About Thailand



Thailand's Climate

Thailand's climate is tropical, high both in temperature and humidity, and dominated by monsoons. April and May are the hottest months of the year, when even the locals are moved to complain about the heat. June sees the beginning of the South West Monsoon, and brings with it the rainy season, which continues intermittently until the end of October.

From November to the end of February the climate is much less trying with a cooling North East breeze and a reduction in the humidity level. This is also the main tourist season, and the best time to visit Thailand.

The north and north-east are generally cooler than Bangkok in winter, and hotter in summer. In the far north, around Mae Hong Son temperatures can occasionally drop as low as 2oC.

What to Wear

For the Western visitor there is no such thing as "cool". Just cooler than "hot" and "drier than humid", so light cotton clothing is the order of the day. Don't worry about bringing too much clothing with you, as almost everything can be purchased locally, at a fraction of the price you will pay at home. Do remember that the tropical sun can be quite fierce so a hat is useful, and don't forget to use a good sun screen.


New Years Day Jan 1st

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.

Phra BuddhaBahtFair

Held at the temple of the Holy Footprint at Saraburi, 236Km north of Bangkok, from 31st January to 1st February. Many activities including music and outdoor drama.

Bosang Umbrella Fair

Held in Chiang Mai during January, it features colourful paper umbrellas and other local handicrafts.

Chinese New Year

1st day of the first Chinese Lunar month, usually in February. Businesses close for 3-4 days giving families time to get together and worship at one of the Chinese Buddhist temples. There may also be public celebrations with acrobats, Lion Dance and firecrackers. The latter are believed to frighten away "foreign devils".

Flower Carnival

Held in Chiang Mai during February it features parades and colourful floats exhibiting the local flora.

Makha Bucha Day

End of February/beginning of March, depending on the moon. This commemorates the day when 1250 of Buddha's disciples gathered spontaneously to hear him preach. Buddhists visit Wats and make merit by such acts as releasing caged birds. In the evening the celebrations culminate in a candle lit procession around the main temple building.

Chakri Day 6th April

Commemorates the founding of the Chakri Dynasty, of which the present King Bhumipon is the 9th King. Portraits of the King and Queen are prominently displayed and decked with tributes of flowers.

Songkhran 13-15th April

This is the celebration of the old Thai New Year. Buddhists visit the temple for the ceremony of Rod Nam Dam Nua. They sprinkle water on the Buddha images, and on the hands of the monks and novices at the temple, as an offering to express confidence that the supply of water will be adequate to cover the dry season.

Songkhran is a time when the Thai family will try to be together, and many people will travel back to their home village.

This holiday has now become secularized, with exuberant merrymakers taking to the streets throwing water at each other, and you, by the cup full, the bucket full, or even with a hose. To add to the fun, talc is mixed with the water and may be daubed on your face. Take it all in good spirit, no one is exempt, not even the policemen. The cool water may even be a welcome relief as the festival coincides with the time when the sun is due overhead and the weather can be very hot.

Pattaya Festival

Held during the second week of April in Pattaya on Thailand's Eastern Seaboard. It features processions, floral displays, and other special events plus a spectacular fireworks display.

National Labour Day - 1st May

This holiday follows the lead of many western countries, whose workers now celebrate Labour Day.

Coronation Day - 5th May

This celebrates the coronation of the present King Bhumipon, Rama IX. Tributes are paid at shrines and portraits of His Majesty.

Royal Ploughing Ceremony

This is an ancient Brahman ceremony, held under Royal patronage in Bangkok during May, which celebrates the beginning of the rice planting season.

Fruit Fair

A festival is held in Rayong during May and another in Chantaburi during June. They feature locally grown fruit such as rambutan, durian, and jack fruit.

Visakha Bucha Day - Full moon of the 6th Lunar Month.

This celebrates the birth, death and enlightenment of Buddha, and is therefore the most sacred day on the Buddhist calendar.

Asalaha Bucha Day - Mid July

This is the day before the start of Buddhist Lent. Many young men, who are about to become monks, hold parties on this day.

Buddhist Lent - Mid July

This marks the start of Khao Pansa, period similar to the Christian Lent. During the period monks do not travel to other monasteries, their religious duties are strictly observed, and the novice monks receive their training in the teachings of Buddha.

Candle Festival

Held in Ubon Ratchatani on Khao Pansa Day. Candles carved from bees wax are paraded through the streets.

H.M. Queen's Birthday - 12th August

Tributes are paid to Her Majesty, and donations are made to the many charitable organisations that are patronised by the Queen.

Chulalongkorn Day - 23rd October

This commemorates the death of King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, who reigned between 1868 and 1910. He is renowned for his achievements in the fields of education, modernisation and progressive thinking.

Buffalo Races

Held in Chonburi (80Km east of Bangkok) during October.

Loy Krathong - Full Moon 12th Lunar month, November

The festival is believed to date back to the Sukhothai period, but its exact significance is uncertain. Krathongs, or lotus flowers made of natural materials, containing a candle, incense sticks, a coin or two and beautifully decorated with flowers are launched into the sea, or any convenient stretch of water, as a thanksgiving to the water spirits, and a cleansing of sins.

River Kwai Bridge Week

A week long series of historical exhibitions, light and sound shows, and vintage train rides held in Kanchanaburi during the last week of October.

Annual Elephant Roundup

Held during the third week of November at Surin in North East Thailand.

Trouping of the Colour - 3rd December

Their Majesties the King and Queen preside over this annual event which is held in the Royal Plaza, Bangkok.

H.M. King's Birthday - 5th December

People demonstrate their respect for King with flags, displays and other tributes.

Constitution Day - 10th December

This marks the day in 1932, when the monarchy became constitutional, at the very beginning of democracy on Thailand.

New Year's Eve - 31st December

The end of the old year when everybody celebrates. 




Thailand's History

AyuthayaIt is difficult to determine the type of culture which existed in Thailand before the Christian era, since no written records or chronologies exist but archeological excavations in the area north of Nakorn Ratchasima indicate that there were people living here over 4000 years ago.

However, by the 6th century AD thriving agricultural communities were established from as far north as Lamphun to Pattani in Southern Thailand. Theravada Buddhism was flourishing, and probably entered the region around the 2nd or 3rd centuries BC when Indian missionaries were said to have been sent to a land called "Suvarnabhumi". (An area comprising Burma, Central Thailand and Cambodia).

The Dvaravati period, a loose collection of city states, centred around the Nakhon Pathom area, and lasted until the 11th century when it quickly declined under the political domination of invading Khmers.

During the 12th century A.D. and is set on top of Phanom Rung Hill in Ta Pek in the Chaloem Phra Khiat District of Buri Ram province which is the location of a long extinct volcano. Phanom Rung is the original name and is mentioned in stone inscriptions excavated at the area. It is a religious site dedicated to the God Shiva, the supreme Hindu deity. It symbolises Mount Kailasa, the heavenly abode of Shiva.

During the 13th century several Thai principalities in the Mekong valley united and took Haripunchai from the Mons and the Sukhothai area from the Khmers. The Sukhothai kingdom declared its independence in 1238 and quickly began to expand. At its height the kingdom stretched from Nakhon Si Thammarat in the south to Vientiane in Laos, and Pegu in Burma. Sukhothai is considered by most Thai historians to be the first true Thai kingdom. King Rham Khamhaeng, the second king of the Sukhothai era, organised a system of writing which became the basis for modern Thai. He also codified the Thai form of Theravada Buddhism.

AyuthayaDuring the 14th and 15th centuries the Thai kings of Ayuthaya became very powerful and began to expand their kingdom eastward until they took Angkor from the Khmers in 1431. By the mid-16th century Ayuthaya and the independent kingdom of Chiang Mai had came under the control of the Burmese, but the Thais regained control of both areas by the end of the century.

Burma again invaded Ayuthaya in 1765 and fought a fierce battle with the Thais for two years before gaining control of the capital. During the process the Burmese destroyed large numbers of manuscripts, religious sculptures, and many temples.

The Burmese made no further inroads into Thailand and, in 1769, a new Thai capital was established at Thonburi, on the banks of the Chao Phraya river opposite Bangkok, by general Phya Taksin. The Thais quickly regained control of their country and began to further unite the provinces in the north and south of the country.

The Monarchy

In 1782 king Rama I was crowned. He moved the capital across the river to Bangkok, and ruled as the first king of the Chakri dynasty. In 1809 Rama II, son of Rama I, took the throne and ruled until 1824. King Rama III (1824-1851) began to develop trade with China and increase domestic agricultural production.

When king Mongkut (Rama IV) took the throne in 1851 he quickly established diplomatic relations with European nations, while at the same time astutely avoiding colonisation. He also began a period of trade reform and modernisation of the Thai education system. His son, King Chulalongkorn (Rama V 1868-1910), continued this tradition with the modernisation of the legal and administrative systems, and the construction of railways. During his 15 year reign from 1910 to 1925 king Vajiravudha (Rama VI) introduced compulsory education and other reforms.

In 1925 the brother of king Vajiravudha, king Prajadhipok (Rama VII 1925-1935) ascended the throne. Seven years later a group of Thai students living in Paris mounted a successful bloodless coup d'etat which led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy similar to that which existed in Britain. A key military leader in the coup, Phibul Songkhram, took power and maintained control until after the end or WW II. Rama VIII, Ananda Mahidol, became king in 1935 but was assassinated in rather mysterious circumstances in 1946. He was succeeded by his younger brother Bhumipol Aduldej who became Rama IX. His Majesty King Bhumipol Adujdej remains on the throne today, and he commands great respect in both Thailand and throughout the rest of the world.


Today Thailand has a democratic government led by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawarta. Many changes are expected over the next few years now the new constitution has be introduced.




Thai Langauge

Thai is one of the oldest languages in East and South-East Asia. It is a monosyllabic language which uses five tones (high, mid, low, rising, and falling tone) to alter the meaning of a single syllable. This makes it rather tricky to learn for most Westerners used to speaking non-tonal languages.

The Thai script, introduced by King Rham Khamhaeng in 1283, consists of 44 consonants and 48 vowels, and is of Sanskrit origin.

I you are interested in learning the language contact the Learn Thai Language Shop which is located in Australia.

Words and Phrases

When being polite the speaker ends his or her sentence with 'khrap' (for men) or 'kha' (for women). khrap and kha are also commonly used to answer 'yes' or to show agreement.

In the following examples tones are represented by colours (HighMidLowRisingFalling)

I Phom (men)
Deechan (women)
No?  -  Isn't it?
Mai chai
Mai  -  Chai mai
You Khun (for peers)
Thaan (for elders)
Good Dee
Thank you Khawp Khun (khrap/kha) Like Chawp
Hello Sawatdee (khrap/kha) Hello Paul Sawatdee (khrap/kha) Khun Paul
Understand Khao jai I understand Khao jai (khrap/kha)
Don't understand Mai khao jai I don't understand Mai khao jai (khrap/kha)
Excuse me
Kor tot I'm sorry
Excuse me please
Kor tot (khrap/kha)
Today Wan nee John is going today Khun John pai wan nee
Tomorrow Prung nee Go tomorrow Pai prung nee (khrap/kha)
Yesterday Meua waan Good Dee
How much Tao rai How much is this Nee tao rai (khrap/kha)
Where Tee nai Where is the bathroom Hong naam tee nai (khrap/kha)
When Meu arai Go to Pattaya when Pai Pattaya meuarai (khrap/kha)
This Nee Bathroom Hong naam
Go Pai I'm not going Mai pai (khrap/kha)



Religion in Thailand


About 95% of the Thai population are Buddhist, which is a religion based on the teachings of Buddha, "the enlightened".

Siddhartha Gautama, the Lord Buddha, was born in 623 B.C. in Lumbini Nepal, and subjected himself to many years of severe austerities to arrive at a vision of the world which is the basis of Buddhism. Gautama Buddha spoke of four noble truths :

  • "Existence is suffering" (The truth of suffering).
  • "Suffering is caused by desire" (The truth of the cause of suffering).
  • "Eliminate the cause of suffering and the suffering will cease to arise" (The truth of cessation of suffering).
  • "The eight fold path (or middle way) is the way to eliminate desire" (The truth of the path).

The main theme of Buddhist belief is that of karma, the evaluation of all life's events and, after ones death, the rebirth of that karma in a new existence. In this way everyone has it in his own hands to determine his next life, for better or worse. The Thai proverb "do good and receive good, do evil and receive evil" sums up this concept well.

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 vests. 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.




Food & Drink in Thailand

Thailand's cuisine is regarded by many people as one of the best in the world. And, if variety is the spice of life, you can literally have a different meal every day of the year.

Almost all Thai food is cooked with fresh ingredients, including vegetables, poultry, pork, fish and some beef. Lime juice, lemon grass and fresh coriander give the food its characteristic tang, while liberal helpings of fresh chillies are used to add some fire to many dishes. Other common seasonings include black pepper, ginger, tamarind, and coconut milk which is often added to curries.

Beers, wines and spirits are readily available but the imported items can be a little expensive. A big favourite among Thai people is rice whisky of which Mehkong is the leading brand. It has a sharp, sweet taste similar to rum. Several brands of beer are produced in Thailand, most popular is the local Singha beer.

Some of the more popular dishes are listed below.

Gaengmus-sa-man Rich spicy curry with beef or chicken.
Gaeng kari gai Mild yellow curry with chicken.
Gaeng khiaw waan Sweet green curry with coconut milk and shrimp, chicken, or beef.
Tom yam kung Spicy soup with lime juice, lemon grass, mushroom and shrimp.
Tom khaa gai Soup with galangal root, chicken feet and coconut milk.
Gaeng jeud Chilly free soup with vegetables and minced pork.
Khao phat Fried rice with shrimp, beef, pork or chicken.
Khao man gai Sliced boiled chicken over marinated rice.
Khao na phet Roast duck over rice.
Kuay-tiaw nam Soup with rice noodles, meat and vegetables.
Laat naa Rice noodles, meat and vegetables in a thick gravy.
Phad siyu Fried rice noodles with meat and vegetables
Sang kha-yaa maphraow
Coconut custard.
Kluay khaek Fried banana.
Mamuang khao niaw Ripe mango with sticky rice in coconut cream.




01475 โดย Dr.Sakchai phucharoen 2012-04-16 14:44:24 v : 14399

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