Thailand’s offerings don’t stop at its natural beauty and warm hospitality. Travelers can dig into the country’s past and get to know Thailand on a deeper level. With a vibrant heritage and ancient, rich history that reaches back thousands of years, there’s always something new to learn.
The earliest archaeological signs of human habitation in Thailand can be found in the Northeast villages of Ban Chiang and Ban Prasat, where evidence of rice cultivation dates back to 4000 BC. Over the next several thousand years, three major groups of people, the Mon, Khmer, and Thai, migrated south from China to present-day Thailand. The Mon settled in present day Myanmar, the Khmer moved to what is now Cambodia, and the Thais by 1200 had established dominance in three northern Thai states, Lanna, Sukhothai, and Phayao.
Today, Thailand has a constitutional monarchy. Since 1932, Thai kings have exercised their legislative powers by means of a cabinet headed by a prime minister and their judicial powers through the law courts.
Even though the primary religion is Buddhism, Thailand respects all religions. Thus, sizeable minorities of Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and others freely practice their respective faiths in Thailand under the King’s patronage. Theravada Buddhism, a descendant from Dvaravati Buddhism of the 10th century, is the professed religion of more than 95% of all Thais, and it casts a strong influence on daily life. Thailand is the only country in the world to successfully incorporate this form of Buddhism into its legal and moral structure.
The Thai language is a tonal language with 5 tones, 20 vowels, and 44 consonants. However, English is widely understood in most tourist areas, particularly Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, and Phuket. English is spoken in most hotels, shops, restaurants, banks, international offices, and car rental offices in major destinations.