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Thailand

Thailand is situated in the heart of the Southeast Asian mainland, covering an area of 513,115 sq.km. and extends about 1,620 kilometres from north to south and 775 kilometres from east to west. Thailand borders the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Union of Myanmar to the North, the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Gulf of Thailand to the East, the Union of Myanmar and the Indian Ocean to the West, and Malaysia to the south.

Thailand was known for centuries by outsiders as Siam - a country as remote and exotic as Japan and China. It first made a real impression on the West at the end of the 17th century through the reports of a series of inquisitive Frenchmen. They were not the first Europeans to spend time in the kingdom, however. The Portuguese sent an envoy to the capital in 1511, shortly after they seized Malacca, joining resident Chinese, Japanese, Malays, and Persians to make the Siamese capital one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the vast region now known as Southeast Asia. Modern and predominantly Buddhist, it is a Southeast Asian kingdom whose ancient equilibrium and present standing mingle in evolving harmony.

Substantially, Thailand's distinctive and unparalleled characteristics stem from Indian and Chinese influences (harmoniously blended by Thai eclecticism), rich ethnic diversity, abundant natural and human resources, over seven hundred years of cherished independence, and a traditional culture delicately tuned to the time-honored Buddhist non-confrontational approach to life, and ideals of charity, tolerance, and loving kindness.

Tourism Authority of Thaniland