The kingdom of Thailand
lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it a natural
gateway to Indochina, Myanmar and Southern China. Its
shape and geography divide into four natural regions
: the mountains and forests of the North; the vast rice
fields of the Central Plains; the semi-arid farm lands
of the Northeast plateau; and the tropical islands and
long coastline of the peninsula South.
The country comprises 77 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.
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with His Majesty
King Bhumibol Adulyadej, or King Rama IX, the ninth
king of the Chakri Dynasty, the present king. The King
has reigned for more than half a century, making him
the longest reigning Thai monarch. Thailand embraces
a rich diversity of cultures and traditions. With its
proud history, tropical climate and renowned hospitality,
the Kingdom is a never-ending source of fascination
and pleasure for international visitors.
1) Myanmar - west and north,
2) Lao P.D.R. - north and northeast,
3) Cambodia - southeast, and
4) Malaysia - south.
513,115 sq. km.
: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
- 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.
Thais are well-known for their friendliness and hospitality.
A large majority of over 64 million citizens of Thailand
are ethic Thai, along with strong communities whose
ethnic origins lie in China, India and elsewhere.
About 7 million people reside in the capital city
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
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.
Buddhism (95%), Muslim (4%), others (1%)
Thailand has had a constitutional monarchy since
1932. Parliament is composed of 2 houses, The House
of Representatives and the Senate. Both representatives
and senators are elected by the people. A prime minister
elected from among the representatives leads the government.
The country is divided into 77 provinces. The Bangkok
Metropolitan Administration comes under an elected
governor. Appointed provincial governors administer
the other 76 provinces (Changwat), which are divided
into districts (Amphoe), sub-districts (Tambon) and
villages (Mu Ban).
Head of State :
H.R.H. King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX of the Chakri
Prime Minister :
77 provinces, each subdivided into amphoe (district),
tambon (sub-district) and muban (village)
National Flag :
The red, white, and blue stripes symbolize the nation,
Buddhism, and the monarchy, respectively.
The time in Thailand is seven hours ahead of Greenwich
Mean Time (+7 hours GMT).
Thailand enjoys a tropical climate with three distinct
seasons-hot and dry from February to May (average
temperature 34 degrees Celsius and 75% humidity);
rainy with plenty of sunshine from June to October
(average day temperature 29 degrees Celsius and 87%
humidity); and cool from November to January (temperatures
range from 32 degrees Celsius to below 20 degrees
Celsius with a drop in humidity). Much lower temperatures
are experienced in the North and Northeast during
nighttime. The South has a tropical rainforest climate
with temperatures averaging 28 degrees Celsius almost
all year round.
The electric current is 220 volt AC (50 cycles)
throughout the country. Many different types of plugs
and sockets are in use. Travellers with electric shavers,
hair dryers, tape recorders and other appliances should
carry a plug adapter kit. The better hotels will make
available 110-volt transformers.
Tap water :
Tap water is clean but drinking from it directly
should be avoided. Bottled water is recommended.
Light, cool clothes are sensible and a jacket is
needed for formal meetings and dining in top restaurants.
Shorts (except knee length walking shorts), sleeveless
shirts, tank tops and other beach-style attire are
considered inappropriate dress when not actually at
the beach or in a resort area.
Weights & Measures :
The metric system is used throughout Thailand. Numerals
on vehicle speed ohmmeters, highway markers and speed
limits all indicate kilometers.
Business hours :
Most commercial concerns in Bangkok operate on a
five-day week, usually from 8 am to 5 pm. Many stores
open seven days a week from 10 am to 10 pm. Government
offices are generally open between 8.30 am and 4.30
pm with a noon to 1 pm lunch break, Monday to Friday
except on public holidays. Banks are open Mondays
to Fridays from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm except on public
Postal Services :
Thailand's mail service is reliable and efficient.
Major hotels provide basic postal services on their
premises. Provincial post offices are usually open
from 8.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
International Roaming Mobile Phone : A Subscriber
Identity Module Card (SIM Card) is now available for
Thai and foreign customers who are traveling around
for work. The SIM Card must be used in conjunction
with a Digital GSM mobile phone within the 900-MHz
range or a Digital PCN mobile phone within the 1800-MHz
Fax and E-Mail :
All of Thailand's leading hotels offer facsimile
(fax) and e-mail services. Numerous private businesses
offer such facilities, most often in conjunction with
Internet Services :
Thailand has been expanding its information service
for residents and tourists alike through the Internet
system. Services are now available at Thailand's leading
hotels and at the many " Cyber-Cafes " that
are cropping up in all major tourist destinations.
Telephone Services :
At present, all telephone numbers (for local calls
and long distance calls within the country) have nine
For Bangkok calls, 02 is added to the existing numbers
i.e. 0 2694 1222. For provincial calls, an area code
is added to the existing numbers. For example, area
code for Chiang Mai is 053 = 0 5324 8604; area code
for Phuket is 076 = 0 7621 1036.
For mobile phones, 01 or 09 is added to the existing
numbers. The new system has no effect on international
phone calls. The international dialing code for Thailand
is 66. When making international calls to Thailand,
add 66 and omit the leading 0. When making international
calls from Thailand, first dial 001+country code+area
If calling Laos or Malaysia, there is a special code
which is charged at a semi-domestic rate. When calling
Laos, first dial 007+856+area code+telephone number.
When calling Malaysia, first dial 09+06+area code+telephone
number Direct assistance: 1133 (local), 100 (international).
Emergency Telephone Numbers :
Central Emergency (Police, Ambulance, Fire) : 191
Highway Patrol: 1193
Crime Suppression: 195 or 0 2513 3844
Tourist Police (English, French and German spoken):
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Call Centre: 1672
Immigration Bureau: 0 2287 3101-10