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Facts on Thailand

11-24-2010 16:38 BJT

Thailand is considered to have a strategic location as the gateway to the Indochinese countries as it is situated right at the heart of mainland Southeast Asia.

It shares borders with Myanmar to the west and north, Lao P.D.R. to the north and northeast, Cambodia and the Gulf of Thailand to the east and Malaysia to the south.

Thailand’s landscapes vary from high mountains to fertile alluvial plains dotted with rice paddies to white sandy beaches and islands. The country is roughly divided into four distinct areas, each constituting a separate physical region. They are the north, the central plains or the Chao Phraya river basin, the northeast or the Korat Plateau, and the South or southern peninsula.

The north is a mountainous region comprising natural forests, ridges and deep, narrow alluvial valleys. Central Thailand is a lush, fertile valley. It is the richest and most extensive rice-producing area in the country and has often been called the Rice Bowl of Asia. Bangkok, the capital of Thailand is also located in this central region.

Thailand is about 1,000 km (620 miles) to the south of the Tropic Cancer, within the tropical monsoon zone of Southeast Asia. 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.

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