Information

Location: Thailand is situated in the heart of the Southeast Asian mainland, covering an area of 513,115 sq.km. and extends about 1,620 kilometers from north to south and 775 kilometers from east to west. Thailand borders the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Union of Myanmar to the North, the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Gulf of Thailand to the East, the Union of Myanmar and the Indian Ocean to the West, and Malaysia to the south.

Capital: Bangkok

Major Cities:
North : Chiangmai
South: Songkla
Central region : Ayutthaya and Chonburi
North Eastern : Nakhon Ratchasima and Khon Kaen

Historical Background: There are conflicting opinions as to the origins of the Thais. Three decades ago it could be said with presumed certainty that the Thais originated in Northwestern Szechuan in China about 4,500 years ago and later migrated down to their present homeland. However, this theory has been altered by the discovery of remarkable prehistoric artifacts in the village of Ban Chiang in the Nong Han District of Udon Thani Province in the North-East. These include evidence of bronze metallurgy going back 3,500 years, as well as other indications of a far more sophisticated culture than any previously suspected by archaeologists. It now appears that the Thais might have originated here in Thailand and later scattered to various parts of Asia, including some parts of China. Siam is the name by which the country was known 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 "Prathet Thai", or "Thailand", by which it has since been known. The word "Thai"means "free", and therefore "Thailand" means "Land of the Free."

Climate: Thailand is a warm and rather humid tropical country with monsoonal climate. Temperatures are highest in March and April with average temperature of 28 degree Celsius to 38 degrees Celsius and humidity averaging between 73 percent to 82.8 percent.

Seasons: Dry : March to May, Rainy: June to October, Cool: November to February.

Population: The population in Thailand is approximately 62 million, of which around 6 million live in the capital city, Bangkok.

Language: The national and official language is Thai while English is widely spoken and understood in major cities, particularly in Bangkok and in business circles. Business Hours: Government and business offices are open from 8:30 to 16:30 hours, Monday to Friday.

Electricity: 220 volts 50 cycles throughout the country

Foreign Currency Declaration: As from 24 February 2008, under the relevant Thai law, any foreigner who brings or takes an aggregate amount of foreign currency exceeding USD 20,000 or its equivalent into or out of the Kingdom of Thailand shall declare such amount of foreign currency to a Customs Officer. Failure to declare upon bringing foreign currency that exceeds the amount restricted by law or its equivalent out of or into the Kingdom of Thailand or making any false declaration to a Customs Officer is a criminal offence.

Banks: The country's central bank is the Bank of Thailand. Major Thai commercial banks include the Bangkok Bank, Siam Commercial Bank, Krung Thai Bank, Thai Farmers Bank and Thai Military Bank. Business hours are 08:30 - 15:30 hours, Monday to Friday. Several international banks also have offices in Thailand.

Currency: The Baht is the standard currency unit.
1 Baht = 100 satangs
Bank Notes : 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000 baht
Coins : 1, 5, and 10 baht

Health and Medical Facilities: Bangkok has numerous clinics and hospitals catering to a variety of needs. Major public and private hospitals are equipped with the latest medical technology and internationally qualified specialists. Almost all pharmaceuticals are widely available. Drinking of tap water should be avoided.

Regulations for Foreign Visitors to Thailand: Foreign nationals visiting Thailand must possess valid passports or accepted travel documents and appropriate visas before entering the country. Visitors from several countries are permitted to stay up to 30 days without visas, while visitors from some other countries are entitled to apply for visas on arrival with stay of up to 15 days, provided they possess tickets confirming departure within 15 days at all ports of entry (for lists of such countries, please see menu tab ?Visas and Travel Documents? above). Transit visas permit stay for up to 30 days and tourist visas for up to 60 days. Non-immigrant, diplomatic and official visas permit stay for up to 90 days.