Thailand – Officially the Kingdom of Thailand, formerly known as Siam, is a country at the centre of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Burma. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest.
The country has always been called Mueang Thai by its citizens; but by others, by the exonym Siam. The names Shan and A-hom seem to be variants of the same word, and Śyâma is possibly not its origin, but a learned and artificial distortion.
The signature of King Mongkut (r. 1851 – 1868) reads SPPM (Somdet Phra Poramenthra Maha) Mongkut King of Siam, giving it official status until 23 June 1939 when it was changed to Thailand. Thailand was renamed Siam from 1945 to 11 May 1949, after which it again reverted to Thailand.
Bangkok traces its roots to a small trading post during the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 15th century, which eventually grew in size and became the site of two capital cities: Thonburi in 1768 and Rattanakosin in 1782. Bangkok was at the heart of Siam’s (as Thailand used to be known) modernization during the later 19th century, as the country faced pressures from the West.
The city was the centre stage of Thailand’s political struggles throughout the 20th century, as the country abolished absolute monarchy, adopted constitutional rule and underwent numerous coups and uprisings. The city grew rapidly during the 1960s through the 1980s and now exerts a significant impact among Thailand’s politics, economy, education, media and modern society.
Silom Road was in the past the main trading disctrict for a long time and many shop houses are still lining the roads in the area. Running from the Riverside (Charoenkrung Road) all the way East to Rama 4 Road, it is located between Sathorn and Suriwongse Roads. During the day, Silom is the City’s banking center as well as jewelry and gems trading area.
Thai food is famous for its fusion of strong flavours and use of fresh herbs, especially basil leaves. Rice is the staple food in the country, and most Thais eat rice for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Thais also love to use fish sauce as a condiment alongside every meal. Thai curry and noodles are also very popular among locals and tourists.
The Thai identity is closely tied to Buddhism and their reverence for the Thaimonarchy. Over 95% of the Thai people practice Theravada Buddhism—the country’s official religion. The countless temples in the country are usually packed on Buddhist holidays. The monarchy is deeply loved and revered by the Thai people. It is a way of life that can be traced back hundreds of years and past monarchs who still serve as models of sovereignty to this day.
Getting into Thailand
As one of the world’s 10 most popular tourist destinations, according to UNWTO, several international carriers fly into the country. You can choose to land in Bangkok, or popular tourist destinations such as Chiang Mai, Phuket and Ko Samui among others. You can take one of Thailand’s many low cost domestic flights once you’re in the country.
Entering Thailand overland will only get you a 15-day visa on arrive, as opposed to a 30-day visa on arrival by flight. Exempted from this rule are Malaysian passport holders entering Thailand from Malaysia, and travellers holding a passport from a G7 country.
BTS – Saladaeng station
MRT – Silom station
Teledirect Telecommerce (Thailand) Limited
42nd Floor, United Center Building,
323 Silom Road, Bangrak,
Bangkok 10500 Thailand