The Kingdom of Thailand is part of Southeast Asia, the country is some 513,115sq km in size and is bordered by Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and Malaysia. Its land mass is divided into four natural regions: the mountains and forests of the North; the vast rice fields of the Central Plains; the semi-arid farm lands of the Northeast plateau; and the tropical islands and long coastline of the Southern Peninsula.
The country comprises 76 provinces that are further divided into districts, sub-districts and villages. Bangkok is the capital city and centre of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities.
Thailand is ruled by a Monarchy, with His Majesty the King, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, or King Rama IX recognised as Head of State, Head of the Armed Forces, Upholder of the Buddhist religion and Upholder of all religions. The King has reigned for more than half a century, making him the longest reigning Thai monarch.
Population: Thais are well-known for their friendliness and hospitality. A large majority of over 62 million citizens of Thailand are ethnic 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.
People: Thai (80%), Chinese (10%), Malay (3%), and the rest are minorities (Mons, Khmers, hill tribes)
Language: 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.
Social Customs and Home Life in Thailand.
The Thai people do not say “good morning”, “good afternoon,” ”good evening”, “good night.” They greet one another with the word Sawadi & instead of shaking hands, they put their two palms together in front of their chests under the chin & bow slightly. It is customary for the younger or lower in social status, to begin the greeting.
In Thailand the head is a respected part of the body & normally should not be touched, except perhaps in a fatherly manner by ones parents. Since the head contains the most delicate & important substance in the human body, the brain, it should be carefully treated.
- A polite man will never touch a woman.
- Another sign of bad up-bringing is to point an object out with one’s foot.
- If you are invited into a Thai house it is usual to take off your shoes before entering.
- Ladies must never touch a monk or be alone in the presence of a monk.
- Finally, it is unpardonable error of sacrilege to misuse any Buddha image.