stabilisation of Thailand in the post-Vietnam War years (only one coup attempt in the 1980s!). The major success of the Prem years was a complete dismantling of the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) and PLAT through an effective combination of amnesty programmes (which brought the students back from the forests) and military action. His administration is also considered to have been responsible for a gradual democratisation of Thailand that culminated in the 1988 election of his successor, retired general and businessman Chatichai Choonhavan. Prem continues to serve as a privy councillor and is a rátthàbùrùt (elder statesman) of the country. It may be difficult for later arrivals to Thailand to appreciate the political distance Thailand covered in the 1980s. Under Prem, for example, a long-standing 1am curfew in Bangkok was lifted, and dissenting opinions were heard again in public. Ever since 1932 every leading political figure in Thailand has needed the support of the Thai military to survive. Considering Thailand’s geographic position during the Cold War years, it’s not difficult to understand their influence. But as the threat of communist takeover (either from within or from nearby Indochinese states) diminished, the military gradually began loosening its hold on national politics. Under Chatichai Thailand enjoyed a brief period of unprecedented popular participation in government. Around 60% of Chatichai’s cabinet members were former business executives rather than the ex-military officers in the previous cabinet. Thailand entered a new era in which the country’s double-digit economic boom ran concurrently with democratisation. Critics praised the political maturation of Thailand, even if they also grumbled that corruption seemed as rife as it ever was. By the end of the 1980s, however, certain high-ranking military officers had become increasingly dissatisfied, complaining that Thailand was being run by a plutocracy.
Musical chairs & a new constitutionThe September 1992 elections squeezed in veteran Democrat Party leader Chuan Leekpai, who helmed a four-party coalition government. A food vendor’s son and native of Trang Province instead of a general, tycoon or academic, the new premier didn’t fit the usual mould. Although well regarded for his honesty and high morals, Chuan accomplished little in the areas of concern to the majority of Thais, most pointedly Bangkok traffic, national infrastructure and the undemocratic NPKC constitution. After Chuan was unseated in a vote of no confidence, a new general election ushered in a seven-party coalition led by the Chart Thai (Thai Nationality) Party. At the helm was billionaire Banharn Silapa-archa, whom the press called a ‘walking ATM’; they immediately attacked his tendency to appoint from a reservoir of rural politicians known to favour big business over social welfare. In September 1996 the Banharn government collapsed amid a spate of corruption scandals and a crisis of confidence. The November 1996 national election, marked by electoral violence and accusations of vote buying, saw the former deputy prime minister and army commander Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, of the New Aspiration Party, secure premiership with a dubious mix of coalition partners. In July 1997, following several months of warning signs that almost everyone in Thailand and in the international community chose to ignore, the Thai currency fell into a deflationary tailspin and the national economy crashed and screeched to a virtual halt. Along with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea, Thailand had huge current-account deficits, massive external debt and low foreign-exchange reserves. Asia was borrowing billions more than it could afford on the basis of optimistic predictions of future growth. On 27 September 1997 the Thai parliament voted in a new constitution, Thailand’s 16th since 1932 and the first to be decreed by a civilian government. Known as rátthàthamanun pràchaachon (people’s constitution) it put new mechanisms in place to monitor the conduct of elected officials and political candidates and to protect civil rights, achieving many of the aims of the prodemocracy movement. Hope faded as Chavalit, living up to everyone’s low expectations, failed to deal effectively with the economy and was forced to resign in November 1997. An election brought Chuan Leekpai back into office, where he did a reasonably decent job as an international public-relations man for the crisis.
BangkokBangkok certainly lives up to its reputation as a travel hot spot in Southeast Asia. The 'City of Angels' has funky markets, up market malls, a riverside full of surprises, a vibrant nightlife scene, many fabulous sights and attractions that reflect its unique heritage, and much, much more. Say goodbye to traffic jams – thanks to the city's modern skytrain and underground systems that cover a large area. Or explore the riverside area by a long-tail speedboat or river taxi. Whether your trip is for business or pleasure, Bangkok bursts with exciting opportunities.
PattayaPattaya is formally a fishing village, it was the first holiday beach nearest to Bangkok. Pattaya city turned itself from an ordinary fishing village into a world famous holiday beach resort of Asia and the world. Pattaya is about 150km away from Bangkok. The easiest way to reach Pattaya is by road, which is less than 2 hours, by new express way Toll way from the airport to Pattaya. The transport service from the airport supported by different company such as normal Taxi, Limousine, or chauffeur drive and Bus. You can find huge accommodation services provided to meet your need. From low prices hotel to most Luxury Resort
PhuketLocated approximately 862 kilometers south of Bangkok is Phuket, Thailand's largest island, which is often dubbed as the "Pearl of the Andaman", or the pearl of the south. Its natural resources- rocky peninsular, limestone cliffs, white powdery beaches, tranquil broad bays and tropical in-land forests contribute to making it the South's wealthiest, busiest, most visited and most popular island and province. Phuket is divided into 3 administrative counties namely Amphoe Muang, Amphoe Thalang and Amphoe Kathu.
Hua HinHua Hin is as opposed to any other seaside destination in Thailand. Hua Hin could very well be what you're looking for. Hua Hin has a unique personality all its own. Hua Hin became well-known as a stormy period escape in the 20's with the development of the train range from Bangkok. The wonderful, northeastern design Railway Resort was designed near Hua Hin's well-known stones in 1923 by the Condition Railway Power, which also designed Thailand's first community tennis course in Hua Hin in 1924. This set the level for Hua Hin's reputation and exclusive atmosphere which continues to be to this day.
Koh SamuiKoh Samui is well-known getaway for region slow paced life, and the speed of life here certainly is relaxing. With its amazing seashores, exotic personality and tremendous mountain internal Koh Samui is a company preferred among discriminating visitors to Thailand. There are few places in Thailand which feature such a innovative and well developed vacationer facilities. Known as the 'boutique' region, Koh Samui offers outstanding accommodations. Go going off Koh Samui, or discover the island’s on your own.
People Of ThailandThey always give you the warmest, friendliest smile – if you smile first. The street hustlers are not scamming you, they just try to make a living. They serve the man first, but give the woman the larger portion. No matter how early you get up in the morning, most of them will already be awake and working. They have the most innocent sense of humor.
wind: 3m/s ESE
H 31 • L 30
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