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Welcome to Thailand
   
The kingdom of Thailand lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it a natural gateway to Indochina, Myanmar and Southern China.
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
Neighboring countries:
1) Myanmar - west and north,
2) Lao P.D.R. - north and northeast,
3) Cambodia - southeast and
4) Malaysia - south.

Area: 513,115 sq. km.


Topography: Thailand is divided into 4 natural regions:

The mountainous North, with its profusion of multi-coloured orchids, fascinating native handicrafts and winter temperatures are sufficiently cool to permit cultivation of temperate fruits such as strawberries and peaches;
The high Northeast Plateau, which still jealously guards its many archaeological and anthropological mysteries;

The Central Plain, one of the world's most fertile rice and fruit-growing areas with colourful traditional culture and way of life as well as the sandy beaches of the East Coast and vibrant cosmopolitan Bangkok;

The peninsular South where the unspoiled beaches and idyllic islands complement economically vital tin mining, rubber cultivation and fishing.

People: Thai (80%), Chinese (10%), Malay (3%), and the rest are minorities (Mons, Khmers, hill tribes) Ethnic Thais form the majority, though the area has historically been a migratory crossroads, and has thus produced a degree of ethnic diversity. Integration is such, however, that culturally and socially there is enormous unity.

Language: 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.


 
REGIONS OF THAILAND
 
CENTRAL & EAST COAST
The Central region has a dramatic history, and its heritage of ancient temples, battlefields and ruins and two capitals, Ayutthaya and Bangkok, are a continuing fascination for visitors. The east and west sea coasts at the regionís southern end also draw huge numbers of visitors every year. Bangkok residents spend long weekends enjoying the relaxing seaside atmosphere, while holiday-makers from around the world to discover the delights of the tropical beach life.

On the eastern side, 400 kilometres of coastline extend from Chon Buri to Rayong with some of the finest beaches in Asia. Pattaya, with an enormous range of resorts, hotels and guesthouses, is its centre. If you are seeking a more relaxing experience, travel further down the coast to Rayong or Ko Samet, and the lovely islands of Ko Chang National Park near the Cambodian border.

On the west coast, the resorts of Cha-am and Hua Hin attract international travellers who prefer their more sophisticated yet laid-back atmosphere.

Far from the sea in the northwest of the region is Kanchanaburi, whose forested mountains, waterfalls and caves, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries on the border with Myanmar provide some of Thailandís most enthralling scenery.

 
THE NORTH
The North is the birthplace of the earliest Thai civilisation and has many sites of archaeological and cultural interest. Northern people are famous for their courtesy and hospitality, and the region is also noted for its variety of cultural traditions. Many tourists from the surrounding provinces converge on Chiang Mai for the annual Songkran Festival, and to Sukhothai for Loi Krathong.
Most overseas visitors make for Chiang Mai, the northern capital, as a base for visiting ethnic tribes, soft adventure activities and shopping. Further north still, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son are centres for rafting, trekking and tours of tribal villages. To the south, the Historical Park at Sukhothai is an essential destination for all those wishing to discover more about the history and culture of Thailand.

 
THE NORTHEAST

It is known to be an arid region with soil of poor quality, but for tourism, Isan is one of the countryís most intriguing destinations with many Stone Age and Bronze Age dwellings and artifacts, and several significant temples that are a legacy of the great Khmer empire.
The sandstone shrines are popular tourist attractions, particularly the superbly restored sites at the historical parks of Phimai in Nakhon Ratchasima and Phanom Rung in Buri Ram. The great temple complex at Khao Phra Viharn in Si Sa Ket on the border with Cambodian is now accessible to visitors after a long period of isolation.

The Bronze Age settlements at Ban Chiang in the province of Udon Thani provide fascinating evidence of the work of the local potters some 5,000 years ago. The red and white pottery with characteristic ďfingerprintĒ designs are thought to be the first earthenware vessels known to man.

Two of Thailandís best-loved national parks, Khao Yai, Phu Kradung and Phu Rua in Loei, are in Isan. Other major attractions include the villages in Khorat and Khon Kaen where the beautiful local silk is woven by hand.

Isan folk have a distinctive character and dialect and a vigorous culture, with their old traditions still reflected in the many festivals unique to the region.
 
THE SOUTH

This region extends southward along a narrow peninsula lying between the Andaman Sea its west side and the South China Sea on the east. It is a rich land in terms of the abundance of its natural resources, the fertility of its soil, the diversity of its people and its commercial viability.
The east coast on the Gulf of Thailand always seems to be more relaxed, with long, wide bays and calm seas; the Andaman Sea coast tends to be more rugged and exhilarating, with its strange limestone rock formations and cliffs.

The coastline attracts most tourists, though Samui island in the Gulf of Thailand is growing in popularity as a laid-back holiday spot with first class diving opportunities nearby on Tao and Pha-ngan islands.

The Andaman Sea coast offers more sophisticated choices in the island province of Phuket, Thailandís premier holiday resort. However, the fascinating rock formations and offshore islands at Phang-nga, Krabi and Trang are extremely popular for the diving and sailing opportunities they offer.



Ref.
http://www.tourismthailand.org