Welcome to Thailand
Prathet Thai, meaning "land of the free"
Bangkok - Krung Thep, meaning " city of angels"
Area: 513,115 sq. km.
The country comprises 76 provinces that are further divided into districts, subdistricts 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 divided into 4 natural regions:
1. The mountainous North, with its profusion of multi-coloured orchids, fastinating native handicrafts and winter temperatures are sufficiently cool to permit cultivation of temperate fruits such as strawberries and peaches;
2. The high Northeast Plateau, which still jealously guards its many archaeological and anthropological mysteries;
3. 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;
4. The peninsular South where the unspoiled beaches and idyllic islands complement economically vital tin mining, rubber cultivation and fishing.
Since 1932 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 longestreigning thai monarch.
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 76 provinces. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration comes under an elected governor. Appointed provincial governors administer the other 75 provinces (Changwat), which are divided into districts (Amphoe), sub-districts (Tambon) and villages (Mu Ban).
Thais are wellknown for their friendliness and hospitality. A large majority of over 62 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 of Bangkok.
Thai (80%), Chinese (10%), Malay (3%), and the rest are minorities (Mons, Khmers, hilltribes) 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 unity.
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%)
The red, white, and blue stripes symbolize the nation, Buddhism, and the monarchy, respectively.
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