A Little History About Thailand – and Thai Food Facts

A Little Bit About Thailand!

History

Ao Nang Beach, ThailandThailand was called Siam starting in 1939. Thailand as a country has never been colonized by a foreign nation unlike Laos, Cambodia and other Asian countries.

Thailand’s culture, politics, economics and social aspects have all changed in a great procession of steps.

Thailand’s development started in the 13th century. Thailand amassed a lot of ancient customs and cultures. This blend of customs and culture has created a Thai-ness that is uniquely its own. Thai means free. Thai people call Thailand Bra-teht Thai meaning country of the free. In English was call it Free-land. It is not quite free – but it is probably at a steeply discounted cost of living compared to your home country!

Geographical Area

Thailand is located in Southeast of the continent of Asia. Thailand’s geographical area covers over 513,000 square kilometers. It runs nearly 1,620 kilometers from the northernmost to the southern most points and over 770 km measuring from east to west.

Thailand borders four other countries: Myanmar (Burma) on the west side; Myanmar and Laos on the North and East sides; and Cambodia and Malaysia (Thais say, Gamboosha) on the southern side. The longest border Thailand has is with the Andaman sea though! Thailand has many incredibly scenic beaches along the coast.

Thailand is located between the latitude 5˚ 37″ N. with 20˚ 27″ N. and between longitude 97˚ 22″ E. with 105˚ 37″ E. in the Low Latitude Zone between the equator and tropic of cancer. This means Thailand is in the tropics, or the Tropical Zone.

Terrain and Weather

Since, Thailand is in the Tropic Zone, the climate is not too hot, not too cold or not too dry. Therefore Thailand is a warm and rather humid tropical country with monsoonal climate.

Temperatures are highest in March and April with average temperature of 28 degree Celsius to 38 degrees Celsius and humidity averaging between 82.8 percent to 73 percent. There are 3 seasons in Thailand though in certain parts of the country one weather pattern may dominate for the good part of the year.

Rainy Season: mid May to mid November. There are raining in early July and raining all over the country. The most raining is in September, overall. In the southern provinces of Phuket, Krabi, and Trang the rainy season lasts pretty much all year with a slight break in January. The most rain is received in October and November usually.

Winter Season: mid November to mid February. There are heavy raining and flooding in the southern of Thailand. Therefore, this season is not good for traveling along the west bank of Thailand. It never snows in Thailand but if you spend time in the far north during December to February you might be waiting for it. It does get almost freezing cold during those months in the far north.

Summer Season: mid February to mid May. April is the hottest month in the season. This is when Thais celebrate their new year, Songkran with a water throwing festival. It’s appropriate because the temperatures reach 40 degrees Celsius all over the country during this time.

Agriculture: Most of the areas are of a plain topography which is suitable for agriculture.

By far the most important crop in all of Thailand is, as you can probably guess, RICE! This is the main export of the country and Thailand is the top producer of rice across the globe. Thailand’s fragrant Jasmine rice is considered the best in the world.

Other farmed foods include corn, sugar cane, vegetables and fruits. Thailand exports large quantities of bananas, long an, durian, custard apples (sugar apples), grapes, oranges, watermelons, pineapple, cabbage, some Chinese vegetables, tomatoes and more.

Another export that is grown in Thailand is Teak Wood – used primarily to build boats for its strength and water resistance.


Population

Thailand’s population is relatively homogeneous. More than 85% speak a dialect of Thai and share a common culture. This core population includes the central Thai (34% of the population, including Bangkok), Northeastern Thai (34%), northern Thai (19%), and southern Thai (13%). 90% of population have Thai Nationality and another 10% are of different nationality. The population of Thailand is about sixty-seven million people.

There are smaller groups of local Thais, mountain-dwelling tribes, such as the Hmong and Mein, and Karen hill tribe that number about 200,000 to 500,000.

Language

The language of the central Thai population is the language taught in all schools and used in government. Everyone refers to this as “Bangkok Thai” or Bangkok dialect. Those Thais living near a bordering country usually grow up speaking the foreign tongue as well. My friend here can speak Bangkok Thai, Isaan Thai, Laos, and Cambodian (Khmer).

Government

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with a democratic form of government. If you are not counting the recent military coup which ended in 2007 after lasting one year. For 76 years Kings of Thailand have exercised their constitutional legislative powers through a bicameral National Assembly comprised of a House of Representatives elected by popular vote and a Senate appointed by the King with the PM (Prime Minister’s recommendation. Thai Kings exercise executive powers through the cabinet headed by a prime minister, and judicial powers through the law courts. While not directly involved in Thailand’s political life, Thailand’s King exerts a strong moral influence on carefully selected issues. Thailand’s present King is so well revered that nearly a million well-wishers gathered for his 80th birthday.

Food and Fruit of Thailand

Thai food is internationally famous both for its taste and aesthetics. Whether hot chili spiced or bland, harmony between ingredients and tastes is the guiding principle behind each Thai food dish.

Thai cuisine is a rich fusion of centuries-old Eastern and Western influences harmoniously combined into something uniquely and deliciously Thai.

Perhaps the most famous two food dishes from Thailand available at nearly every Thai food restaurant in the western world are Pad Thai (stir-fried noodles) and Tom Yum Goong (Spicy and Sour Shrimp soup).

Regions of Thailand tend to flavor their foods and use certain ingredients a little different from other regions. There are generally these distinctions.

Northern Food: such as Nam Prig Num, Hungla Curry and Sai Oury.

Central Food: such as Tai Pla Curry, Nam Prig Ong, Tom Jerd, Geng Som, Nam Prig and Pla Too.

Northeastern Food: such as Lahp (Minced meat), Som Tam (spicy green papaya salad), Gai Yang (Grilled Chicken), and Bla Rah (fermented fish paste). Isaan is known for it’s spicy chili dishes.

Southern Food: such as Geng Liang, Nam Bpoo Doo, which are hotter than other parts of Thailand, but nothing tops the Northeast (Isaan) region for hot spicy foods. I think the south is more known for it’s sour foods. They tend to like a little bit more lemon / lime in their Thai food dishes.

Author: Joy B

Sawasdee Ka! I'm Joy, the owner of Joy's Thai Food Recipe & Cooking blog. I have been cooking since I was little with my mom and aunts in northeast Thailand. I want to share my childhood Thai recipes with you. Please help me make this the best site I can by completing my survey! :) Joy To contact me use the email address below, or find me at Google+.

10 thoughts on “A Little History About Thailand – and Thai Food Facts”

  1. this was great, really good information for assignments ect. I am part thai and love thai food. thankyou very much !

  2. I have noticed while in Thailand, chili is a signature of Thai cuisine and of South East Asian cuisine. There is no mention of chili being a contribution made by Native Americans to Thailand and the world. You see, chili was domesticated in MesoAmerica (today, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras), then brought to Europe and Asia. As I can tell, South East Asian, love their adopted spice. I just can’t believe how much of it they can eat.

  3. I found the information very fascinating,interesting and im evens more exciting in teaching English in Thailand

  4. This has been great information for my project on Thailand! I will make sure I put a reference at the end of it to say who it was from! Thanks again.
    Lucy Smith

  5. This is very good information for my assignment, It is about the culture and food of Thailand and it is for home ec. Thank you so much for this information. I will put a refference down to say where i got the ideas of my assignment from. Love annon xo

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