Capital | Bangkok
Population | 66,720,153 (July 2011 est.)
Area | 514,000 SQ KM
Official Language | Thai
Holidays | Birthday of King PHUMIPHON (BHUMIBOL), 5 December (1927)
Currency | Baht (THB)
Time Zone | UTC +7
Best Time to Visit | Thailand is a year-round destination, but the rainy season falls between June and August.
Connecting with the Culture | Visiting Thailand’s former capital, Ayuthaya, which lives up to its World Heritage Listed status. Chilling out in delightful Chiang Mai before trekking in the Golden Triangle region. Dancing under the full moon to thumping electronic beats on Ko Pha-Ngan. Escaping to Thaleh Ban National Park, satisfying any naturalist. Exploring all things exotic in Thailand’s turquoise waters. Shopping: anywhere, anytime.
Read | Chart Kobjitti’s Pan Ma Ba (Mad Dog & Co)- an account of Thailand’s farang (foreigner) scene. Stir-fry up a torm with David Thompson’s sumptuous Thai Food.
Listen | to Carabao’s Made in Thailand, a pleng pue cheevit (song for life) classic.
Watch | the sweet essence of Thai culture in Fan Chan (My Girl).
Eat | tôm yam kûng (spicy prawn and lemon-grass soup) or taste sensational mîang kham (an appetizer of coconut, ginger, lime, peanuts and dried shrimp).
Drink | sugar cane juice or rice whisky.
In a Word | Mai pen rai (It’s all right/nevermind)
Characteristics | Technicolor Thai silk; Bangkok pollution; nomadic hair-braiders; picture-perfect beaches; noisy túk túks; Singha beer; heartwarming hospitality; pampering spas and silky pools.
Surprises | In Thai, the world for ‘meal’, méu, is a close homonym with the world for ‘hand’, and Thais extend a hand towards a bowl of noodles or a banana leaf-wrapped snack with amazing frequency; every Thai house, office building or rice field has to have a spirit house to go with it- a place for phrá phum (earth spirits) native to this site to live in.
NEWS ABOUT THAILAND:
Thailand: Sa-Wat-Di Pi Mai
(HN, 4/11/12) - Thailand’s Songkran 2012 festival kicked off today at Wat Pho, & is celebrated all over the country as the traditional New Year’s Day from April 13 to 15. A Theravada Buddhist festival, the Songkran (สงกรานต์) is embraced by young & old, who participate in different ways. Children & girls splash water at each other, people release birds & fish, pray to their ancestors, bathe Buddha statues, pour water on the hands of the elderly - all for the good beginning of a new year. Celebrated for centuries, the origins of the festival are unsure, although it's believed to have been adapted after an Indian festival. The most elaborate celebrations are held in Chiang Mai, where the festival was officially opened today, with a warm “สวัสดีปีใหม่” (sa-wat-di pi mai = Happy New Year). Songkran is also the deadliest road accident time of year & the Disaster Prevention & Mitigation Department reported Friday that already a total of 88 people were killed & 890 others injured in 824 road accidents Thursday in what was the 2nd day of the "7 dangerous days" of the Songkran holidays. (Read more at the Bangkok Post)