Thailand, A Magical Place

Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand, and formerly known as Siam, is a magical land located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia.

Thailand National Emblem
National Emblem of Thailand, depicting a dancing Garuda with outstretched wings. The Garuda symbolizes the government and people of Thailand, as Lord Vishnu symbolizes King of Thailand.

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Thailand is bordered to the north by Burma, also known as Myanmar, and to the north and east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Burma. Thailand's maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, plus Indonesia and India in the Andaman Sea to the southwest.

Flag of Thailand

This hase been the national flag of Kingdom of Thailand since the year 2460 of the Buddhist Era; there are a total of 3 colours:

  • Red represents the blood spilt to protect Thailand's independence and often more simply described as representing the nation.
  • White represents the religion of Buddhism, the predominant religion of the nation
  • Blue represents the monarchy, which is recognized as the centre of Thai hearts.

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy. The king of Thailand is titled Head of State, Head of the Armed Forces, the Upholder of the Buddhist religion, and the Defender of all Faiths.

Thailand Facts...
Thailand is the 51s largest country in the world in terms of total area, with an area of approximately 513,000 km2. It is the 20th most populous country on the planet, with almost 65 million people. The country's capital and largest city is Bangkok, which is Thailand's political, commercial, industrial and cultural hub. About 75% of the population is ethnically Thai, 14% is of Chinese origin, and 3% is ethnically Malay. The rest belong to minority groups including Mons, Khmers and various hill tribes. The country's official language is Thai. The primary religion is Buddhism, which is practiced by around 95% of the population. There are approximately 2.2 million legal and illegal migrants in Thailand, and the country has attracted a good number of expatriates from developed countries.

Related pages: Bangkok | Phang Nga Bay

Thailand is an industrialized country and a major exporter with a solid economy. As well as manufacturing and export, tourism contributes significantly to the Thai economy.

Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia never colonized by a European power. The Thai people describe their country using the phrase "land of the free" to express their pride in never having been dominated by European, colonial powers, as was the fate of their neighbours.

Thailand remaining independent of European colonization has been ascribed to the long succession of able rulers in the past four centuries who exploited the rivalry and tension between French Indochina and the British Empire. As a result, the country remained a buffer state between parts of Southeast Asia that were colonized by the two colonizing powers, Great Britain and France. Western influence nevertheless led to many reforms in the 19th century, as well as major concessions to remain independent. Most notable of the concessions was the loss of a large territory on the east side of the Mekong to the French, and the gradual absorption of the Malay Peninsula by Britain.

During World War II, the Empire of Japan demanded the right to move troops across Thailand to the Malayan frontier. Japan invaded the country and engaged the Thai Army for a few hours before Plaek Pibulsonggram ordered an armistice. Shortly thereafter, Japan was granted free passage through Thailand. On 21 December 1941, Thailand and Japan signed a military alliance with a secret protocol in which Tokyo agreed to help Thailand regain territories lost to the British and French. Subsequently, Thailand declared war on the United States and the United Kingdom on 25 January 1942 and undertook to "assist" Japan in its war against the Allies. However, at the same time Thailand maintained an active, anti-Japanese resistance movement known as the Seri Thai. It was during WW2 that approximately 200,000 Asian labourers and 60,000 Allied POWs worked on the Thailand–Burma Death Railway.

Thailand became a Cold War ally of the United States at the end of World War II. During the Cold War, Thailand then went through decades of political instability with numerous coups d'état, as one military regime replaced another. However, the country eventually became a stable democracy in the 1980s.

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Jackfruit Is A Thai Staple

Jackfruit, also known as "Khanun" in Thai, is a stable of the Thai diet, and is the largest edible tree fruit in the world. The fruit can grow to as long as 732 cm (24 inches), and can weigh as much as 34 kg (75 pounds). A jackfruit is prickly on the outside and looks much like a durian. The spiky skin is yellow-green, and the pulp inside is yellow. The jackfruit will sometimes have an unpleasant smell.

 

Jackfruit Tree

 

Once a jackfruit is split open, the pods or "bulbs" are revealed. Often referred to as the seeds, these bulbs are actually a kind of fleshy covering for the true seeds or pit, which is round and dark like a chestnut. The fleshy part, the "bulb", can be eaten as is, or cut up and cooked. When unripe (green), it is remarkably similar in texture to chicken, making jackfruit an excellent vegetarian substitute for meat. In fact, canned jackfruit preserved in brine is often referred to as "vegetable meat".

 

Jackfruit can also be purchased frozen or dried, as well as canned. Canned jack fruit is either packed in brine, usually when it is unripe, or in syrup when it is ripe and sweet. If using fresh jackfruit, it's a good idea to oil your knife and hands first before cutting, as the fruit is very sticky.

 

Jackfruit contains many vitamins and minerals, and it offers numerous health benefits. The fruit's isoflavones, antioxidants, and phytonutrients mean that jackfruit has cancer-fighting properties. It is also known to help cure ulcers and indigestion.