According to Ehotelat, the Kingdom of Thailand, in the Thai language Prathet Thai, is a state in Southeast Asia, located on the peninsulas of Indochina and Malacca, washed by the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand of the South China Sea. Thailand is bordered to the north and west by Burma (Myanmar), to the northeast by Laos, to the west by Cambodia and to the south by Malaysia. The area of Thailand is 513.12 thousand square kilometers, the population is about 57.6 million people.
Half of the country’s territory is occupied by mountains. In the north and west, there are mountains Khunthan, Tanentagondzhi up to 2576 m high (Inthanon city). In the east – the Korat plateau (100 – 200 m) with elevated western and southern outskirts. In the center of Thailand is the Menam Lowland (in the basin of the Menam Chao Phraya River, the main waterway of the country), in the southern part there are low-lying plains with insular mountains and ridges. Tropical forests occupy about 25% of the territory.
Geographically, Thailand can be divided into six main areas:
- Mountain North. Here, working elephants can be found in the forests, and the winter temperatures are sufficient for growing temperate fruits such as strawberries and peaches.
- The Great Northeast Plateau, bounded on the north by the Mekong River. Here, more than five and a half thousand years ago, one of the most ancient civilizations of the Bronze Age arose.
- The Central Plain, which is one of the most favorable natural conditions in the world for growing rice and fruits.
- The Eastern Coastal Plain, known for its beautiful sandy beaches, is home to world-famous seaside resorts.
- Western mountains and valleys. These places are convenient for the development of hydropower.
- The southern peninsula, striking in the beauty of the local nature. Tin mines are also located here, as well as enterprises for the processing of rubber and seafood.
Thailand is located in the tropical monsoon climate zone, and the year can be divided into three main periods: summer, which lasts from March to May; the rainy season (though with a lot of sunny days) lasting from June to September and the cool season from October to February.
The average air temperature in the plains and foothills is 22-29oC, on the Malay Peninsula 22-29oC, in the mountains in the north in winter up to 10-15oC. The average annual temperature in Bangkok is 28oC (83 Fahrenheit) with temperatures ranging from 30oC in April to 25oC in December. Precipitation is 1000-2000 mm, in the mountains up to 5000 mm/year.
For many centuries this country, known among its neighbors as Siam (before 1939 and in 1945-48), was the migratory, cultural and religious crossroads of Southeast Asia. Archaeological discoveries made in the north-east of the country in the vicinity of the village of Bang Shiang (Bang Chiang), confirmed that more than five and a half thousand years ago, the most ancient civilization of the Bronze Age flourished here. Subsequent waves of immigrants, including the Mons, Khmers, and the Thais themselves, gradually developed the territory of Thailand, slowly moving along the fertile river plains from South China.
In the 11th and 12th centuries, the territory of Thailand was part of the Khmer state with its capital in the city of Angkor (on the territory of modern Cambodia). At the beginning of the 13th century, the Thais founded a number of small cities in the north of the country – states with centers in Lanna (Lamia), Phayao (Phayao), Sukhothai (Su-khothai). In 1238, two Thai princes who ruled in these cities rebelled against the Khmer king and founded the first independent Thai state with its capital in the city of Sukhothai (which means “Dawn of Happiness” in translation). In subsequent years, the kingdom of Sukhothai greatly expanded its territory, especially in the Chao Phraya river basin. Theravadian (southern) Buddhism became the state religion. The first Thai alphabet was created and the first forms of Thai traditional art emerged in painting, sculpture,
By the early 14th century, the state of Sukhothai had weakened and turned into a vassal of the kingdom of Ayutthaya, a young dynamic state that arose in the 14th century in the southern part of the Chao Phraya River valley. Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya was the capital of the Thai state until 1767, when it was destroyed by the conquerors. During the 417 years of the existence of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya and the reign of 33 kings of the Ayutthaya dynasty, further development of Thai culture took place. During this period, the Thai lands were finally liberated from Khmer domination, contacts were established with European, Arab, Indian states, China and Japan. The destruction of Ayutthaya in 1767 by the Burmese conquerors was a heavy loss for the entire Thai people, comparable to the loss of London or Paris by England or France. However, the Thais did not lose heart,
In 1782, the first king of the new and now ruling Chakri dynasty (Chakri) – Rama I, founded a new capital on the banks of the Chao Phraya River in the village of Bangkok (Bangkok), which means “Wild Plum Village”. The two kings of the Chakri dynasty, Mongkug (Mong-kut) – Rama IV, who reigned from 1851 to 1868, and his son Chulalongkorn (Chulalongkom) – Rama V, who ruled from 1868 to 1910, preserved the independence of Thailand from European colonization with the help of skillful diplomacy and partial modernization of society.
Thai children. (317×327, 25.0 K) Throughout its long history, Thailand has easily accepted immigrants. Many of them were skilled writers, painters, sculptors, dancers, musicians and architects, and their skills helped to enrich the local culture. The people who inhabit today’s Thailand belong to various ethnic groups. About 3/4 of the population are the peoples of the Tai group, about 1/5 are Lao. These are mainly Thais proper, Mons, Khmers, Laotians, Chinese, Malays, Persians and Indians. And, as a result of this mixing, there are no Thais in Thailand with the typical Thai physique and face. Here you can meet tall and short, chubby, dark-skinned and fair-haired Thais. The life of about 80 percent of the population of Thailand is connected with agriculture. In rural areas, many ancient traditions and religious rites and holidays are preserved,
The official language is Thai (Siamese). For the average tourist, written and spoken Thai seems incomprehensible. However, do not despair. English is widely spoken. In Bangkok, for example, it is the main business language. English and other European languages are spoken in most hotels, shops and restaurants, in the main tourist centers. Bilingual road signs and signs in Thai and English have been installed throughout the country.
Today Thailand is a constitutional monarchy. Administrative division: 72 changwats (provinces). Provinces are divided into districts (ampures). The capital is Bangkok. The head of state is the king. Since 1932, the kings of Thailand, including the current reigning monarch, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Pama IX), exercise their legislative power through a 2-chamber National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives), executive power through the Cabinet Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister, and the judiciary – through the courts.
The official religion is Buddhism. More than 90 percent of Thais practice Theravadian (southern) Buddhism, which has a strong influence on the daily life of the population. Buddhism first appeared in Thailand in the 3rd century BC in the city of Nakhon Pathom (Na-khon Pathom), where the second largest Buddha monument in the world is located (the first is in India and was built by Emperor Aschoka in 267-227 BC era) and where the first missionaries were sent to promote the new religion. In addition to the traditional morality that provides social cohesion and offers spiritual support, Buddhism has promoted the active development of arts and crafts. Just like the medieval European cathedrals, the numerous multi-tiered temples of Thailand are creations of high artistic skill.
Another reason for the deep penetration of Buddhism into the lives of Thais is that there is hardly a Thai family in which a male family member has not studied the teachings of the Buddha in a monastery. According to ancient tradition, every male Buddhist over twenty years of age, at least once in his life, is ordained to the priesthood for a period of five days to three months. This usually happens during the rainy season, which lasts three months, when all the monks refrain from traveling and stay in their monasteries. Thai temples not only unite monastic communities, but also traditionally perform other tasks: they maintain village inns, inform the population about local news, create news and employment agencies, hospitals, schools, free pharmacies for the poor, community centers that play an important role in Thai society.
Thais traditionally support the idea of freedom of conscience, thanks to which Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs can freely practice their faith.
THE LOCAL TIME
Local time in Thailand differs from Greenwich Mean Time by 7 hours ahead (from Moscow time by 4 hours ahead).