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Thailand translates as ‘the land of the free’, a name that stems from the fact that Thailand is the only country in its region that has never been colonized. A constitutional monarchy, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej recently celebrated 60 years on the throne and remains the world’s longest reigning monarch.
Thailand's Seasons and Geography:
|Cool season||Nov - Jan||20-32 degrees||Low|
|Hot season||Feb – May||34-36 degrees||Medium|
|Wet season||Jun - Oct||34-36 degrees||High|
The country has 76 provinces and is geographically divided into four regions, each with a different dialect, traditions and lifestyle:
Major Thai industries include agriculture, fishing, tourism and real estate. The real estate sector has burgeoned from touristic exposure and today the markets in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Samui and Phuket are very strong.
Behaviour & Dress at Religious Sites
In Thailand there are many Buddhist temples, or wats as they are known. Visiting one of these is a delightful experience, but be aware that you are in a place of worship, and though Thais are unlikely to say anything if you do not, you should dress appropriately. Don't wear shorts, bikini tops or anything you would not wear to church, mosque or synagogue. Do not touch monks, but show them due respect, as Thais do. When entering any of the buildings in a wat, leave your shoes at the door.
For Thais, a person's head is where the soul resides. So don't touch people on the head. Conversely, the feet are regarded as the lowest - and lowliest - part of the body. Don't use your feet to point at things and especially not at people. Keep them on the ground and soles facing downward. This is especially important in wats. Never point your feet toward any Buddha figure or image when in front of it. In temples, private homes and many offices, people leave their shoes at the door, so slip-on shoes are definitely the way to go.
Respect the Royal Family
His Majesty King Bhumibol and the Royal Family are revered by the Thai people, who may be deeply offended by any display of any disrespect toward them, no matter how innocent or unintended.
Bargain in good humour
As with many parts of the Far East, bargaining over prices is expected in Thailand. But remember, haggling is not an argument; it's an enjoyable game of wits. So take your time and enjoy the game. Never lose your temper in any circumstances. It will get you nowhere. In fact, you will lose respect because you're obviously a person who cannot control their emotions. Do smile as much as possible. You'll find it does wonders for your soul and your mind, changes your whole outlook and adds another dimension to your holiday. Thais will always smile back. This is, after all, the Land of Smiles.
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