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Thailand Information

 

Thailand is a country in South-East Asia with coasts on the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. It borders Myanmar (Burma) to the north-west, Laos to the north-east, Cambodia to the south-east and Malaysia to the south.

Thailand is the most popular tourist destination in South-East Asia, and for a reason. You can find almost anything here: thick jungle as green as can be, crystal blue beaches that feel more like a warm bath than a swim in the ocean and food that can curl your nose hairs while tap dancing across your taste buds. Exotic, yet safe; cheap, yet equipped with every modern amenity you need, there is something for every interest and every price bracket, from beach front backpacker bungalows to some of the best luxury hotels in the world. And despite the heavy flow of tourism, Thailand retains its quintessential Thainess, with a culture and history all its own and a carefree people famed for their smiles and their fun-seeking sanuk lifestyle. Many travelers come to Thailand and extend their stay well beyond their original plans and others never find a reason to leave. Whatever your cup of tea is, they know how to make it in Thailand.

This is not to say that Thailand doesn't have its downsides, including the considerable growing pains of an economy where an agricultural laborer is lucky to earn 100 baht per day while the nouveau riche cruise past in their BMWs,Bangkok, the capital, is notorious for its traffic jams and rampant development has wrecked much of once-beautiful Pattaya and Phuket. In heavily touristed areas, some lowlifes have made scamming tourists into an art form.

Regions


Thailand's 76 provinces can be conveniently divided into five geographic and cultural regions.

    * North - Chiang Mai, hill tribes, and the Golden Triangle

    * Isaan - the great undeveloped north-east - get off the beaten track and discover backcountry Thailand and some magnificent Khmer ruins

    * Central - Bangkok, lowlands and historic Thailand

    * East - beaches and islands within easy reach of Bangkok, and Pattaya

    * South - hundreds of kilometers of coastline and countless islands on both the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, plus Phuket, Krabi, Ko Samui, Ko Tao and many more of Thailand's famous beach spots

Cities


    * Bangkok - Thailand's bustling, frenetic capital
    * Ayutthaya - a historical city, world heritage site and old capital of Thailand
    * Chiang Mai - the capital of the North and the heart of Lanna culture
    * Chiang Rai - gateway to the Golden Triangle
    * Hat Yai - largest city in the Southern region
    * Kanchanaburi - home of the Bridge over the River Kwai
    * Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat) - main city in the Isaan region
    * Pattaya - one of the main tourist destinations
    * Sukhothai - Thailand's first capital
    * Surat Thani - Main city of Ko Samui Ko Pha Ngan Ko Tao and Srivijaya Empire.

Other destinations


Islands & beaches:

    * Ko Chang - once quiet island undergoing major tourism development
    * Ko Kradan - Kradan Island Resort : http://www.kradanisland.com
    * Ko Lanta - sleepy island near Krabi
    * Ko Pha Ngan - site of the famous Full Moon Party with miles of quiet coastlineKoh Phan Ngan]
    * Ko Phi Phi - backpacker favorite where The Beach was filmed
    * Ko Samet - the nearest island beach escape from Bangkok
    * Ko Samui - comfortable, nature, and entertainment hippie mecca gone upmarket Koh Samui]
    * Ko Tao - where the world learns to scuba dive
    * Phuket - the original Thai paradise island
    * Rai Leh - stunning beach by the limestone cliffs of Krabi

National Parks:

    * Ang Thong National Marine Park - in Surat Thani Province
    * Khao Sok National Park - in Surat Thani Province
    * Khao Yai National Park - in Isaan
    * Ko Chang National Park - in Trat Province
    * Similan Islands - in Phang Nga province
    * Tarutao National Park - in Satun Province

Climate


Thailand is largely tropical, so it's hot and humid all year around with temperatures in the 28-35°C range (82-95°F), a degree of relief provided only in the mountains in the far north of Thailand. The careful observer will, however, note three seasons:

    * Cool: From November to the end of February, it doesn't rain much and temperatures are at their lowest, although you will barely notice the difference in the south and will only need to pack a sweater if hiking in the northern mountains, where temperatures can fall as low as 5°C. This is the most popular time to visit and, especially around Christmas and New Year's, finding flights and accommodation can be expensive and difficult.
 

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