Thailand lays in the Southeast of Asia. Its natural geography subdivides it into four portions consisting of mountains and forests in the north, rice fields in the central plains, arid farmland in the northeast, and the tropical beaches and islands of the southern peninsula. It is divided into seventy-six provinces which are further divided into districts, sub-districts and villages which are ruled by the king as Thailand is a monarchy. It is ruled by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej; who is the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty. He has reigned for over half a century, making him the longest reigning Thai monarch.
There are approximately sixty-two million citizens of Thailand, with approximately seven million living in the capital city, Bangkok. The national language is Thai and often hard to understand to outsiders. English is a popular second language commercially and spoken in many shops, hotels, and restaurants with Thai/English street signs being seen nationwide. Other European languages are often spoken as well, which makes it easy to communicate with the locals. The local culture is influenced by the surrounding countries which have helped make up the traditions of Thai and provide ethnic diversity.
There are many internationally recognized placed in Thailand, such as the bridge over the River Kwai, built by Allied prisoners during WWII. There is also Buddha Mountain, a cliff face inlaid with gold into a carving of Buddha, which is the largest image of Buddha in the world. The islands are the location of novels as well as filming locations for movies. There is also the Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge which stretches into Laos. Thailand is surrounded by Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Cambodia.
Well recognized but not as well known by name are the dozens of pristine beaches, islands and other sparkling, exotic locales. Phuket is said to have one of the best places to watch sunsets at Phromthep Cape and is Thailand’s largest island. Pattaya is one of the most famous beach destinations in Thailand with a rich diversity and active night life. Phi Phi was the location of the movie “The Beach” and is included in a group of islands that make up the province of Krabi.
While visiting the beautiful locations in Thailand you will undoubtedly be welcomed by the people who are gracious hosts, as well as excellent dining which takes advantage of the ability to raise produce year round on much of Thailand. Fresh ingredients are always available in most areas and the local cuisine benefits from such abundance. Shopping is also wonderful in many of the cities, with a busy night life as well. As much of the country is coastline with beautiful tropical beaches there is no end of swimming, boating, snorkeling and even scuba diving that can be done to enjoy the waterscapes. Hiking, backpacking, and exploring can be done throughout the many wildlife preserves throughout the forest regions as well as around the many archeological ruins. There is no lack of things to do in Thailand as there can be with many tourist locations.