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Situated in Southeast Asia, Thailand is predominantly a Buddhist kingdom almost equidistant from India and China. Known by outsiders as Siam for centuries, Thailand has been something of a Southeast Asian migratory, cultural, and religious crossroads. Thailand offers over 1,000 miles of coastline of white sandy beaches, bays and coves, with many beach and island activities for people of all ages. Visitors can experience a revitalizing Thai massage in the heavenly land of spas or go shopping in one of Thailand’s upscale shopping malls, high street shops, bustling markets, and back street stalls. Thai food has become one of the most popular cuisines in the world, made up of Thailand’s four main regions; Northern, Northeastern, Central and Southern. Travel to Thailand and experience all that Thailand has to offer![/restab] [restab title=”Language”] Spoken and written, Thai language is largely incomprehensible to the casual visitor. However, English is widely understood especially in Bangkok. English and some European languages are spoken in most hotels, shops and restaurants in major tourist destinations. Road and street signs are in both Thai and English throughout the country. For basic phrases, visit Thai Language [/restab]
[restab title=”Religion”] Buddhism About 95% of the Thai population are Buddhist, which is a religion based on the teachings of Buddha, “the enlightened”. Buddhism is ever present in Thai life from the myriad Buddha images to the saffron-robed monks and many wat (temples) at which local people worship. As a visitor to Thailand you are welcome to visit the wat but please remember to dress respectfully, no shorts or sleeveless tops. Remove your shoes before entering any temple building, and never touch the head of a Buddha image. Other Religions About 4% of the population, mainly living in the south of Thailand, are Muslim. The remaining 1% are Confucians, Taoists, Christians, and Hindus. Thai people are very tolerant of other faiths and treat all religions with respect. [/restab]
No advance process visa, process upon arrival at the airport.
[restab title=”Public Holidays”]NEW YEARS EVE & NEW YEAR DAY Dec 31st & Jan 01st In Thailand there are three New Year’s days. The Western, on Jan 1st, the Chinese New Year on the first day of the First Lunar month, usually in February and the Thai New Year marked by the Songkhran festival in April. Thais usually exchange gifts on January 1st. CHINESE NEW YEAR – usually at the end of Jan or the beginning of Feb Bangkok and other provinces Celebrate at Bangkok’s Chinatown Chinese New Year Festival in the Yaowarat District, or at various other Chinese New Year celebrations across the nation: Central World in Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Ratchaburi, Suphan Buri, Pattaya, Phuket, Hat Yai, Nakhon Sawan, Chiang Mai, and Nakhon Ratchasima. SONGKRAN FESTIVAL – Apr 13th – 15th Nationwide Songkran Day has been celebrated as New Year’s Day in the Thai solar calendar since ancient times. Across the country, it is a time for laughter and entertainment for religious ceremonies and merit making for families and friends. And of course for splashing water, and lots of it! NATIONAL LABOUR DAY – May 01st This holiday follows the lead of many western countries, whose workers now celebrate Labour Day. CORONATION DAY – MAY 05th This celebrates the coronation of the present King Bhumipon, Rama IX. Tributes are paid at shrines and portraits of His Majesty. LOI KRATHONG FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS – Full Moon 12th Lunar month, November Nationwide As the full moon of the twelfth lunar month lights up the night sky throughout the Thai kingdom, hundreds of thousands of ornately-decorated krathongs, or traditional banana leaf floats, are set adrift in rivers and waterways in a spell-binding ritual of “Loi Krathong” – the “festival of lights.” Activities in Bangkok, Sukhothai, Tak, and Chiang Mai are highlights of the festival. The Annual Elephant Roundup is held during the third week of November in Surin, Northeast Thailand.[/restab]
[restab title=”Dress Code”]Most Thai people wear clothes similar to Westerners. Particularly in Bangkok and other big cities. In some rural areas you may find older people wearing what would be considered traditional dress. The formal Thai national costume, known in Thai as ชุดไทยพระราชนิยม (RTGS: chut Thai phra ratcha niyom, literally Thai dress of royal endorsement), includes several sets of clothing designed for use as national costume in formal occasions. Although described and intended for use as national costume, they are of relatively modern origins, having been conceived in the second half of the twentieth century.[/restab]
[restab title=”People”]Thailand is often called the “land of smiles”, and rightly so because you will see more smiling people here than anywhere else in the world. The country has a population of about 59 million, with some 6.7 million of these people living in the Bangkok area. Approximately 75% of the population are ethnic Thais, 14% are Chinese, and the remaining 11% are mostly Indian, Malay, Karen, Khmer, or Mon. The literacy rate is high at about 94% and the average life expectancy is 66 for men and 72 for women. The Thai Greeting, The Wai, is the traditional Thai greeting which is used instead of a handshake. It can also be used as a means of saying ‘sorry’, ‘thank you’, or to pay respect. A Thai person will often Wai as they approach a temple, Buddha image, or other items of religious significance.[/restab] [/restabs]
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Thai food has become one of the world’s favorite cuisines. Offering a variety of flavors and tastes, with enthusiastic use of herbs, spices, and market-fresh ingredients, Thai food is famed for its balance and harmony. An exciting combination of five fundamental tastes hot, sweet, sour, salty, and bitter brings contrasting yet complementing flavors and textures to each dish. Coconut milk, seafood, and fruit also play a key part in Thai cuisine. Thailand has a variety of Thai cooking classes and schools, and finding them in Bangkok or the major provinces are easy. Thai food is better described according to the country’s four main regions: Northern, Northeastern, Central and Southern. With cultural and ethnic infusions over centuries, regional cuisines have absorbed Eastern and Western influences while maintaining their own unique characteristics.
Thailand enjoys one of the most pleasurable tropical climates in the world with three distinct seasons: Summer (March to May): hot and dry weather throughout Thailand, with temperatures averaging 82 – 91 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainy (May to September): perhaps the driest monsoon period of any country in Southeast Asia, with the weather plenty of sunshine and temperatures averaging 80 – 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool (November to February): The weather is mild and very sunny with temperatures averaging 75 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The average annual temperature in Thailand is 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Thai unit of currency is the baht, divided into 100 satangs. Notes are in denominations of 1,000 (grey), 500 (purple), 100 (red), 50 (blue), and 20 (green). There are also coins of 25 satang, 50 satang, 1 baht, 2 baht, 5 baht and 10 baht. Major currency bills and traveler’s checks are cashed easily at hotels, tourist shops, all provincial banks, shopping centers and moneychangers. Traveler’s checks are best changed in banks (you will need your passport). Rates of exchange at banks or authorized moneychangers are better than those at hotels and department stores. Any amount of foreign currency may be brought into the country. Visitors may take foreign currency out of Thailand but no more than the amount stated in the customs declaration made on arrival. Travelers leaving Thailand may take out no more than 50,000 baht per person in Thai currency.
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