Located in Southeast Asia, Thailand covers a total area of approximately 513,000 square kilometers (198,000 square miles) and is the 50th largest country in the world and the 12th largest in Asia!
The north of the country borders Myanmar and Laos. The northernmost point is Amphoe Mae Sai, Chiang Rai Province, with tourist attractions like Mae Sai Market, Golden Triangle, Wat Phra That Doi Wao, and Wat Thampla (locally known as Money Temple).
The south of the country is next to Malaysia and the Gulf of Thailand. The southernmost point is Amphoe Betong, Yala Province, which contains tourist attractions like La-ong Rung Waterfall (Rainbow Waterfall), Chaloem Phrakiat Waterfall (I-yer Khem Waterfall), Bala-Hala Forest, the sea of fog at Microwave Mountain, and Betong Hot Spring.
The east of the country borders Cambodia and Laos. The easternmost point is Amphoe Si Mueang Mai, Ubon Ratchathani Province, with tourist attractions like Sai Rung Waterfall (Rainbow Waterfall), Kaeng Chu Kan, and Hin Huai Soob Stone Yard.
The west of the country is next to Myanmar and the Andaman Sea. The westernmost point is Amphoe Mae Sariang, Mae Hong Son Province, with tourist attractions like Wat Phra That Chom Thong, Wat Phra That Chom Chaeng, Wat Phra That Chom Kitti, Salawin National Park, Bua Tong Field at Doi Mae Ho, and Mae Sawan Noi Waterfall.
Thailand is divided into six regions: North, Northeast, Central, South, East, and West.
The North is the country’s highlands. Vast mountain ranges dominate the landscape and are the source of many rivers. Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s tallest peak, is famous among tourists during the cool season for the Mae Kha Ning (frost flower) phenomenon as well as a sea of fog, nature trails, waterfalls, and botanical scenes.
The Northeast features some of the beautiful northern highlands and also gorgeous plateaus. Hom Mali Rice (Thai Jasmine Rice) is grown here and exported all over the world. The Mekong River is a very prominent river that runs through the area. Popular places along the Mekong River include Amphoe Chiang Khan of Loei Province, Tha Sadet Market in Nong Khai Province, Indochina Market in Mukdahan Province, and Sam Pan Bok Grand Canyon in Ubon Ratchathani Province.
Central Thailand is mainly plains and is a huge area of rice farming and agriculture. The Chao Phraya River is very important to Thailand’s history. Interesting places to visit are ancient historical temples, Bang Pa-in Royal Palace and Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Center in Ayutthaya Province, and Koh Kret in Nonthaburi Province. And if you like shopping, there are plenty of local markets in Bangkok for you to explore such as Wang Lang Market, Tha Phra Chan Market, Saphan Phut (Memorial Bridge) Night Market, and Asiatique Night Market. There are also Chao Phraya boat tours from Bangkok to Ayutthaya every day.
The South contains many beautiful beaches and islands in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. Well-known tourist destinations are Phuket Province, Koh Samui, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lipe, and Koh Tao.
Eastern Thailand is half mountain, half ocean. Although there aren’t many provinces here, it still has a lot of amazing sights and stunning locations to visit just like the rest of Thailand such as Koh Samed, Koh Chang, Koh Mak, Koh Lan, Koh Si Chang, Bang Saen Beach, Pattaya, Jomtien Beach, Laem Mae Phim Beach, and Mae Ram Phueng Beach.
The West is mountainous with many woodlands, waterfalls, and dams, which is why there are a number of national parks in the area. Due to its geographical variation, there is a lot of incredible Thai nature to see in this western region. Tourist attractions include Thong Pha Phum National Park, Srinakharin Dam, Vajiralongkorn Dam, Sai Yok Noi Waterfall, Sai Yok Yai Waterfall, Erawan Waterfall, Mon Bridge, Mueang Sing Historical Park, Three Pagodas Pass, Wat Wang Wiwekaram, Underwater City, The Bridge of the River Kwai, Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, and World War II Museum and Art Gallery.
Thailand has three seasons: wet, cool, and hot. Depending on where and when you travel. It is always good to check the weather before visiting as some areas are better in specific seasons.
25 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THAILAND
Do you think you have Thailand all figured out? You might be in for a surprise once you finish reading this list of some of the most interesting facts about Thailand.
Thailand is a land of surprise (and beautiful beach resorts)!
1. Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country that was never colonized by an European country. In fact, in the Thai language, the name of the country is Prathet Thai which means “land of the free.” Very fitting!
2. Thailand is where you’ll find both the smallest and the largest creatures. The smallest mammal in the world, the bumblebee bat, calls Thailand home. You can also find the largest fish, the whale shark, in Thai waters.
3. Males were all Buddhist monks for a while. There was a time when all young men in Thailand (including royalty) were required to become Buddhist monks–even if only for a short period of time–before they turned 20. This practice is not observed as it used to be these days, however.
4. You’re lucky that you know Bangkok as “Bangkok.” Its real name is one of the longest names of a place in the world, made up of Pali and Sanskrit root words: Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit. What does that name mean? It means “City of Angels, Great City of Immortals, Magnificent City of the Nine Gems, Seat of the King, City of Royal Palaces, Home of Gods Incarnate, Erected by Visvakarman at Indra’s Behest.”
5. People often marvel at the forests and jungles of Thailand, but there used to be more. What most people don’t realize is that over one hundred years ago, nearly all of northern Thailand was covered in hardwood forest. Today, about a quarter of that forest is left. Only Singapore has lost more trees. For this reason, logging is completely banned in Thailand.
6. One-tenth of the entire population of Thailand lives in Bangkok. It is the capital of this great nation, and, of course, the largest city.
Bangkok is the largest city in Thailand. Photo by Evo Flash.
7. Thailand loves its King, and shows great respect for the monarchy. The well-known Hollywood movie “The King and I” was never shown in Thai theaters because it was considered to be derogatory to the King. How serious are they about their King? Thailand has the lese majeste rule, meaning that if you commit disrespectful acts toward the King, you could be imprisoned for treason.
8. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States. He is the grandson of King Chulalongkorn or Rama V. The King is highly educated, with an engineering degree from Switzerland. His grandfather was credited with bringing modernism to Thailand.
9. There are about 35,000 temples in Thailand. Thailand is truly a land of temples. Visiting them requires modest clothing, meaning no shorts or sleeveless shirts.
10. Showing respect for another person’s head is imperative in Thailand. The head is considered to be the most important part of the body, and so Thai culture forbids touching anyone on the head (even a child). Should you meet someone who is older or more important than you, it is best to lower your head in deference to show proper respect.
11. Thailand is home to many, many animals. About a tenth of all of the animal species on the planet call Thailand home, and a tenth of all bird species. To put that into perspective, Thailand has more birds than Europe and America combined!
12. The national flower of Thailand is the orchid. If you love exotic flowers, you’ll be pleased to know that 1,500 orchid species can be found growing wild in Thai forest. There’s a reason why it is one of the world’s largest orchid exporters.
13. People associate elephants with Thailand. There are more than 5,000 found there (though more than half are domesticated). Over a hundred years ago, though, there used to be about 100,000 with about one fifth of them wild.
There are thousands of elephants in Thailand. Photo by Christian Haugen.
14. Thailand has many flags. If you’re observant, you’ll notice the national flag of Thailand being raised at 8 a.m. each morning, and lowered at 6 p.m. There are also many other flags called the “Royal Flags” which are flown along with the national flag to honor the monarchy. You will only see the Royal Flags in Thailand, but they are a common sight.
15. Like the heat? Bangkok, Thailand was named the world’s hottest city! Be sure to come prepared when you visit, and stay hydrated.
16. Thailand has a few big snakes. You can find the reticulated python in Thai jungles, the world’s largest snake. The biggest one found was over 33 feet long. It doesn’t stop there, though. The longest poisonous snake in the world, the king cobra? Yep. You can find those in Thailand, too.
17. Each year, about 6,000,000 tourists visit Thailand. That number continues to grow by leaps and bounds as the world discovers what a wonderful place it is. Bangkok feels an influx of 11,000,000 non-resident visitors each year.
18. A smile can go a long way, and you’ll find more smiles in Thailand than just about anywhere else. In fact, it’s sometimes known as the “land of smiles” because the people of Thailand seem to be always ready with a smile. They are a peace-loving culture, desiring harmony over conflict.
19. The most important mineral you’ll find in Thailand? It might surprise you, considering all of the beautiful gold jewelry and statues in temples, but it is actually tin. And the most exported crop? Rice, of course! Think of all the tasty Thai dishes that you love. Rice is a staple in Thai cuisine.
20. Thailand used to be known as Siam, and it is the country where Siamese cats originated from. Though there used to be 23 types of Siamese cats originally, there are now only six. Giving a pair of Siamese cats to a bride on her wedding day is considered good luck.
21. Red Bull, the world-famous energy drink, has its roots in Thailand. It is based on Krating Daeng, a drink made popular in Thailand (and eventually across Asia) since 1976. Red Bull was modified to “suit western tastes.”
22. That street you’re driving on? In the past, it might have actually been water. Bangkok used to be referred to as the “Venice of the East” due to the number of buildings that were built on stilts above the river. Gradually, most of the canals were filled in and became the streets you see today.
Thailand has over a thousand islands. Photo by Ray Smith.
23. Thailand is made up of approximately 1,430 islands. Many of the islands have become famous for being featured in Hollywood films. A popular habit of return visitors is to “try out” new islands to find their favorite.
24. Ever heard of the “Bridge Over the River Kwai”? You can find that bridge near the town of Kanchanburi. The bridge is a part of the Burma-Siam railway, and an estimated 80,000 people died in the course of making that railway.
25. Have you ever been to a festival for monkeys? The annual Monkey Buffet is held in front of the Pra Prang Sam Yot temple Lopburi province. The local residents see it as a way of thanking the monkeys for bringing thousands of tourists to the village to see these monkeys that live there. It’s no small buffet: two tons of meat, fruit, ice cream, and other treats make up this feast.
Thailand is such a unique country that it is difficult to stop at just 25 facts! Each visitor to Thailand leaves with a better understanding of how special the country is, with many coming back to get married in a place they fell in love with.
When will it be your turn to discover what makes Thailand so interesting?
Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tours. Tourism may be international, or within the traveller’s country. The World Tourism Organization defines tourism more generally, in terms which go “beyond the common perception of tourism as being limited to holiday activity only”, as people “traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes”.
Tourism can be domestic or international, and international tourism has both incoming and outgoing implications on a country’s balance of payments. Today, tourism is a major source of income for many countries, and affects the economy of both the source and host countries, in some cases being of vital importance.
Hiking is the preferred term, in Canada and the United States, for a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails (footpaths), in the countryside, while the word walking is used for shorter, particularly urban walks. On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, the word “walking” is acceptable to describe all forms of walking, whether it is a walk in the park or backpacking in the Alps. The word hiking is also often used in the UK, along with rambling (a slightly old-fashioned term), hillwalking, and fell walking (a term mostly used for hillwalking in northern England). The term bushwalking is endemic to Australia, having been adopted by the Sydney Bush Walkers club in 1927. In New Zealand a long, vigorous walk or hike is called tramping.It is a popular activity with numerous hiking organizations worldwide, and studies suggest that all forms of walking have health benefits.
In the United States, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, and United Kingdom, hiking means walking outdoors on a trail, or off trail, for recreational purposes. A day hike refers to a hike that can be completed in a single day. However, in the United Kingdom, the word walking is also used, as well as rambling, while walking in mountainous areas is called hillwalking. In Northern England, Including the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, fellwalking describes hill or mountain walks, as fell is the common word for both features there.
A is an overland journey, usually a trip by tourists to Africa. In the past, the trip was often a big-game hunt, but today, safari often refers to trips to observe and photograph wildlife—or hiking and sightseeing, as well.
The Swahili word safari means journey, originally from the Arabic meaning a journey; the verb for “to travel” in Swahili is kusafiri. These words are used for any type of journey, e.g. by bus from Nairobi to Mombasa or by ferry from Dar es Salaam to Unguja. Safari entered the English language at the end of the 1850s thanks to Richard Francis Burton, the famous explorer.
The Regimental March of the King’s African Rifles was ‘Funga Safari’, literally ‘tie up the March’, or, in other words, pack up equipment ready to march.
In 1836 William Cornwallis Harris led an expedition purely to observe and record wildlife and landscapes by the expedition’s members. Harris established the safari style of journey, starting with a not too strenuous rising at first light, an energetic day walking, an afternoon rest then concluding with a formal dinner and telling stories in the evening over drinks and tobacco.
Kayaking is the use of a kayak for moving across water. It is distinguished from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle. A kayak is a low-to-the-water, canoe-like boat in which the paddler sits facing forward, legs in front, using a double-bladed paddle to pull front-to-back on one side and then the other in rotation. Most kayaks have closed decks, although sit-on-top and inflatable kayaks are growing in popularity as well.
Kayaks were created thousands of years ago by the Inuit, formerly known as Eskimos, of the northern Arctic regions. They used driftwood and sometimes the skeleton of whale, to construct the frame of the kayak, and animal skin, particularly seal skin was used to create the body. The main purpose for creating the kayak, which literally translates to “hunter’s boat” was for hunting and fishing. The kayak’s stealth capabilities, allowed for the hunter to sneak up behind animals on the shoreline, and successfully catch their prey. By the mid-1800s the kayak became increasingly popular and the Europeans became interested. German and French men began kayaking for sport. In 1931, a man named Adolf Anderle became the first person to kayak down the Salzachofen Gorge, this is where the birthplace of modern-day white-water kayaking is believed to have begun. Kayak races were introduced in the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936.
In the 1950s fiberglass kayaks were developed and commonly used, until 1980s when polyethylene plastic kayaks came about. Kayaking progressed as a fringe sport in the U.S. until the 1970s, when it became a mainstream popular sport. Now, more than 10 white water kayaking events are featured in the Olympics.While kayaking represents a key international watersport, few academic studies have been conducted on the role kayaking plays in the lives and activities of the public .
Paragliding is the recreational and competitive adventure sport of flying paragliders: lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure. The pilot sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing comprising a large number of interconnected baffled cells. Wing shape is maintained by the suspension lines, the pressure of air entering vents in the front of the wing, and the aerodynamic forces of the air flowing over the outside.
Despite not using an engine, paraglider flights can last many hours and cover many hundreds of kilometers, though flights of one to two hours and covering some tens of kilometers are more the norm. By skillful exploitation of sources of lift, the pilot may gain height, often climbing to altitudes of a few thousand meters.
A climbing peak may refer to a mountain or hill peak or a rock formation that has to be ascended by climbing. The term is common in Germany where it is specifically used of free-standing rock formations in the climbing regions of Saxon Switzerland, Zittau Mountains and other nearby ranges in the German Central Uplands that can only be summitted via climbing routes of at least grade I on the UIAA scale or by jumping from nearby rocks or massifs. As a general rule, they must have a topographic prominence of at least 10 metres to qualify. In Saxon Switzerland the Saxon Climbing Regulations do not require any minimum height, but define climbing peaks as
Another requirement is its recognition by the responsible sub-committee of the Saxon Climbers’ Federation (SBB) and the responsible conservation authorities. For hikers these authorized summits may often be recognised by the presence of a summit register and abseiling anchor points.
In other climbing areas, such as those in Bohemian Switzerland, there are other exceptions. There, climbing peaks only need to have a significant rock face – the lowest side of which has to be less than 10 m high, but at least 6 m high.
An adventure is an exciting or unusual experience. It may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.Adventures may be activities with some potential for physical danger such as traveling, exploring, skydiving, mountain climbing, scuba diving, river rafting or participating in extreme sports.
The term also broadly refers to any enterprise that is potentially fraught with physical, financial or psychological risk, such as a business venture, or other major life undertakings.
Road cycling is the most widespread form of cycling. It includes recreational, racing, and utility cycling. Road cyclists are generally expected to obey the same rules and laws as other vehicle drivers or riders and may also be vehicular cyclists.
Dedicated road bicycles have drop handlebars and multiple gears, although there are single and fixed gear varieties. Road bikes also use narrow, high-pressure tires to decrease rolling resistance, and tend to be somewhat lighter than other types of bicycle. The drop handlebars are often positioned lower than the saddle in order to put the rider in a more aerodynamic position. In an effort to become more aerodynamic, some riders have begun using aerobars. Who and when aerobars where invented is unclear but they seem to date back to the early 1980s. The light weight and aerodynamics of a road bike allows this type of bicycle to be the second most efficient self-powered means of transportation, behind only recumbent bicycles due to the latter’s higher aerodynamic efficiency.
Skiing can be a means of transport, a recreational activity or a competitive winter sport in which the participant uses skis to glide on snow. Many types of competitive skiing events are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Ski Federation (FIS).
Skiing has a history of almost five millennia. Although modern skiing has evolved from beginnings in Scandinavia, it may have been practiced more than 100 centuries ago in what is now China, according to an interpretation of ancient paintings.
The word “ski” is one of a handful of words Norway has exported to the international community. It comes from the Old Norse word “skíð” which means “split piece of wood or firewood”.