Thailand – Kingdom of Southeast Asia
The Kingdom of Thailand is shaped like an elephant’s head. Narrow southern Thailand is the trunk, and the north is the head and the ear. Its area is 514,000 square kilometers. Thailand shares borders with Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. The local name for Thailand means “land of the free”. It is the only country in Southeast Asia that was never ruled by European powers.
Thai people make up most of the population. The country also has small groups of Chinese, Malays, Khmer, and others.
Thai is the main language, but English is also widely spoken.
Between the AD 500s and 800s the Mon people set up small Buddhist kingdoms. By the 1100s the Khmer people of what is now Cambodia ruled parts of eastern Thailand. In the 1200s the Sukhothai kingdom and the Lan Na kingdom were founded. In the 1300s the kingdom of Ayutthaya took the place of Sukhothai. The kingdom came to be known as Siam, which conquered Lan Na in the 1700s. In 1939 the country became known as Thailand.
The highest peak, Mount Inthanon, is 2,585 meters high.
The Chao Phraya is the country’s major river.
Monsoons shape the weather in most of Thailand, bringing lots of rain from May to September. Once forests covered half of the country, but many of them have been cut down by loggers since 1970.
The royal palace plays an important part in preserving traditional Thai culture. Many ceremonies are held there.
Tourism is one of Thailand’s largest industries. The country is one of the world’s largest producers of the metals tungsten and tin. The main crops include rice, sugarcane, cassava, and corn.
Bangkok is the capital of the country. The Thai people call the city Krung Thep, which means “city of angels”. There are many other Buddhist temples, or wats, along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Wat Pho is the oldest and largest wat in Bangkok. It has the largest reclining Buddha and the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand. People call Wat Pho the first university in Thailand.
– The Thai alphabet is the second largest in the world. It is second only to Khmer.
– In the Thai language there is no word “famine”.
– About 6,000 years ago, rice as a crop appeared in Thailand. And this country is the largest exporter of rice in the world.
– His Majesty the King of Thailand is the only monarch in the world with American citizenship.
– It is the only country in the world, in which the King is the patron of all religions, but he is obliged by the Constitution to be a Buddhist.
– Thailand is called the “land of the white elephant”. These animals are a symbol of peace and prosperity.
– Thai massage is an ancient method of Thai medicine.
– New Year in Thailand is celebrated three times: the European (1 January), Chinese (celebration date depends on the lunar calendar) and Thai (14 April).
– Thailand is called “the land of smiles”.
– The smallest mammal in the world lives in Thailand. This is a bumblebee bat.
– This sunny country is considered to be the world’s largest producer of pineapples.
– The author of the modern national anthem of Thailand is a German composer. But prior to Thai Revolution in 1932 they used an anthem composed by Russian composer Peter Shchurovsky, who wrote it in 1888. At the moment, it is the personal anthem of the Royal Family.
– Muang Boran, located in the province of Samut Prakan, is the largest open-air museum in the world.