The Country of the Month: Thailand

The Country of the Month for March is Thailand!

Thailand is such an intriguing country. I have two friends who went to Thailand last January and they came back absolutely mesmerized by the people, sights, and culture. Whenever anyone asks about their trip, they both exclaim it was the best place they have ever, ever, ever visited!  Another friend of mine, Kat, and her husband, Will, are currently serving in the peace corps in Thailand.
 Here is a picture of Kat cooking dinner  with her host family. 
Kat works in community planning and development.
Here is a picture of the preschool where she works
for part of the time:
This is Will participating in the longboat races. Can you spot him? He’s the “farang” which is Thai for Westerner. He’s the only one wearing a life jacket 🙂

Below are sites of Thailand, fun facts, and a historical timeline from Time Magazine’s online website:  This website is a wonderful resource for students, parents, and educators. I pulled just a few different articles from the website and inserted them below. Read on to find out more about the wonderful world of Thailand. Happy Reading! 

Tour Thailand’s most spectacular sites:

Chiang Mai
This popular vacation spot is located in Thailand’s northern mountains. Many historic temples can be found in this stunning area. The Wat Phra Sing temple was built in the 14th century and is one of the area’s most important Buddhist shrines. Each year in April,the most talked about Songkran Festival, which celebrates the Thai New Year, takes place in Chiang Mai.

Bangkok Bangkok Known as Krung Thep in Thai (which means “City of Angels”), Bangkok is the business and political center of Thailand. The population of about 12
million people is soaring in the capital city. Traffic and pollution are soaring, too. Bangkok features some of Thailand’s most breathtaking architectural structures, including the Grand Palace. It is also home to a modern Skytrain and subway system. A hot spot is
Ratchada Road, which is often compared to
New York City’s Times Square.

Khao Yai National Park Khao Yai National Park boasts a range of wildlife including Asiatic black bears, Asian elephants and bats that spend their days in caves. It is one of the country’s oldest parks and covers one of Thailand’s most ecologically diverse regions. Khao Yai means “big mountain.” Its peaks reach higher than 4,000 feet in some areas.

Ko Phuket
Beautiful beaches and scenery make Ko Phuket one of the most popular tourist spots on the continent of Asia. Known as the “Pearl of the South,” Ko Phuket is located just off the west coast of Southern Thailand. Sadly, in 2004, massive waves called a tsunami devastated the area and killed thousands. As the area is rebuilt, locals are welcoming the return of visitors 
from all over the world.

Fact File – Get to know Thailand. Learn about its land, products and culture.

Official name: Kingdom of Thailand
Size: 198,456 square miles; slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming
Capital: Bangkok
Population: 65,444,371 as of July 2005
Population Under Age 14: 23.9%
Official language: Thai
Currency: Baht
Religion: Buddhist 94.6%, Muslim 4.6%, Christian 0.7%, other 0.1%
Literacy: 92.6%
Climate: Warm, humid and rainy mid-May to October; cool and dry November to mid-March
Agriculture: Rice, cassava, corn, sugarcane, coconuts
Resources: Tin, rubber, natural gas, timber, lead, fish
Major Industries: Tourism, clothing, beverages, cement, furniture, plastics

History Timeline

Thais begin moving from southern China into what is now Thailand.
A unified Thai kingdom is established under the rule of King Ramathibodi. A series of kings follow, ruling what was then known as Siam.
A British-French treaty guarantees independence for the new country.
A bloodless revolution ends the absolute monarchy. The royal family is replaced by a representational government.
Siam officially changes its name to Thailand.
Japan invades Thailand in World War II, forcing Thailand to fight with Japan in the war.
Thailand takes back a declaration of war against the United States and Britain. After the war, it becomes an ally of the U.S.
Thailand becomes the 55th member of the United Nations.
Thailand is involved in conflicts in the neighboring countries of Cambodia and Vietnam. The U.S. maintains military bases in Thailand during the Vietnam War.
A major stock market crash devastates Thailand’s economy. The baht, Thailand’s unit of money, drops in value.
A devastating tsunami strikes. Giant waves hit the western coast and islands of Thailand and 10 other nations, killing hundreds of thousands of people.
A team of eight elephants in Thailand team up to create what may be the largest painting ever made by the mammals. 

Talented Trunks! Eight elephants team up in Thailand to create the largest painting ever made by the mammals

Elephants paint during their record attempt.

A team of eight elephants in Thailand may have broken the world record for the most expensive painting ever made by pachyderms. They created the work of art using their trunks and plenty of natural artistic ability.

Elephants pose for group photo next to their painting.

The Making of a Masterpiece
The elephants’ painting is an abstract work of art that shows a scene in northern Thailand. It is called “Cold Wing, Swirling Mist, Charming Lanna.” It is about 8 feet by 26 feet and was painted on a canvas. The canvas was propped upright so that the elephants, working in groups of two or three, could easily paint standing up.
To create their masterpiece, the elephants held the paintbrushes in their trunks and guided their brushes along the canvas. They were aided by trainers and two human artists. They also got a little help picking out colors.

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