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About Thailand

The Kindgom of Thailand is located in Southeast Asia. The Land of Smiles is bordered by the Adaman Sea to the west and by the Gulf of Thailand of the South China Sea to the east. Thanks to the proximity to the Equator and the prominent length in a north-south direction, Thailand is blessed by multiple vegetable and fruit harvests per year and a yearlong tourist season smoothly shifting back and force over the climatic zones.

The ancient history of Thailand is full of blank spots. It is assumed that ethnical Tai people are of Central Chinese heritage. The ancestors of modern Thai settled in the northern part of the present country.

The official history starts with the kingdom of Sukhothai that was established in 1238. In 150 years it was overshadowed by the powerful kingdom of Ayutthaya. In the 18th century Siam suffered from inroads of the Burmese until the general P'ya Taksin and Prha Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke put an end to it. After Taksin’s death in 1782, Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke ascended the throne as King Rama I and created the Chakri dynasty. The king also founded Bangkok as the new capital.

The Thai people are very proud that their country has never been colonized. There are two reasons for this unprecedented fact. First, Thailand was left as a buffer state between British and French colonies in Asia. Second, Siamese kings were very influential at that time.

For instance, King Rama V promoted Siam as an independent country in the world community. His reign is considered of the greatest significance to the Thai history – he was the only ruler who was called the Great.

In 1932, a nearly bloodless revolution caused a transition of power and Siam became a constitutional monarchy. Since 1939 the country is called Thailand or «a land of the free» in Thai language. This name was irrevocably adopted after World War II in 1949. After that the power in the country has consolidated in the hands of military officials, and for the next 20 years Thailand went through turbulent coups d’etats as one military regime took over another. In 1992 antigovernmental demonstrations, which were violently suppressed, eventually resulted in restoration of democracy. Nowadays Thailand is a democratic state with constitutional monarchy which is based not only on civil laws, but also on the postulates of the country’s official religion, Buddhism.

By the way, the legal calendar in Thailand is derived from the Buddhist Era and is 543 years greater than the Western calendar, e.g. the year 2011 in the West is the year 2554 in Thailand. Thailand is ranked number one in the world in the number of monks per capita. The Land of Smiles has over 32,700 Buddhist temples that accommodate about 370,000 monks and novices, meaning there is one monk per 170 residents. Outside the touristic area, Thailand still adheres to traditional family values and Buddhist moral system.

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