People and Language
Thailand currently has a population of about 61.5 million (1998 estimate).

More than 95 per cent of Thais practice and profess Theravada Buddhism. A small percentage of Thais and most of the Malays in the south, approximately 4% of the total population, are followers of Islam. A further half a percent of the population follow the Christian belief, and another half percent are Confucians, Taoists, Mahayana Buddhists and Hindus. Although they practice different religious beliefs, the Thai people are able to live in complete harmony, unified and united through the strong faith and belief in the monarchy, with none of the problems experienced by many neighboring countries.

Thai is the national language in Thailand. English is widely understood, particularly in Bangkok, where it is almost the dominant commercial language. English is spoken in most hotels and restaurants and at major tourist destinations. However, in remote upcountry locations, getting along in English might be difficult. The local people will be delighted if you make the effort to speak a few words of Thai, no matter how falteringly.

Geography and Climate

Thailand is a humid, tropical country lying approximately between latitudes 6° and 21° north. It is located almost equidistant between India and China. Thailand covers an area of 513,115 sq km, (198,115 square miles), which is about the same size as France.
Its many beautiful tropical beaches and offshore islands distinguish the South, a narrow isthmus of land between the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Due to this different geographical location, the south of the country has a unique diversity of flora and fauna.
Thailand's climate is consequently warm and mild throughout the year, though there are slight differences in each particular region.
Roughly divided, there are three seasons: the cool season (November to February), the hot season (April to May), and the rainy season (June to October). Average temperatures are about 29° C, ranging in Bangkok from 35° C in April to 17° C in December. The northern region can be a bit cooler during the cool season, so visitors are advised to pack a sweater or light jacket at this time. Closer to the equator, the southern peninsula of Thailand has little seasonal variation in climate.

The best time to travel to Thailand is when the weather is cooler during mid-October to early March. It's OK to visit Thailand during the off-season too as the temperature is generally moderate throughout this period and there are always lots of festivals and activities all-year-round.

Culture & Religion  

Buddhism, monarchy and nationhood, the unique characteristics that make up ‘Thainess’.

The religion practiced most people in Bangkok is Buddhism, a way of living based on the Tripitaka, an ancient Pali script of the Lord Buddha’s teachings. Religion, along with monarchy and nationhood, is regarded as one of the three strengths of the nation, and is represented on the Thai flag by the color white.

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