Thailand is one of the most beautiful countries in Southeast Asia, which is famous for its sea beaches, mountains and jungles, ancient temples with centuries-old history. It is a country that attracts millions of tourists. People of different nationalities live here, but all of them are very open, friendly and independent. Welcome to Thailand, the country is looking forward to you!
Thailand on the map
Where is Thailand?
Thailand is located in Southeast Asia. Most of its territory is located on the Indochina peninsula. In the south, several provinces of the kingdom are located on the Malacca Peninsula.
It is one of the few countries in Asia that is washed by two oceans at once – the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. The eastern coast of Thailand is washed by the waters of the Gulf of Thailand, which is part of the South China Sea. This is the Pacific Ocean. The western coast is washed by the waters of the Andaman Sea, which is already the Indian Ocean.
Both in the Andaman Sea and in the Gulf of Thailand, there are many small but very beautiful islands. These islands are of constant interest to tourists.
Thailand borders on land with four countries. In the east is Cambodia and Laos, in the west and north – Myanmar, in the south – Malaysia.
Most of the country is occupied by low plateaus and river valleys. Only in the north do the mountains begin to grow. There is the highest point of the kingdom – Mount Doyintanon (2565 metres).
Safety for tourists
In the global index of peacefulness, which takes into account the calmness of the situation, attitude to tourists and many other factors, Thailand is in a distant 113th place, strongly inferior to all the nearest neighbours. But this is exactly the case when the low level of security is more potential than real. In fact, it’s not all that bad, and the millions of tourists who visit the kingdom every year bring back only pleasant memories.
Serious crimes in Thailand are rare, but still the news often flashes reports about another death of a foreigner. As a rule, they are caused by dubious acquaintances, drugs, asocial lifestyle.
Pickpockets, swindlers and other swindlers in the kingdom are very much. Here it is easy to become a victim of theft or deception. Therefore, tourists are strongly advised not to take large sums of money and avoid visiting hot spots.
Another danger of Thailand is considered traffic. Thais are not the most disciplined drivers, and according to WHO, the country is in second place in the world in road deaths. Every day, an average of 66 people die here as a result of road accidents. Tourists should also remember that the traffic here is left-handed.
Various dangers await tourists in the sea. There is a lot of coral on the shores, the sharp edges of which can cut yourself badly. On the beaches there are often reverse currents, to cope with which is not easy. In the sea there are poisonous jellyfish, sea urchins, snails. Swim into the coastal waters and sharks. Although, the biggest danger of Thai beaches is still the bright sun. With unaccustomed, tourists can get severe burns or sunstroke.
A significant part of the territory of the kingdom is covered with jungle. There are dangerous predators and poisonous snakes. Even monkeys begging for food from tourists can be dangerous, as they are easily enraged and can bite hard.
The hot and very humid climate of the country contributes to the risk of intestinal infections and epidemiological diseases. Therefore, it is important to follow the rules of hygiene, do not drink tap water and do not eat unwashed fruit.
Many people call Thailand the Land of Smiles. The locals are very cheerful and friendly people who treat tourists with great hospitality. Carnivals and festivals are often organised here, official holidays associated with Buddhist traditions or with the royal family are celebrated.
Thus, here celebrate the Thai New Year according to the local calendar, Vesak spring festival, Loikrathong – honouring the spirit of water, and many other unusual holidays.
There are also father’s and mother’s days, coronations, associated with important dates in the lives of monarchs.
Local festivals related to historical traditions and the way of Thai life are very popular among tourists. For example, in Surin province there is an annual Elephant Catching Festival, and in autumn Thais organise boat competitions timed to coincide with the end of Lent.
The country does not forget the European New Year. And the Thais celebrate it not for the sake of tourists, but having changed it to their traditions and customs – with noisy festivities, fireworks and folk performances.
What fun things to do in Thailand
From beach holidays and religious sightseeing to unusual shows, Thailand has something for every taste and wallet.
- Beach holidays. The country has a lot of comfortable beaches, so appreciated by lovers of a beautiful tan. The best of them are located on Phuket, Samui and Krabi islands.
- Diving. Thailand has a lot of coral reefs, colourful and populated with exotic fish and other sea creatures. The most popular among divers are the islands of Samui and Phuket.
- Water parks and oceanariums. Each resort of the country has well-equipped water amusement parks. There are them in Pattaya, Phuket and Samui. On Samui there is also an oceanarium with a large collection of tropical fish and vegetation.
- Excursion to the islands. Off the coast of the kingdom there are many tiny but very picturesque islands with luxurious secluded beaches, bungalows and tropical vegetation. Particularly revered by tourists, islands-rocks in the area of Krabi.
- Visit Buddhist temples. Unusually beautiful temples are found in Thailand at every turn. Many of them are open to tourists. There are especially many of them in Bangkok, where the famous temples of the Lying Buddha and Morning Dawn are located.
- Excursions to natural attractions. The nature of Thailand is amazing and very different from what European tourists are used to. Here you can visit national parks, for example, Erawan, or visit inland on the River Kwai.
- Contact with animals. Traditional entertainment of tourists in Thailand is a visit to elephant and crocodile farms. On the first one you can ride on elephants and admire their performances, on the second one you can feed crocodiles.
- Thai massage. It is impossible to visit this country and at least once not to visit a massage parlour, of which there are a great number. Thais are great masters of massage and even a single session can give you a lot of pleasant minutes.
- Shopping. Markets and shopping centres of Thailand are always full of various goods, and not only food. Here you can buy things of famous European brands inexpensively, especially during the sale season.
- Clubs and nightlife. It is no secret that many tourists go to the kingdom not only for a beach holiday, but also for extravagant entertainment. For example, almost every resort has its own special show of transvestites, and this is still the most harmless of possible entertainment from the 18+ category.
What is important to know about Thailand
If you’re planning to visit Thailand, here are some of the most important things to know:
The official language of the country is Thai. It is spoken by 60 million people. Thai is believed to be close to Lao, and people from these countries can easily understand each other.
Linguists call Thai an isolating language, because it has almost no morphemes that change the form of words. And the words themselves mostly consist of one syllable.
Currently, the country is home to just over 66 million people. Among them, the vast majority are indigenous Thais – 80% of them. In addition to the Thais, there are significant communities of Burmese, Chinese, Malays, Khmer and others.
Almost half of Thailand’s population lives in urban areas.
More facts about Thais, their character and local flavour can be found in this article.
The national currency of the country is the Thai baht. It is divided into 100 satangs. In circulation now are coins of 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht, and 25 and 50 satangs. The denominations of banknotes are 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 baht.
Thai money depicts the king, and therefore any disrespectful attitude to them in the country is regarded as an offence.
Tourists can take with them almost any currency of the world, dollars are especially honoured. But money changers will easily exchange Chinese yuan, euros, dirhams, rupees and other monetary units.
Most Thais are extremely religious. The dominant religion in the country is Buddhism. It is practised by 95% of the country’s population. The king himself is considered a defender of Buddhism.
There are more than 32 thousand Buddhist temples in the country, where 400 thousand monks live. Every Thai is obliged during his life to give his duty to the faith and spend some time in a monastery.
Other religions, primarily Islam and Christianity, are represented in small numbers in the country.
All popular resorts of Thailand are located in the zone of subequatorial climate. It is characterised by the division into two seasons – dry and wet. From December to February there is very little precipitation, summer is humid. The rainiest months are May and September-October. The average temperature throughout the year is practically unchanged, keeping at +25 degrees Celsius.
The climate on the islands can differ significantly from the mainland. For example, Samui also has two seasons, but the rainiest months are October-December, and the dry season is very short – February-April.
In Phuket, the distribution of precipitation is the same as on the mainland of Thailand, but the average temperature here is higher – +27-28 degrees Celsius.
The north of the kingdom lies in the zone of humid tropical climate. Here is already sharply pronounced difference in average monthly temperatures throughout the year. In the mountains, the temperature in winter can fall to +15 degrees Celsius.
The average temperature of seawater in Thailand practically does not change by seasons of the year. Fluctuations between winter and summer temperatures are only 2 degrees, which allows you to swim comfortably at any time of the year.
- Water temperature in winter, December-January: from +26 to +27.
- Water temperature in spring, March-May: from +27 to +28 degrees.
- Water temperature in summer, June-July: stable +28 degrees Celsius.
- Water temperature in autumn, September-November: from +28 to +27 degrees in November.
In terms of natural disasters, the kingdom is not too dangerous place. There are no active volcanoes here, and the epicentres of earthquakes are located mainly in a considerable distance from the country. But the consequences of strong tremors can not only be felt in Thailand, but also become the cause of huge tsunamis, as it happened in 2004, after an earthquake off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Then a tsunami struck the Andaman coast of the country, causing unimaginable destruction.
Typical disasters of the kingdom are tropical storms and the floods they cause. Typically, the strongest cyclones occur in autumn and can cause devastation and casualties. The usually calm, full-flowing rivers of Thailand easily overflow their banks and blow away everything in their path. Landslides are not uncommon in the northern provinces, which also occur after heavy rainfall.
No other natural disasters have been recorded here. Sometimes forests burn here, but the fires are small and are perceived more as an element of exoticism than as a real danger.
About the most destructive disasters in the history of Thailand can be read in this article.
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy. The King of the country is the Commander-in-Chief and defender of Buddhism, but he has no absolute power. In fact, in recent years, Thailand has been a dictatorship with a Prime Minister and a former military general as the head of government.
Legislative power in the country is represented by the National Assembly, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Administratively, Thailand is divided into 76 provinces and two specially administered districts – Bangkok and Pattaya.
The capital of the country is the city of Bangkok.
The major cities and resorts
Bangkok is the capital of the country and its largest city. It is home to 5.6 million people. Tourists are attracted here by the unusual atmosphere and stunning contrasts between super-modern skyscrapers and tiny traditional Thai houses nestled in their shadows. Bangkok has many beautiful palaces, including the Royal Palace, and pagodas. In international popularity rankings, Bangkok has been ranked number one for several years, ahead of even Paris and London.
Pattaya is the most accessible and budget resort in the kingdom. It is located on the shore of the Gulf of Thailand on the Pacific Ocean. There are about a dozen popular beaches, the most famous of which are considered the central Pattaya Beach and Jomtien. In the city lives just over 100 thousand locals and constantly almost 500 thousand tourists. The sea in Pattaya is considered dirty.
Phuket is the largest island of Thailand, located in the Andaman Sea of the Indian Ocean. It is connected to the mainland by three bridges. It is famous for its picturesque beaches with clean, white sand. More than 300 thousand people live here, as well as many foreigners. Prices for holidays in Phuket are higher than in other resorts.
Samui is the second-largest island of the kingdom, located in the Gulf of Thailand. It is inhabited by 40 thousand people. It is famous not only for its marvellous beaches, but also for the many beautiful islands that surround it. There is the Angthong Marine Park, which includes 42 islands. Samui is considered the second most popular resort in Thailand after Phuket.
Krabi is a popular resort on the shores of the Andaman Sea near Phuket. It consists of hundreds of small islands with picturesque rocks and beaches, rich vegetation and underwater world. There are relatively few tourists here, and prices are slightly lower than in Phuket.
Symbols of Thailand
The white elephant is a sacred animal for the Thais. To own white elephants can only the king.
Garuda – the king of all birds, the riding vehicle of the god Vishnu. The image of Garuda is on the coat of arms of the kingdom.
Orchid is a favourite of Thais and is the most popular flower in the country. There are even special parks where millions of orchids are grown.
Massage – a complex of therapeutic procedures, which is associated with the word Thai all over the world.
Khon mask theatre – the ancient art of dance, which has survived to this day in the form of a musical performance.
Boxing – Muay Thai is one of the world’s most popular martial arts, thanks largely to dozens of Hollywood films.
Siamese cat – a recognisable breed around the world with a dark face and pointy ears.
How to get to Thailand
You can get to Thailand by almost any form of transport, but most tourists arrive in the country via airports. There are 11 international airports in the kingdom, but most tourists arrive at the capital’s Suvarnabhumi. Airports in the most popular resorts are also in demand: Utapao in Pattaya, Phuket, Krabi, Samui. More than 11 million tourists visit the country every year.
Most of all the kingdom is visited by tourists from Asia: Malaysia, China, India, Singapore. Many of them use the services of railway and road transport. The railway network connects Thailand with Cambodia, Laos and Malaysia. Regular and tourist buses also go there.
Tourists from India and Bangladesh often arrive in the country by international sea ferry. There are sea ferries in the Gulf of Thailand, connecting Thailand with Indonesia, China and Vietnam.
How much money to take with you
Prices for holidays in Thailand can fluctuate quite widely depending on the season and resort. The cost of tours to the country starts from 1000 dollars for 7 days and can exceed 3-4 thousand.
In the country itself, the following costs await tourists:
- Food: will cost from 500 to 800 baht per day for those who like to save money, and can be an order of magnitude higher for connoisseurs of unusual cookery. For example, a dinner for two in a good restaurant can cost 1000 baht not including alcohol. For a week comes out 3500-8000 baht or about 200–250 dollars.
- Sightseeing: from 300 to 3000 baht per person depending on the tour. For example, a visit to neighbouring Cambodia and Ankor Wat temple will cost 6000 baht, but this is a different country. For a week for two people should be reserved 20000 baht or 700 dollars.
- Water parks, entertainment: depends on your desires. Someone can do with the sum of 100 dollars, and someone will decide to spend as much as 1000. Blago in Thailand is really full of entertainment, even very dubious.
- Souvenirs: from the kingdom usually bring local rum, coffee, medicines and cosmetics, products made of latex and silk. On average, tourists spend about $500 on souvenirs.
- Transport: in the cities you can travel by tuk-tuks, buses or rent a bike. Intercity travel is usually included in the cost of the tour, unless you decide to drive around the country. For a week, transport costs will be about $100 per person.
Thus, taking into account the reserve amount for unforeseen expenses, holiday in Thailand for two will cost from 1000 to 3000 thousand dollars for 7 days. And of course, the maximum amount of holiday can be much higher.
If you have already visited this country, please share your impressions in the comments. Please write a few words, what you liked most of all in the country, what moments remained in your memory forever, and what you would recommend to other tourists. We will be very grateful for your recommendations!