The one minute summary on Thailand

This is it: one minute to the best info on Thailand. This info alone will put you ahead of 99% of foreigners visiting Thailand, garner the admiration of the locals who will instantly want to be your friends, and the envy of your fellow travelers. Read on. You’ll make friends faster that way, become a traveler instead of simply being a tourist, and also enjoy your travels a lot more.

A unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century. Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. In alliance with Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US treaty ally in 1954 after sending troops to Korea and later fighting alongside the United States in Vietnam.

Thiland photo

Photo by tsvg2005

Thailand since 2005 has experienced several rounds of political turmoil including a military coup in 2006 that ousted then Prime Minister THAKSIN Chinnawat, followed by large-scale street protests by competing political factions in 2008, 2009, and 2010. THAKSIN’s youngest sister, YINGLAK Chinnawat, in 2011 led the Puea Thai Party to an electoral win and assumed control of the government.

A blanket amnesty bill for individuals involved in street protests, altered at the last minute to include all political crimes – including all convictions against THAKSIN – triggered months of large-scale anti-government protests in Bangkok beginning in November 2013.

In early May 2014 YINGLAK was removed from office and in late May 2014 the Royal Thai Army staged a coup against the caretaker government. Thailand has also experienced violence associated with the ethno-nationalist insurgency in Thailand’s southern Malay-Muslim majority provinces. Since January 2004, thousands have been killed and wounded in the insurgency.

That was it. I promised one minute.

For other condensed info check also my other posts on local culture (don’t make the mistakes I made), local food or local drinks. And when you call your friends to tell them you were by far the most knowledgeable at the party, do that with confidence that you’ll not get hit with a 6.99 per minute bill. You’ll also pick the local food from the tray, and order a local drink with confidence.

  1. Cultural Mistakes To Avoid in  Thailand
  2. Does my current phone work in  Thailand ? Tips to cell phone usage in  Thailand
  3. Local food you should try in  Thailand and No miss drinks in  Thailand

Now, cheers to the most Thailand aware person at the cocktail party.

What are the key history moments for Thailand?

The earliest identifiable Thai kingdom was founded in Sukhothai in 1238, reaching its zenith under King Ramkhamhaeng in the 14th century before falling under the control of the kingdom of Ayutthaya, which ruled most of present-day Thailand and much of today’s Laos and Cambodia as well, eventually also absorbing the northern kingdom of Lanna. Ayutthaya was sacked in 1767 by the Burmese, but King Taksin regrouped and founded a new capital at Thonburi. His successor, General Chakri, moved across the river to Bangkok and became King Rama I, the founding father of the Chakri dynasty that rules (constitutionally) to this day. Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been colonised by a foreign power, and is fiercely proud of the fact.

A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. During World War II, while Japan conquered the rest of Southeast Asia, only Thailand was not conquered by the Japanese due to smart political moves. In alliance with Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US ally following the conflict. After a string of military dictatorships and quickly toppled civilian Prime Ministers, Thailand finally stabilized into a fair approximation of a democracy and the economy boomed through tourism and industry. Above it all presided King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), the world’s longest-reigning monarch and a deeply loved and respected figure of near-mythic proportions.

In September 2006, a swift and bloodless military coup overthrew populist tycoon Thaksin Shinawatra’s democratically elected but widely criticized government, exposing a fault line between the urban elite that has ruled Thailand and the rural masses that supported Thaksin. Thaksin went into exile and a series of unstable governments followed, with the successors of Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai party and the royalist-conservative People’s Alliance for Democracy duelling both behind the scenes and, occasionally, out in the streets, culminating in Bangkok’s airports being seized and shut down for a week in November 2008. The political scene remains in flux and the direction of the country once the ailing King passes away is a major question mark because of the perceived inadequacy of the current heir.

The one minute summary for Thailand geography

Best places to see in Thailand

Thiland photo

Photo by Nesher Guy

Historical and cultural attractions Bangkok is at the start of many visitors’ itineraries, and while a modern city, it has a rich cultural heritage. Most visitors at least take in the Grand Palace, a collection of highly decorated buildings and monuments. It is home to Wat Phra Kaew, the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand that houses the Emerald Buddha.

Other cultural attractions include Wat Pho, Wat Arun and Jim Thompson’s House, but these are just a fraction of possible sights you could visit. The former capitals of Siam, Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, make excellent stops for those interested in Thai history. The latter could be combined with a visit to Si Satchanalai and Kamphaeng Phet, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Khmer architecture is mostly found in Isaan, with the historical remains of Phimai and Phanom Rung being the most significant. In the northern provinces live unique hill-tribe peoples, often visited as part of a trekking. The six major hill tribes in Thailand are the Akha, Lahu, Karen, Hmong, Mien and Lisu, each with a distinct language and culture. Chiang Mai makes a good base for arranging these trekkings, and has some cultural sights of its own, such as Wat Doi Suthep.

For those interested in recent history, Kanchanaburi has a lot of sights related to World War II. The Bridge over the River Kwai, popularised by the film of the same name, is the most famous one, but the museums in its vicinity are a lot more moving. Beaches and islands Chaweng at dusk, Ko Samui Thailand’s beaches and islands attract millions of visitors each year from all over the globe. Hua Hin is Thailand’s oldest beach resort, discovered by King Rama VII in the 1920s as an ideal getaway from Bangkok. Things have considerably changed since then. While Pattaya, Phuket and Ko Samui were only discovered in the 1970s, these are now by far the most developed beach resorts.

The Chumphon Archipelago has a great selection of islands from touristic to unspoiled. Using Chumphon as a gateway, the islands of Ko Tao, Ko Nang Yuan, Ko Phangan and Ko Samui can be reached by high speed catamaran. The archipelago also includes 2 marine national parks, Mu Ko National Park and Ang Thong National Marine Park Krabi Province has some beautiful spots, including Ao Nang, Rai Leh and the long golden beaches of Ko Lanta. Ko Phi Phi, renowned as a true paradise island, has been undergoing massive development since the release of the film The Beach in 2000. Ko Pha Ngan gives the best of both worlds, with well-developed beaches and empty ones a short ride away. Ko Chang is a bit like Ko Samui used to be, it has a backpacker vibe, but is fairly laid-back and there is accommodation in all price ranges. If you’re looking for unspoiled beaches, Ko Kut is very thinly populated, but also difficult to explore.

Ko Samet is the closest island beach to Bangkok, but its northern beaches are quite developed and hotels are full on weekends and public holidays. Natural scenery While not as beautiful as Malaysia or Indonesia, Thailand does have its fair share of tropical forest. Khao Yai National Park, the first national park of Thailand, is the closest to Bangkok. Wild tigers and elephants are increasingly rare, but you can’t miss the macaques, gibbons, deer, and species of birds.

The stretch of jungle at Khao Sok National Park is probably even more impressive, and you can spend the night in the middle of the jungle. Waterfalls can be found all over Thailand. The Heo Suwat Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park and the 7-tiered Erawan Falls in Kanchanaburi are among the most visited, but the Thee Lor Sue Waterfall in Umphang and the 11-tiered Pa La-u Falls in Kaeng Krachan National Park are equally exciting. Finally, the gravity-defying limestone formations of the Phang Nga Bay shouldn’t be missed by anyone who stays in the region. Itineraries Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai in 3 days — three-day tour through undiscovered Northern Thailand Five days in the Golden Triangle — a five-day tour of the Golden Triangle region through Thailand, Laos and Myanmar Mae Hong Son Loop — the popular route right through the mountains of Mae Hong Son Province One day in Bangkok — if you have just one day to spare and want to catch a feel for the city One weekend in Bangkok — for attractions that only open in weekends Rattanakosin Tour — a quick tour along Bangkok’s famed historic district Yaowarat and Phahurat Tour — a full-day walking tour through this multicultural district