Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand, Located in Southeast Asia, Thailand covers a total area of approximately 513,000 square kilometers (198,000 square miles) and is the 50th largest country in the world and the 12th largest in Asia! The official language of Thailand is Thai, it is written in the Thai alphabet. Thailand is divided into six regions: North, Northeast, Central, South, East, and West.
Thailand is one of the world’s largest producers of rice, with Thai Jasmine Rice being the most famous. Thai cuisine has become famous worldwide with its use of fresh herbs and spices. It blends the five fundamental tastes: sweet, spicy, sour, bitter, and salty to a colorful and tasteful mix.
Thailand's climate is influenced by monsoon winds that have a seasonal character (the southwest and northeast monsoon). The northeast monsoon, starting from October until February brings colder and dryer air from China over most of Thailand. Thailand has three seasons: wet, cool, and hot. Depending on where and when you travel Thailand, it is always good to check the weather before visiting as some areas are better in certain seasons.
Thailand's attractions include diving, sandy beaches, hundreds of tropical islands, nightlife, archaeological sites, museums, hill tribes, flora and bird life, palaces, Buddhist temples and several World Heritage sites.
Thai cuisine is well known for its spiciness, with Som Tam (a spicy papaya salad) being a famous example. In fact, however, the secret to Thai food is a balance of five flavors: sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy. Some Thai dishes have a careful blend of all these tantalizing tastes. Others are served with something to help deal with the overpowering spiciness. For example, Tom Yum Goong, which is sour and spicy, is often paired with an omelet or rice. This could be the reason rice is always part of a Thai meal.
As well as many herbs and spices used in Thai food, fish sauce is often used in a similar way salt is, as it mellows the taste. This means vegetarians will have to take this into account and be more careful when choosing food in Thailand.
There is a great variety of Thai food for you to try, both main dishes and desserts. You can also try local foods, which are different in each part of the country. Northern Thai meals usually feature sticky rice, Nam Prik (spicy chili paste), fresh vegetable, and soup, northeastern Thai meals are famous for their spicy and sour dishes and an essential condiment Pla Ra (fermented fish sauce), while traditional southern foods are well-known for their herbs and spices.
Since Thai people have diverse and mixed ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds, there are many traditional Thai events and festivals from the past to experience today and which will carry on into the future. While some cultural events are celebrated all over Thailand, some others are just smaller unique local festivities of some provinces. The biggest and renowned festivals in Thailand are Loy Krathong and Songkran, which is also the Thai New Year where thousands of tourists come to join in the fun!
Some other festivals originated from traditional beliefs and folklore such as the Boon Bang Fai Rocket Festival to ask for favors from the God of Rain. The Loy Krathong Festival is also intended to ask for forgiveness from the Mother of River.
Thai events and festivals show who Thai people really are. We are fun, we like to help others, and we are humble, respectful, and grateful to our elders. These themes are an integral part of Thai festivals and cultures, which make them a unique experience you can’t find anywhere else.
• Loy Krathong – date usually falls in November (probable date in 2018 is November 23 – to be confirmed)
• Yi Peng Lantern Festival, Chiang Mai – held to coincide with Loy Krathong (probable dates in 2018 are November 22-24 – to be confirmed)