Cambodia

Cambodia is a highly civilize nation, a nation of long history and rich culture.

Thailand

Welcome to Thailand. .

Myanmar

Welcome to Myanmar...

Laos

Welcome to Laos.

Vietnam

Welcome to Vietnam.


How to Act as Foreigner

    Thailand is Buddhist country where Buddha images are held sacred.
    Sacrilegious Acts are punishable by imprisonment even if committed by foreign visitors.
    Thai people hold their King and Queen and the Royal Family in great reverence, and so won’t tolerate foreigners talking about them in disrespect.
    Generally Thai women are conservative. So don’t touch them without their consent.
    Dress properly when entering a Buddhist temple. Mini skirts and shorts are not allowed. Take your shoes off before going inside the hall of worship. Ladies must not on any account touch a Buddhist monk, give things direct to him or receive things direct from him.
    Intimacies between man and woman should not be shown in public. Sunbathing in the nude is prohibited.
    Call Thais their first names: use the title “Khun” for adults.
    Thai people smile to express gladness and happiness, to thank for small services, to return the wai (a way of greeting) of children and inferior persons, and event to excuse small inconveniences.
    Don’t touch a person’s head, nor ruffle his hair. The head is the noblest part of the body. A sincere apology should be offered immediately if you touch someone’s head unintentionally.
    Avoid placing your feet on the table while sitting. Never use your foot to point things out or to touch any part of the body of anyone, which is considered rude.
    Entering a Thai house, you’re expected to remove your shoes.

 

Currency

    Foreign visitors may freely bring in foreign currencies or other types of foreign exchange. Cheque or drafts brought in must be sold to a bank within 15 days of arrival. Upon leaving Thailand, they may freely take out all foreign exchange they have brought in. For residents, unlimited amounts of foreign notes and coins may be taken out for travelling expenses. The amount of draft or Cheque is subject to the approval of the issuing bank.
    Foreign visitors may bring in and unlimited amount for Thai currency. For travelers leaving Thailand, both Thais and foreign, the maximum amount permitted to take out without prior authorization is 50,000 Baht per person or, of they are going to one of Thailand’s neighboring countries, 500,000 Baht per person.
    The basic monetary unit in Thailand is the Baht. A Baht is divided into 100 satang. The following coins and notes are currently in use:

Coins: 25 and 50 satang; 1, 5 and 10 Baht.

Bank notes: 10(brown), 20(green), 50(blue), 100(red), 500(purple) and 1,000(grey) Baht.

    Major foreign currencies can be exchanged for Thai Baht with banks and authorized moneychangers. Major credit cards are also widely accepted in tourist centers.

 

Customs Regulation

    Exports of Buddha images (except small ones carried on person), antiques and genuine works of art require export license from the Fine Arts Department. The shop you deal with can provide such service for you.
    Foreign tourists are allowed to take out gold ornaments free. But import and export of gold other than jewelry are subject to licensing; by the Ministry of Finance.
    It is prohibited by law to bring any of the following items into Thailand:

     
        Narcotics (e.g., marijuana, hemp, opium, cocaine, morphine, heroin)
        Obscene literature or pictures
        Firearms or ammunition – unless a permit has been obtained from the Police Department or the local Registration office.
        Piranha and certain species of fruits, vegetables and plants. (Contact the Agricultural Regulatory Division, Bangkhen, and Bangkok for details.)

    One still camera with 5 rolls of unused film, one movie camera with 3 rolls of unused film and used household effects may be brought in free of duty.

 

Dining

    Most Thai food is already cut into small pieces before serving or made soft enough to be cut with spoon or fork;’ thus, a knife is unnecessary.
    Saltshakers are rarely found on Thai dinner tables, so add a little caramel-color fish-sauce (called nam-pla in Thai) instead, if you find your food not salty enough.
    English is spoken in large restaurants in tourist provinces; and most establishments have menus in Thai and English, except street-side food stalls and some small restaurant.
    Beckon waiters with a wave of a hand. Don’t clap, snap fingers or hiss.
    Normally, a tip of 10-20 Baht or 5-10% of the bill should be left when dining in a middle or high-class restaurant.

 

Shopping

    Bargaining is an art long practiced in Asian countries including Thailand. So feel free to ask for a proper discount when shopping in places where prices are not marked.
    Be careful in dealing with sidewalk vendors who may not offer genuine goods at fair prices.
    Receipts should be obtained for the goods you buy. For jewelry you must get a certificate for guarantee as well.
    Some shops can offer a money-back guarantee but you should clearly determine all conditions with the shopkeeper beforehand.

 

Thai Visa

    Nationals from 56 countries can now stay in Thailand for up to 30 days with our an entry visa, according to a new regulation adopted by the Immigration Division in early February 1995. For visitors from 76 others countries, visas valid for 15 days may be obtained on arrival at any of the four airports at Don Muang (Bangkok), Chiang Mai, Phuket and Hat Yai.
    Categories of visas in Thailand are transiting, Visitor Transit, Tourist, Non-Quota immigrant.
    Holders of Transit, Visitor Transit and Tourist visas are not allowed to work in Thailand.
    A tourist who wants to overstay his visa must apply to the Immigration Division of the Police Department with the following:

    The duplicate copy of his or her passport
    One photograph
    The medical certificate (only in case of being sick)

 

Miscellany

    Clothing- Thin cotton is the best. A jacket or pullover may be necessary in the cool season, especially when you are in mountainous areas in the North or Northeast.
    Electricity – 220 v 50 cycles throughout the country.
    Measurement of area – Thailand has its own system of area measurement. The basic units are square wa (=4sq.m.) and rai (=400sq.wa or 1,600 sq.m. or 0.16 hectare).

 

DON’T take any food, drinks, or candies offered by a stranger or a taxi driver.

DON’T accept any complimentary tour offered by a stranger. Reliable tourist information and safe tours should be provided by a tour agency that has a travel license.


VISA CONDITION AND FEES
Travelers from 39 countries do not require a visa when entering Thailand for tourism purposes if their stay in the Kingdom does not exceed 30 days. The applicant however must posses instrument of means of living expenses 10,000 Baht per person and 20,000 Baht per family accordingly. For the list of those 39 countries please visit www.mfa.go.th/web/12.php

 


CURRENCY
The Thai unit of currency is the Baht. Major currency bills and travelers cheques are cashed easily at hotels, tourist shops, all provincial banks, shopping centers and money changers. Travelers cheques are best changed in banks (you will need your passport). Rates of exchange at banks or authorized money changes are better than those at hotels and department stores.

 


CLIMATE
Thailand enjoys a tropical climate with three distinct seasons hot and dry from February to May (average temperature 34°C); rainy with plenty of sunshine from June to October 9 average day temperature 29°C ); and cool from November to January (temperatures range from 32°C to below 20°C with a drop in humidity). Much lower temperatures are experienced in the North and Northeast during night time. The South has a tropical rainforest climate with temperatures averaging 28°C almost all year round.

 


BUSINESS HOUR (GMT+7)
Most businesses in Bangkok operate on a five-day week, usually from 8 am to 5 pm. Many stores open seven days a week, from 10 am to 10 pm with a noon to 1 pm lunch break, Monday to Friday except on public holidays. Banks are open Mondays to Fridays from 9.30 am to 3.360 pm except on public holidays.

 


AIRPORT TAX
Airport departures taxes for international departure cost 500 baht/person at Donmuang International Airport, while departure tax for domestic flight has already been added to your ticket fare.

 


HOW TO GET TO THIALAND
With Bangkok serving as the international travel of South East Asia, the capital serves ast the landing port for numerous international airlines, most with direct flights from their destinations. Some chartered and regional flights may land at one of the other international airports within Thailand, consisting of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Phuket, and Ubon Ratchatani. The country’s national airline is Thai Airways. Local carriers are: Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways, PB Air, Orient Thai and Air Asia. ( Note : Angel Air and Air Andamam are no longer service )

 


COMMUNICATION
Thailand’s mail service is reliable and efficient. Major hotels provide basic postal services on their premises. All of Thailand’s leading hotels offer facsimile (fax) and e-mail services. Numerous private businesses offer such facilities as well. Internet services are available at Thailand’s leading hotels and at the many “cyber-cafes” that are cropping up in all major tourist destinations. A Subscriber Identity Module Card (SIM Card) is now available for Thai and Foreign customers. The SIM Card must be used in conjunction with a Digital GSM mobile phone within the 900-MHz range or a Digital PCN mobile phone within the 1800-MHz range.


Dating back to the Neolithic civilization situated at the modern-day UNESCO World Heritage Site in Ban Chiang, the history of Thailand is long, proud, and fairly well documented.  Over the early centuries of the Common Era, tribes of Mon, Khmer, and Tai peoples established realms within the borders of modern Thailand; the Mon speaking Buddhist civilization of Dvaravati in the first millennium giving way to the Khmer empire of Angkor by the turn of the second millennium.  

 

However, the history of Thailand as we know it began when the kingdoms of Lan Na (Chiang Rai/Chiang Mai) and Sukhothai, the first truly independent Thai Kingdoms, established highly developed societies in the North and Central regions of Thailand in the 13th and 14th centuries. The Kingdom of Ayutthaya, which was heavily influenced by the Khmer’s of Angkor, eventually conquered neighboring Sukhothai and dominated the region for the next several hundred years of Thai history.  Unfortunately, first Chaing Mai and then Ayutthaya were overrun by Burmese invaders, who occupied the Lan Na capital for several centuries and sacked Ayutthaya, forcing the central Thai kingdom to relocate farther south, establishing a new capital in Thon Buri near Bangkok.  After the short lived Thon Buri Period (1767-1772), the capital was moved across the Chao Phraya River, and the first of the current line of Kings, Rama I of the Chakri Dynasty, established the modern capital of Bangkok to commence the Ratanakosin Period of Thai history.  The adroit diplomatic leadership of Kings Mongkut (Rama IV, 1851-1868) and Chulalongkorn (Rama V, 1868-1910) were responsible for maintaining a remarkable 700 year Thai history during which the kingdom was never officially colonized by foreign powers; a turbulent 20th century witnessed the transition to a system of constitutional monarchy, currently overseen by Head of State, King Bumibol Adulyadej (1946- present), is King Rama IX of the Chakri Dynasty and a tenuous but functional democracy has existed under the regency of this much beloved king.

 

Earliest History

Fossilized remains of plants and animals have been discovered in many areas of Thailand, particularly in the Korat Plateau in northeastern Thailand. Most of the animal fossils found are of dinosaurs, which date primarily to the Jurassic era though some are from the late-Triassic, the oldest such evidence of dinosaurs in Southeast Asia.

 

The dinosaur bones encased in sandstone in the Phu Wiang hills of Khon Kaen province included Phuwiangosaurus sirindhornae, a gigantic plant-eating dinosaur that had a long neck and tail and a small head.

 

Four other species of dinosaur unearthed in Phu Wiang include Siamotyrannus isanensis, a smaller version of Tyrannosaurus rex, Siamosauraus suteethorni, a crocodile-like creature, Compsognathus, the world’s smallest dinosaur, and Ornithomimosaur, an ostrich-like dinosaur.

 

In nearby Chaiyaphum province two other new dinosaur species were discovered: Psittacosaurus sattayaraki, a parrot-billed dinosaur, and Isanosaurus attavipachi, which is similar to Phuwiangosaurus.

 

Homo erectus fossils have also been discovered in Thailand. Known as the Lampang man for its discovery in Lampang province, the remains have been dated to roughly 1,000,000 - 500,000 years ago in the Pleistocene Era.The first evidence of humans living in modern-day Thailand was discovered at Ban Chiang, near Udon Thani in northeastern Thailand; grave sites and artifacts including bronze tools and pottery provide evidence of a society that is thought to have had knowledge of rice cultivation and occupied the area continuously from 2100 to 200 BCE, spanning the Neolithic to the Iron Age.

 

Pre-Thai Kingdoms

Over the centuries leading up to the era of recorded history, Thailand was first peopled by Mon and Khmer groups and later by the Tai, an ethnic group that migrated from southern China to Vietnam and gradually into Laos and northern Thailand.

 

In the first millennium of the Common Era, Tai people had dispersed across Yunan, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar fragmenting into various linguistic sub sects.Relatively minor players in the region throughout this period, the Tai inhabited the northernmost reaches of Southeast Asia, sandwiched between the kingdoms of Nan Zhao, Pyu, and Angkor.

 

Beginning in around the 2nd century CE, the Srivijaya Empire of Sumatra expanded its reach up the Malaysian Peninsula into southern Thailand.Nakhon Si Thammarat and Chiaya, Surat Thani were founded during this period to facilitate trade across the Isthmus of Kra.

 

Around the 6th to the 9th centuries, the fertile central plains were inhabited by a Mon civilization known as Dvaravati.Distinct from its neighboring kingdoms of Chenla and Angkor, Dvaravati remains a mysterious civilization that established cities surrounded by moats and earthen walls, Lopburi serving as an important religious center and Nakhon Pathom near Bangkok possibly its ‘capital’.While much is unknown about this realm, the Dvaravati had well established internal and external trading routes that were important to the development of Thailand and left a wealth of Buddhist artwork that testifies to the great influence Indian culture and religion had on the region.

 

From the 9th to the 11th centuries the Khmers of Angkor expanded their kingdom to include most of modern-day Thailand, with important provincial cities established at Phimai, Lopburi and even Nakhon Si Thammarat. Over several centuries many facets of the Khmer culture were imposed on/absorbed by the native population, which was becoming increasingly Tai as those populations migrated south.The temples at Phanom Rung, Phimai, and Lopburi are enduring testaments to this period of Thai history.

 

Throughout the reign of Angkor, Lopburi often asserted its independence and was clearly an important center for burgeoning Syam culture.The Chinese, who referred to emissaries from the region as representing “Hsien” or Siam (as it was apparently pronounced) documented a request from Lopburi requesting independence from Angkor as early as 1001.

 

In northern Thailand, Buddhist scholars from Lopburi founded a city-state known as Haripunjaya in Lamphun, northern Thailand around the 9th century (a Mon enclave that remained independent until the 13th century).Elsewhere in the north, the Tai people were fanning out and establishing their own city states, notably at Chiang Saen, where one of the first powerful Thai kingdoms, Lan Na, was originally established in the 12th century.The establishment of Lan Na, Sukhothai, and Phayao, three allied kingdoms founded by contemporary leaders, represents the beginning of the Thai history as we know it.

 

Sukhothai

Thais began to emerge as a dominant force in the region in the13th century, gradually asserting independence from existing Khmer and Mon kingdoms.  Founded by Khun Pha Muang and Khun Bang Klang Thao in 1238, the Kingdom was named by its rulers "the dawn of happiness".  The Sukhothai Period is often considered the golden era of Thai history, an ideal Thai state in a land of plenty governed by paternal and benevolent kings, the most famous of whom was King Ramkamhaeng the Great (c.1279-98), who greatly expanded the Kingdom’s borders.

 

In addition to developing some of the most beautiful Thai art, the Sukhothai Kingdom is credited with developing the modern Thai alphabet.  However, following the death of King Ramkamhaeng, the mightier state of Ayutthaya gradually exerted its influence over Sukhothai.

 

Following the death of King Ramkhamhaeng, the kingdom of Sukhothai rapidly declined and Lan Na expanded its influence over its neighboring kingdoms, many of which were former suzerains of Sukhothai.   In the middle of the 15th Century Lan Na arts and literature reached a pinnacle during the King Tilokoraj period.   However, after the king's death, Lan Na weakened due to internal conflicts and Chiang Mai fell under Burmese control around 1564; while the Burmese occupied the northern region for a few centuries, they did little development, using Chiang Mai as a military base from which to battle the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, a mighty kingdom in the central plains that was gradually exerting its influence from the mid 14 th century onwards.

 

Ayutthaya

The Ayutthaya kings adopted Khmer cultural influences from the very beginning. No longer the paternal and accessible rulers that the kings of Sukhothai had been, Ayutthaya's sovereigns were absolute monarchs and assumed the title devaraja (god-king). The early part of this period saw Ayutthaya extend its sovereignty over neighboring Thai principalities and come into conflict with its neighbors.  During the 17th century, Siam started diplomatic and commercial relations with western countries. In 1767, after repeated attempts, the Burmese invaded and successfully captured Ayutthaya.

 

Despite their overwhelming victory, the Burmese did not retain control of Siam for long. A young general named Phya Taksin and his followers broke through the Burmese lines and escaped to Chantaburi. Seven months after the fall of Ayutthaya, he and his forces sailed back up the Chao Phraya River to Ayutthaya and expelled the Burmese occupation garrison, though tragically the capital had been looted and nearly razed.

 

Thonburi

General Taksin, as he is popularly known, decided to transfer the capital from Ayutthaya to a site nearer to the sea, a move that would facilitate foreign trade, ensure the procurement of arms, and make defense and withdrawal easier in case of a renewed Burmese attack. He established his new capital at Thon Buri, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, opposite modern-day Bangkok. The rule of Taksin was not an easy one. The lack of central authority since the fall of Ayutthaya led to the rapid disintegration of the kingdom, and Taksin's reign was spent reuniting the provinces.

Rattanakosin

After Taksin's death, General Chakri (Rama I) became the first king of the Chakri Dynasty, ruling from 1782 to 1809. His first action as king was to transfer the royal capital across the river from Thon Buri to Bangkok and build the Grand Palace. Rama II (1809-1824) continued the restoration begun by his predecessor. King Nang Klao, Rama III (1824-1851) reopened relations with Western nations and established trade with China.

King Mongkut, Rama IV, (1851-1868) may have achieved western fame through the story "The King and I", but won the hearts of Thais for his accomplishments including the establishment of treaties with European countries, thus avoiding colonialization, and modernizing Thailand through many social and economic reforms. King Chulalongkorn, Rama V (1869-1910) continued his father's tradition of reform, abolishing slavery and improving the public welfare and administrative systems.

Educational reforms, including compulsory education, were introduced by King Vajiravudh, Rama VI (1910-1925). During the reign of King Prajadhipok, Rama VII (1925-1935), Thailand changed from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. The king abdicated in 1933 and was succeeded by his nephew, King Ananda Mahidol Rama VIII (1935-1946). The country's name was changed from Siam to Thailand with the advent of a democratic government in 1939. Our current monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (R. Jun. 9, 1946 - present), is King Rama IX of the Chakri Dynasty.

 The kingdom of Thailand situated in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it a natural gateway to Indochina, Myanmar and Southern China. Thailand shares borders with Myanmar to the west and north, Laos to the north and northeast, Cambodia to the Southeast and Malaysia to the South. The country consists of 76 provinces that are further divided into districts, sub-districts and villages. Bangkok is the capital city and center of commercial, political, industrial and cultural activities. It is also the home of Thailand’s respected Royal Family, with His Majesty the King recognized as Head of State., Head of the Armed Forces, Upholder of the Buddhist religion and of all religions.

 

Thais are well known for their friendliness and hospitality. A large majority of over 62 million citizen of Thailand are ethnic Thai, along with strong communities whose ethnic origins are from China, India and elsewhere.

 

Thailand embraces a rich diversity of cultures and traditions. With its proud history, tropical climate and renowned hospitality, the Kingdom is a never ending source of fascination and pleasure for international visitors.

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