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Everything you need to know before you travel to Thailand

Previously known as Siam, located in the centre of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia, Thailand, occupies a total surface of approximately 513,000 square kilometres; it is now classified as the world 51st biggest country and is the 20th most populated country on the planet with a population of 65 million people. To the north, Laos, and Myanmar border it; Cambodia, and Laos to the east; Malaysia and the Gulf of Thailand to the South.

There is a reason Thailand is so popular amongst travellers, as it has it has something for everyone. To the north, you will find the charming and relaxing cities of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Pai; at its centre Bangkok – Thailand’s capital city – is south-east Asia 3rd most visited city and a central travel hub for the region, the city is a mixed bag of old and new and displays a fascinating clash of cultures. However, the highlight of the country lies to the south. The islands populating the region are filled with pristine beaches, crystal clear water and world class luxurious resort. It is no wonder why millions of travellers decide to make Thailand their holiday destination of choice every year.

Money, Expenses & Credit Cards

The Thai Baht is the official and only accepted currency in Thailand. We do not recommend you buy Thai Baht currency until you arrive in Thailand. FOREX booths are readily available and offer higher exchange rates, however, bank notes that are torn, ripped, damaged or stamped will not be accept so ensure to bring notes in good condition.

Banknotes in circulation in the country are 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 Baht; coins come in 1,2,5 and 10 Baht.

There are plenty of ATM available in Thailand, and most will accept cards from international banking networks (Visa, Mastercard, Plus, Cirrus, etc.). It is advised that you alert your card issuer prior to your travel to avoid any possible decline. Do Note that there is a fee of 150 or 180 Baht on top of any fees added by your home financial institution.

Main Festivals

  • January

    Bo Sang Umbrella Festival

  • February

    Chiang Mai Flower Festival

  • March

    Pattaya International Music Festival

  • 13th to 15th April

    Songkran Thai New Year Water Festival

  • June

    Hua Hin Jazz Festival

  • June

    Phi Ta Khon Festival

  • July

    Ubon Ratchatani Candle Festival

Please note: Dates of some festivals can change slightly from year to year.

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Country Profile

  • Full name

    Kingdom of Thailand

  • Population

    67.7 million (UN, 2014)

  • Capital and largest city

    Bangkok

  • Area

    513,120 sq km (198,120 sq miles)

  • Time Zone

    1GMT + 7 Hours

  • Major language

    Thai

  • Major religion

    Buddhism

  • Life expectancy

    72 years (men), 78 years (women) (UN)

  • Main exports

    Machinery, Electricals, Vehicles, Gems, Rubber

  • Internet domain

    .th

  • GNI per capita

    US $9,900 (World Bank, 2013)

  • Intern. dialling code

    +66

Thailand – A Brief History

The first evidence of human inhabitants in Thailand date back to 40,000 years ago. Like its neighbouring countries, the culture, and beliefs of India heavily influenced Thailand. Starting all the way back with the Funan Kingdom in the 1st century CE to the Khmer empire, which ruled over Thailand in its early days. The Hindu influence can be felt to this day among Thais.

Khmer Influence (9th to 11th Century)
The Mon civilization known as Dvaravati, occupied Thailand’s western and central regions from the 9th to the 11th century. The Mon shared a similar heritage as the Khmers in southern Burma and spread their religion, art, and language to the northeast regions of the country, primarily in the cities of Lopbury and Kanchanaburi.

Sukhothai Era (1238 -1438)
Overshadowed by the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 14th Century, The Sukhothai Kingdom was founded in the year 1238 by Tai Chieftain (Khun Pa Muang). It is traditionally considered to be the first Siamese State prior to the 12th century. Although the kingdom was short lived, this era was the most prosperous period in the country and has had significant impact on the country’s history. Their writing system created by king Ramkhamheng, who ascended the throne after the death of Khun Pa Muang in 1279, as evolved into today’s Thai alphabet.

Ayutthaya Era (1350 -1767)
Founded in the year 1350, the city state of Ayutthaya established its capital in 1351 on the Chao Phraya River. The name Ayutthaya was derived from the Indian city of Ayodhaya. In effort to distinguish his kingdom from the Hindu Angkor Kingdom, King Uthong –Ayutthaya’s first ruler – declared Theravada Buddhism as the official religion of the country. Later, he compiled a legal code based on Hindu legal texts and Thai custom which remained in effect until the 19th century. In the early 18th century, the Kingdom entered its Golden age and flourished peacefully before its capital city and was destroyed by the invading Burmese forces in 1767.

Thon Buri Era (1767-1782)
Thai general Phraya Taksin, proclaimed himself king after defeating the Burmese invaders who had invaded the Ayutthaya Kingdom. He then established a new capital at Thon Buri, located across the river to modern day Bangkok. By 1781 Taksin had become mentally troubled and was executed in 1782.

Rattanakosin Era (1782 -Present)
In 1782 Taksin was succeeded by general Chakri, whom changed his name to Yot Fa. The court was relocated across the river to the village of Bangkok; the kingdom’s economy flourished and what remained of Ayutthaya’s artistic heritage was preserved. In this era, the country boomed into what is known today as Thailand (Changed in 1939 from Siam) Defined in Thai as ‘Prathet Thai’, the term ‘Prathet’ means ‘country’ and ‘Thai’ means ‘free’. Relations between the USA and the European nations were established and Schools, Roads, Railways, and the country’s first Post office were built; new laws were also put in place to improve the rights of women and children. A bloodless revolution lead by army officers took place in 1932, thus ending 800 years of absolute monarchy.

Holidays in Thailand

Towns & Cities in Thailand

holidays in Thailand

Thailand has no shortage of captivating destination to visit on your holiday. Refer to our Towns & cities guide to plan the perfect trip.

Essential Thailand Travel Information

(Check out our helpful travel information before leaving home)

Our Favourite Hotels in Thailand

hotels in Thailand

There are so many beautiful hotels to choose from in Thailand. So we have selected a few of our most favourite and characterful hotels; giving you a taste of what you can expect.

Our most popular Activities in Thailand

Browse through our Thailand Activity suggestions and get some inspiration.
We can then add any activity you want and tailor-make a Thailand holiday just for you!

Our most popular Thailand Holidays

Browse through our Thailand holiday suggestions and get some inspiration.
We can then tailor-make a holiday in Thailand just for you!

Thailand Wildlife Adventure

Thailand Wildlife Adventure

7 Days / 6 Nights
Price from: $2,199 per person

Sun, Sand, Sea & Golf Thailand

Sun, Sand, Sea & Golf Thailand

5 Days / 4 Nights
Price from: $999 per person

Northern Cultural Explorer

Northern Cultural Explorer

12 Days / 11 Nights
Price from: $1,599 per person

History & Culture of Central Thailand

History & Culture of Central Thailand

12 Days / 11 Nights
Price from: $1,499 per person

Wildlife & Thai Beaches

Wildlife & Thai Beaches

12 Days / 11 Nights
Price from: $1,499 per person

Koh Chang & Away

Koh Chang & Away

8 Days / 7 Nights
Price from: $1,199 per person

Beaches of the South West

Beaches of the South West

12 Days / 11 Nights
Price from: $1,499 per person

Angkor Temples & Gulf of Thailand (Cambodia & Thailand)

Angkor Temples & Gulf of Thailand (Cambodia & Thailand)

8 Days / 7 Nights
Price from: $1,399 per person

Laos & Thailand Boat Cruises

Laos & Thailand Boat Cruises

3 to 11 Day Cruises
Price from: $499 per person

Beaches of the South East

Beaches of the South East

12 Days / 11 Nights
Price from: $1,499 per person