Thailand is located in the continent of Asia, around 471 km from Laos, 565 km from Cambodia and 807 km from Vietnam. This country is hailed as one of the world’s top tourist destinations owing to its stunning architecture, lush landscapes and beautiful beaches. During most of the year, the weather is welcoming, warm, and decidedly humid. In northern Thailand, the weather is mainly dry from November to May and rainy from May to November, while in the south, the weather differs from east to west. The west tends to be rainy from April until October, while the east is wettest between September and December. Temperatures soar to around 30ºC in April, cooling down to a pleasant 26ºC in December.
Thailand is a tourist haven for many fabulous reasons – first of all, there are the fabulous beaches, including Kata Noi Beach (with its lovely warm waters), Nai Harn Beach (with its powdery soft sands) and Sunrise Beach, Ko Lipe (famed for its turquoise water).
Thailand isn’t just about relaxing, of course; it is also famed for its culinary tradition, with dishes bearing a marriage of sweet and spicy flavours. Think lemongrass, cilantro and chili and feel your taste buds start to dance!
Nature lovers take note – Thailand is home to a verdant network of national parks, including the impressive Khao Yai National Park, measuring over 2,000km2 and comprising lush forests inhabited by wildlife of all kinds, including elephants, bears, and hornbills.
The earliest known inhabitants of Thailand thrived in the Paleolithic period, forging bronze tools as early as 3000 B.C.. In the ninth century B.C., the Mon and Khmer people flocked to Southeast Asia from China; the Khmer chose the Mekong River Valley to build their homes, while the Mon selected the central plain and northern highlands of Thailand. The Mon spread the cultural and artistic influences of India, and in the 8th century, they were introduced to Buddhism, which they shared with the Khmer. The Khmer Empire dominated Thailand from the 800s to the 13th century, until local Thai Chiefs expelled the Khmer Empire, establishing the Thai Kingdom in 1238. In 1350, the Thai Kingdom of Ayutthaya began a 400-year reign, which was thwarted when the Burmese invaded Thailand in 1767. In 1782, the Chakri Dynasty established itself and it continues to be the ruling royal house to this day.
Thailand is famous for the wide variety of its flora and fauna. The country is home to over 300 types of mammals, 313 reptiles and 1,000 birds. Natural forests cover around 25 per cent of the country, comprising monsoon forests and rainforests. Monsoon forests are famed for their sturdy hardwood trees, while rainforests are populated mainly by evergreen trees. The country is dotted with banana trees, coconut palms and bamboo trees. Mangroves and rattan, meanwhile, cover the coastal lowlands.
Some of Thailand’s most famous exotic animals include the elephant (only around 1,000 wild elephants remain), tiger and leopard. There are also crocodiles, turtles, sambar deer, otters, civet cats, wild hogs and various colourful snakes. The vast number of bird species makes Thailand a Paradise for bird watchers, who flock to the lush Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park and Khao Sok National Park – home to the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world.
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