Thailand: Land of the King of Siam
Sitting in the heart of Southeast Asia, boarded by Laos and Burma to the north, Cambodia and Laos to the east, Malaysia and the Gulf of Thailand to the south, and the Andaman Sea to the west, Thailand is the 50th largest country in the world. Sixty four million people lived in this predominantly Buddhist country, which was called Siam until 1939. Thailand is still ruled by a king; in fact the present King is the longest reigning heading of state and monarch in Thailand’s history.
Bangkok is the country’s largest city and the center of the countries political and cultural activities. Thailand has undergone recent major economic growth and is one of the new industrialized countries that depend on tourism, as well as exports, to fuel their expanding economy.
The major tourist destinations are: the city of Chiang Mai, which is four hundred miles north of Bangkok. Phuket, an island off the west coast, and Pattaya, a city on the Gulf of Thailand and Bangkok, which is the pulse of the country.
About Thailand Today
Thailand is an educated country with a high literacy rate, and a well organized educational system. The country is divided into seventy five provinces, which are divided into five groups by location. Northern Thailand is mountainous and the center of the country if flat due to the Chao Phraya River Valley, which empties into the Gulf of Thailand. Southern Thailand is a narrow Isthmus which widens into the Malay Peninsula. Thailand is considered an emerging economy; its currency is called the Baht and it fluctuates against the US Dollar and other currencies. The Baht has gained strength against the dollar over the last couple of years thanks to a weak dollar, and an increase in the export of rice, footwear, textiles, computers, and electrical appliances. Sex tourism and prostitution also help fuel the economy. Some reports claim that the sex trade accounts for about three percent of the GDP.
Thailand in a Few Words
Trying to describe the beauty of Thailand is a difficult task. The country has endless beaches, beautiful people, and an ancient, but progressive culture. Thailand is a mixture of India, Cambodia, China and the rest of Southeast Asia combined. The friendly people, artistic expressions, and Buddhist traditions, make Thailand a destination that few people can resist. Thailand keeps calling you back for more, and it’s almost a crime not to answer the call.