THAILAND IN CLOSE-UP
Known originally as Siam, the country was renamed Thailand (Land of the Free) in 1939. Thailand’s population is currently 70 million, its capital city is Bangkok, its currency is the baht (THB), and the official language is Thai. Thailand is Southeast Asia’s second largest economy after Indonesia. Thailand is home to Buddhist temples, exotic wildlife and spectacular islands. It is also known for its fascinating history, unique culture and delectable local food. The tourism industry plays an important role in the Thai economy and contributes an estimated 18.4 percent to the national GDP. Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been colonized by a European power. It is known for its beautiful nature, delicious mangoes and strict rules about conversations on its monarchy. The culture in Thailand is a mix of strong Indian influences, Chinese traditions, and elements that are uniquely Thai. With its diverse geography, friendly people, and stunning scenery, the “Land of a Thousand Smiles” is a must-see destination in South East Asia. There are at least 13 different smiles that a Thai person may use, each one having a very specific meaning.
Thailand is a dream tourist destination for many people from different parts of the world, and with good reason. The Land of Smiles promises entertaining activities, delicious cuisine, welcoming locals, and rich culture and history for every visitor at any time of the year. One of the most charming festivals celebrated in Thailand is Khao Phansa, or Buddhist Lent Day, which marks the start of the rainy season and the period when monks traditionally retreat to their temples for a three-month period.