Monday, August 21, 2006

Thailand Statistics



Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma

>>Geographic coordinates

15 00 N, 100 00 E

>>Map references:

Southeast Asia


total: 514,000 sq km
land: 511,770 sq km
water: 2,230 sq km


slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming

>>Land boundaries:

total: 4,863 km
border countries: Burma 1,800 km, Cambodia 803 km, Laos 1,754 km, Malaysia 506 km
Coastline: 3,219 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm


tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid


central plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere

>>Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
highest point: Doi Inthanon 2,576 m

>>Natural resources:

tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite

>>Land use:

arable land: 34%
permanent crops: 6%
permanent pastures: 2%
forests and woodland: 26%
other: 32% (1993 est.)

>>Irrigated land:

44,000 sq km (1993 est.)

>>Natural hazards:

land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts

>>Environment—current issues:

air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting

>>Environment—international agreements:

party to: Climate Change, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94
signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea
Geography—note: controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Bangkok Travel Guide

Thailand's capital city is a fantastic place to visit. It is the travel hub for the whole Southeast Asian region and a must. Most people come back and forth if they visit the different regions of Thailand, for example Chiang mai, Koh Samui or Phuket or Trang. Its bad reputation for long traffic jams and pollution is no longer justified. At the end of 2000, the new BTS Sky Train went into service and new roads have been built. To get around there is also now the MRT metro (underground railway), which serves a number of locations in the centre of the city. In comparison to other mega-cities, Bangkok is also a very safe city and has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

In the 'City of Angels', you’ll soon find out that walking, instead of taking a taxi or bus, is often the quickest option. Another good option is the water-taxi (catch it at the end of the Silom sky train line at Saphan Taksin). Besides the fact that it is an experience in itself -defy the polluted canals with the wind in your hair and see the back part of life in Bangkok, many of the city’s attractions are near to the various stops along the river. Make a stop at the Temple of Dawn and tour the klongs in order to find the floating market (sorry to disappoint you, but it has been transferred to solid ground) or just get off nearby Kao San Road. There are three monkeys and a gorilla in the haystack.

Despite the fact that most of them are located in the center of the thriving modern metropolis, Bangkok's sights, temples belong to the finest ones in Asia. The most spectacular are located on the same compound: the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Keo, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The rooflines and spires are extravagant, ornamented richly and will probably leave you dazzled at the spot...and this is only one compound away from Bangkok's Chinatown.

Other sights in Bangkok include the National Museum (a great introduction to the county’s history and artifacts), the Red Cross Snake Farm (to watch venomous snakes being milked) and the Weekend Market near Chatuchak Park (there’s a little bit of everything, including giant dead roaches neatly arranged for sale in the food section). Also worth a visit is the Suan Lum Night Market at the corner of Wireless Road and Rama IV Road. It is right next to Lumpini MRT station. The Jim Thompson’s House brings alive the era of a U.S. citizen who was almost solely responsible for reintroducing Thailand’s silk-weaving industry. His home is a tribute to Thai art and architecture.

Bangkok offers also an amazing nightlife with bars, discos, live music and even Latin Salsa is becoming popular. A lot is said about and done in Patpong, Bangkok's red-light district. It's not particularly different from red-light districts elsewhere. At night-time, Patpong's brightly and colorfully lit streets are packed with people who parade along the clubs lining the streets —some of which might even shock the most worldly visitors. Maybe there is already enough excitement for you going on Kao San Road and its neighboring area. This is the street to go when you're looking for cheap accommodation, small restaurants and fellow travelers full of good stories (of which one might give you a treasure-map of one of the unknown deserted islands just off the coast...)

If you want to get a personal advice how to get the best out of your one day Bangkok visit, check out the "A perfect day..." section.

By the way, do you know the real name of Bangkok? It's Krungthep Mahanakon Bovorn Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokpop Noparatratchatathani Burirom Udomratchanivetmahasatan Amornpiman Avatarnsatit Sakkathattiyaavisnukarmprasit.
The english translation would be something like:
The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn.

Credit: WikiTravel

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Thailand hotels and travel guide. Hotel reservation for Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi and Pattaya with lowest rates.

Thailand in brief

Thailand is a Southeast Asian, predominantly Buddhist kingdom almost equidistant between India and China. For centuries known by outsiders as Siam, Thailand has been something of a Southeast Asian migratory, cultural and religious cross-roads. With an area of some 510,000 square kilometres and a population of some 57 million, Thailand is approximately the same size as France. Thailand shares borders with Myanmar to the west and north, Laos to the north-east, Kampuchea to the west, and Malaysia to the south. Geographically speaking, Thailand is divided into six major regions: the mountainous north where elephants work forests and winter temperatures are sufficiently cool to permit cultivation of temperate fruits such as strawberries and peaches; the sprawling north-east plateau, largely bordered by the Mekong River, where the world's oldest Bronze Age civilisation flourished some 5,000 years ago; the central plain, one of the world's most fertile rice and fruit-growing areas; the eastern coastal plain, where fine sandy beaches support the growth of summer resorts; western mountains and valleys, suitable for the development of hydro-electric power: and the peninsular south where arresting scenic beauty complements economically vital tin mining, robber cultivation and fishing.


Archaeological discoveries around the north- east hamlet of Ban Chiang suggest that the world's oldest Bronze Age civilisation was flourishing in Thailand some 5,600 years ago. Successive waves of immigrants, including Mons, Khmers and Thais, gradually entered the land mass now known as Thailand, most slowly travelling along fertile river valleys from southern China. By the 11th and 12th centuries, Khmers ruled much of the area from Angkor. By the early 1200s, Thais had established small northern city states in Lanna, Phayao and Sukhothai. In 1238, two Thai chieftains rebelled against Khmer suzerainty and established the first truly independent Thai kingdom in Sukhothai (literally, 'Dawn of Happiness'). Sukhothai saw the Thais' gradual expansion throughout the entire Chao Phraya River basin, the establishment of Theravada Buddhism as the paramount Thai religion, the creation of the Thai alphabet and the first expression of nascent Thai art forms, including painting, sculpture, architecture and literature. Sukhothai declined during the 1300s and eventually became a vassal state of Ayutthaya, a dynamic young kingdom further south in the Chao Phraya River valley. Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya remained the Thai capital until 1767 when it was destroyed by Burmese invaders. During Ayutthaya's 417 years as the capital, under the rule of 33 kings, the Thais brought their distinctive culture to full fruition, totally rid their lands of Khmer presence and fostered contact with Arabian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese and European powers. Ayutthaya's destruction was as severe a blow to the Thais as the loss of Paris or London would have been to the French or English. However, a Thai revival occurred within a few months and the Burmese were expelled by King Taksin who later made Thon Buri his capital. In 1782, the first king of the present Chakri dynasty, Rama I, established his new capital on the site of a riverside hamlet called Bangkok (Village of Wild Plums). Two Chakri monarchs, Mongkut (Rama IV) who reigned between 1851 and 1868, and his son Chulalongkorn (Rama V, 1868-1910) saved Thailand from western colonisation through adroit diplomacy and selective modernisation. Today, Thailand is a constitutional monarchy. Since 1932, Thai kings including the present monarch, H.M. King Bhumipol Adulyadej have exercised their legislative powers through a national assembly, their executive powers through a cabinet headed by a prime minister, and their judicial powers through the law courts.

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