Carrying on my theme week for Thailand, here’s another post to learn about the land of Smiles!

Imagine arriving at a place and you don’t know know where you are, what to do, what’s right or wrong, and how to use things and you may end up in prison for doing the wrong thing!

Great! As much as I like to be dropped off in an unknown place and figure stuff out for myself, I think I’d better find out the basic facts and figures about Thailand before finding myself kidnapped by ladyboys and sold as a sex slave.

So back to school we go!

1. The Kingdom of Thailand can be found in South East Asia bordered by Laos in the north east, Camodia in the east, Burma to the west and North and Malaysia to the south. So you can imagine you’ll find a very big multicultural mix in this country.

2. Thailand is known by many names. It’s now called Kingdom of Thailand since 1939 in which before it was known as Siam (this reminds me of the King and I – Shall we dance?). It’s also nicknamed as the ‘Land of Smiles’ as you cannot go round a corner without seeing a smiling Thai.

3. Thailand is headed by a consitutional monarchy, ruled by King Rama IX, the 9th King of the House of Chakri. Everyone in Thailand respects the King. If you say bad things about the King, then you will find yourself in Prison!

4. The capital of Thailand is Bangkok. the capital currently holds the record for the longest capital name in the world? What? Here it is! Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit…. try saying that 10 times fast!

5.  The primary religion of Thailand is Buddhism. 95% of the people practise this. It is often customary for young thai boys to become monks for a short while.

6. ‘Thai’ in the thai language is widely believed to be ‘freedom’ hence the other nickname for Thailand – the land of the free. However, it is actually in fact ‘People’. So really it should be called, Land of the People.

7. The currency in Thailand is Baht. £1 is 48 Thai Baht. I can buy 1 large beer for this!

8. The best tourist destinations in Thailand according to Tourism figures are Ayutthaya, Pattaya, Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Koh Samui. I’m looking forward to be visiting Bangkok, Koh Samui and especially Chiang Mai!

9. The Main Exports of Thailand are Rice, Seafood, Live Animals, Office Equipment, Textiles, Clothing and Rubber. Looking forward to be sampling the seafood!

10. The climate varies greatly! There are 3 seasons – Hot, Rainy and Cool. But the temperature fluctuates from 19-38 degrees centigrade. I’ll be going in the Hot Season if you want to check out my 2012 travel plans.

11. It is actually the only country in South East Asia not to be colonized by any of the European Powers. It’s done pretty well for itself!

So that brings the quick lesson to a close. What basic facts have you got for me about Thailand?