For centuries THAILAND has been known as Siamto
the outsiders. The country was known as SIAM to the world until 1939 and
again between 1945 and 1949. On May 11, 1949, an official proclamation
changed the name of the country to "Thailand" or "Prathet Thai" (in THAI
language) by which it has since been known. The word "THAI" means "FREE",
and therefore "Thailand" means "Land of the Free."
first made a real impression on the West at the end of the 17th century,
through the reports of a series of inquisitive Frenchmen. They were not the
first Europeans to spend time in the kingdom, however. The Portuguese sent
an envoy to the capital in 1511, shortly after they seized Malacca. The
Portuguese joined resident Chinese, Japanese, Malays and Persians to make
the Siamese capital one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the vast region
now known as Southeast Asia. Modern and predominantly Buddhist, it is a
Southeast Asian kingdom whose ancient equilibrium and present standing
mingle in evolving harmony. Substantially, Thailand’s distinctive and
unparalleled characteristics stem from Indian and Chinese influences
(harmoniously blended by Thai eclecticism), rich ethnic diversity, abundant
natural and human resources, and over seven hundred years of cherished
independence. Thailand’s traditional culture is delicately tuned to the
time-honored Buddhist’s non-confrontational approach to life, and ideals of
charity, tolerance and loving-kindness.
Thailand is a
country of scenic diversity and ancient traditions, of tranquil temples and
modern urban excitement. With andindependent
history going back more than seven centuries, it has managed to absorb a
variety of cultural influences and blend them into something uniquely and
memorably Thai. Thailand is
described by travelers as "the west exotic country in Asia", and with good
reason. It is colored by a distinct culture, with a rich and varied
heritage, and it posses a remarkable range of scenic beauty. Whatever your
interests you'll find this a unique land, a place of kaleidoscopic wonders
unseen elsewhere. You'll marvel at wondrous sights that give definition to a
kingdom with an independent history stretching back more centuries.The only
country in Southeast Asia never colonized, Thailand was known for centuries
as Siam. Thailand’s government structure has undergone gradual and practical
evolution in response to the changing environment. Ever since 1932, it has
been a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentarian form of government.
The bicameral parliament is composed of elected representatives and
appointed senators. The Prime Minister is selected from among members of the
House of Representatives. Appointed governors administer 75 of the country's
76 provinces. The Bangkok Metropolis Administration is administered by an
elected governor and is divided into 38 districts. The country is divided
into 76 provinces, each administered by an appointed governor, which are
sub-divided into district, sub-districts, and villages.
is situated in Southeast Asia and is predominantly a Buddhist kingdom almost
equidistant from India and China. Known by outsiders as Siam for centuries,
Thailand (the land of smiles), has been something of a Southeast Asian
migratory, cultural, and religious crossroads...........
Thailand is located outside the typhoon belt and can be divided into two
climatic zones. The north, north-east, south-east and central regions
including Bangkok have a climate with three distinct seasons: rainy, from
June to October; cool, from November to February;............
The shadow puppet plays known as "Nang Yai" and "Nang Thalung" are very
seldom seen these days except in the south. Nang Thalung is the more
popular of the two where puppets crafted from cow hide have strings attached
for better character movements...........
Southeast Asia has been inhabited for more than
half a million years. Recent archaeological studies suggest that by 4000 BC,
communities in what is now Thailand had emerged as centers of early bronze
metallurgy. This development, along with the cultivation of wet rice,
provided the impetus for social and political organization............