Thai Consulate Houston

About Thailand

Geography

Thailand has a land area of 513,115 sq.km.(approx. 127,008 acres) bordered by Malaysia (South), Myanmar (West & North), Laos (North & East) and Cambodia (Southeast). The country's east coast borders the Gulf of Thailand and the west coast abuts the Andaman Sea. The country is divided geographically into four main zones-the fertile central plains, dominated by the Chao Phraya River; the 300-metre-high northeast plateau, the kingdom's most barren region ; the mountainous North; and the tropical southern peninsula.

 

Largest provinces

Nakhon Ratchasima 20,493 sq. km.
Chiang Mai 20,107 sq. km.
Kanchanaburi 19,483 sq. km.
 

Largest islands

Phuket 543 sq. km.
Chang 429sq. km.
Samui 247 sq. km.
 

Highest peaks

Doi Inthanon 2,565 m.
Doi Pha Hom Pok 2,285 m.
Doi Chiang Dao 2,195 m.
 

Principal rivers

Chi 765 km.
Mun 750 km.
Nan 740 km.
Chao Phraya 370 km. (or 1,110 km. if the Nan, its main tributary, is included.)
 

Climate

The temperature varies from 38°C to 19°C with the annual average at about 29°C. The humidity is from 66% to 82.8%.
Seasons
There are three seasons in Northern, Northeastern and Central Thailand - hot (March to May), rainy (June to October), and cool (November to February). And there are two seasons in the South - rainy (April to November) and hot (December to March). In the North and Northeast in winter, the temperatures are much lower during night time, especially on the mountains, with temperatures lower than 10°C.
 

Population
Total

65,479,453 (2010 census), about 31 million males and 32 females. Of the total, 9.3% live in Bangkok. Please Note: The total population includes only permanent residents.

 
People
75% Thais, 11% Chinese, 3.5% Malays, and others are Mons, Khmers, Burmese, Laotians, Indians and a variety of hill tribes.
 

Language

Thai is the national language. English is widely understood in Bangkok and big cities.\
 

Religion

 
Buddhists 94.2%, Muslims 4.6%, Christians 0.8%, others 0.4%.
 

Local Traditions and Customs

  • Thailand is a Buddhist country where Buddha images are held sacred. Sacrilegious acts are punishable by imprisonment even if committed by foreign visitors.
  • Thai people hold their King and Queen and the Royal Family in great reverence, and so won't tolerate foreigners showing disrespect to them.
  • Generally Thai women are conservative. So don't touch them without their consent.
  • Dress properly when entering a Buddhist temple. Miniskirts and shorts are not allowed. Take your shoes off before going inside the hall of worship. Ladies must not on any account touch a Buddhist monk, give things direct to him or receive things direct from him.
  • Intimacies between man and woman should not be shown in public. Sunbathing in the nude is prohibited. Call Thais by their first names; use the title "Khun" for adults.
  • Normally, Thai people address others by their first names and with the title 'khun'. So don't be surprised if you are addressed as 'Khun Mary' or 'Khun John' instead of by your surname.
  • Traditionally, Thais greet each other with a wai (by pressing the palms together at the chest). If someone wais you, you should wai back (except when wai-ed by a child).
  • Thai people smile to express gladness and happiness, to thank for small services, to return the wai of children and inferior persons, and even to excuse small inconveniences.
  • Don't touch a person's head, nor ruffle his hair. The head is considered to be the noblest part of the body. A sincere apology should be offered immediately if you touch someone's head unintentionally.
  • Avoid placing your feet on the table while sitting. Never use your foot to point things out or to touch any part of the body of anyone, which is considered rude.
  • Entering a Thai house, you're expected to remove your shoes.
 

Government

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy headed by King Bhumibol Adulyadej or King Rama IX. The country comprises 76 provinces, each sub-divided into amphoe (county), tambon (district) and muban (village).
 
Capital
Bangkok
 
National Flag
The red, white and blue bands symbolize the nation, religion, and the monarchy respectively.
 

Electricity

220 volts 50 cycles throughout the country.
 

Water

Drink only bottled or boiled water.
 

Clothing

Light, cool clothes are highly recommended. Thin cotton is the best. A jacket or sweater may be necessary in the cool season, especially when you are in mountainous areas in the North or Northeast.
 

Local Time

GMT + 7 hours.
 

Business Hours

Government offices open from 08.30 to 16.30 hours, Monday to Friday. Most private business offices open from 08.30 to 17.30 hours, Monday to Friday. Some work on Saturday.
 

Telephone services

Local calls

All telephone numbers for local calls, long distance calls within the country and all mobile phones have nine digits, starting with 0.
For Bangkok calls, it is 0 + 2 + numbers, e.g. 0 2250 5500.
For provincial calls, it is 0 + area code + numbers, e.g. 0 5323 6400
For Chiang Mai (053 is the area code for Chiang Mai) ; 0 7623 6400
For Phuket (076 is the area code for Phuket).
 

International calls

The international dialing code for Thailand is 66.
To direct dial a foreign number from a private phone, dial 001 + country code + area code + telephone number.
To make international calls through the operator, dial 100.
 

Phone Cards

You can enjoy budget overseas call using Lenso Phone card, the public card phone operator licensed by CAT Telecom public company limited.
 

Major Agricultural Exports

Rice, tapioca, rubber, maize, pineapples, durians, lotions, palm oil and herbs. Major manufactured exports include computer and computer accessories, integrated circuit, textiles, electronics, cars and spare parts, gems and jewelry, televisions and television accessories.