February / March 2014



514,000 km²
(12.4x the Netherlands)


UTC +7


Thai, Chinese, Malaysian, English

Highest point

Doi Inthanon - 2,590 m


The first official flag was adopted in 1855 by King Rama IV. A white elephant on a red background. The current flag dates from 1917 and exists of five horizontal stripes in the colors red, white, blue, white and red. The middle blue strip is twice as wide as the other four. The three colors red, white and blue consecutively symbolize the nation, religion and the king.


The monsoon season in south-east Asia is from May until October. Most precipitation is from June to August. In the afternoon or evening Short heavy showers occur in the afternoon or evening and they only last a short time. December to March is the best time to visit South-east Asia. The table below shows the average temperature.

Chiang Mai

Temp. (°C) Jan Apr Jul Okt
max 28 36 31 31
min 13 22 23 21


Temp. (°C) Jan Apr Jul Okt
max 31 35 32 31
min 20 25 24 24

The baht is the currency of Thailand and originally stands for a weight of 15 grams of silver. Until 1925, the silver tical was used, which had a weight of 15 grams. Depicted on the banknote is king Bhumibol (Rama IX). He was king of Siam and Thailand from 1946 until his death in 2016 making him the longest reigning king in the world.



Bangkok is located on the Chao Phraya River. King Taksin founded his capital Thonburi on the west bank after the fall of Ayutthaya. His successor Chakri, King Rama I, moved the capital to the east bank to Rattakosin island. During the early days of the city most people lived on the river or the channels, usually in floating houses. The waterways were the main way of transporting goods and farmers depended on it for irrigation. These channels are one of Bangkok's main attractions. Another way to discover the city is a bike ride through the narrow alleys of Chinatown and the quieter part of Thonburi.

Bangkok has beautiful temple complexes. What Arun (temple of Dawn) is located at the west bank of the Chao Praya River. This Buddhist temple complex is named after the Hindu God Aruna, God of the Dawn. The temple was built during the reign of Rama I and II. The temple has a central tower (prang) which is 86 meters high. It is richly decorated with pieces of porcelain.

Wat Pho is the largest and oldest Buddhist temple in Bangkok and is known for its reclining Buddha which is 46 meters long and 15 meters high. The 80,000 m² site contains 91 chedis (stupas), 4 viharas (hall) and a bot (central shrine). 71 smaller chedis contain the ashes of the royal family and the remaining 21 larger ones contain the ashes of Buddha. The 16 entrance gates are guarded by stone Chinese giants which were originally used as ballast on merchant ships. The temple is also the birthplace of traditional Thai massage.

The easiest transport in Bangkok are the numerous colorful taxis. They are rather cheap. Traffic is quiet on weekends. From Monday through Friday there is always a large traffic jam of vehicles into town.

The Ayutthaya Kingdom existed from 1351 to 1767. King Ramathibodi I founded it as capital in 1351. In 1376 he took over the kingdom of Sukhothai. At the end of the 14th century, Ayutthaya was considered the strongest power in Southeast Asia but it lacked the manpower to control the region. Burmese armies conquered Ayutthaya in 1569 and this happened again in 1765. Ayutthaya fell in 1767 after a siege of many months and it was completely destroyed. The temple ruins are scattered over the new city. In Ayutthaya's most photographed object is a face of Buddha surrounded by tree roots. You can find it in the Wat Phra Mahathat, built during the reign of King Ramesuan in 1374. This is one of the largest and most beautiful temple complexes of Ayutthaya.

Phra Chao Phanan Choeng is a seated Buddha of 19 meters high which is located in the Wat Phanan Choeng. The monastery was built in 1324. It is very important to the inhabitants of Ayutthaya

The Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, better known as Wat Yai is located in Phitsanulok The temple was built in 1357 by King Phaya Lithai (King Maha Thammaradscha I of Sukhothai). The temple is famous for the golden Buddha statue 'Phra Phuttha Cinnarat' which is considered by many to be the most beautiful image of Thailand. Opposite the temple is a school. Before lessons begin, the school band plays and the students sing the national anthem.

Wat Rong Khun is located on the outskirts of Chiang Rai. This white temple is an unconventional Buddhist temple. Chalermchai Kositpipat (Kosit) started construction in 1998. The temple is still not finished. The temple has already cost more than 18 million baht (about 360,000 euros) and work continues for at least five years. Kosit planned eight buildings in total. The white color symbolizes religious grace.

Chiang Mai (New City) was founded by King Mangrai. It was the capital of the kingdom of Lanna from 1296 to 1768 and belonged to the kingdom of Chiang Mai from 1774 to 1939. It is located 700 km from Bangkok among the highest mountains in Thailand on the Ping River, a tributary of the Chao Phraya.

Wat Chiang Man temple in Chiang Mai was built in 1297. It was the first temple of the city and is located at the location of Wiang Nopiburi, a fortified city of the Lawa people which was used as a camp by King Mangrai during the construction of his new capital. Chedi Chang Lom - the 'elephant Chedi' is the oldest building in the complex. The 15 life-size elephants seem to carry the upper part of the chedi.

Just outside Chiang Mai is the important temple Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, built in the 16th century. It is located on the 1600 meter high mountain Doi Suthep. The staircase with the naga balustrade in front of the entrance has 306 steps.

A bike ride through the countryside in the Chiang Mai area is highly recommended. Also make sure you are in Chiang Mai during the weekend. Ratchadamnoen Street from the eastern Tha Pae gate from the old town to the Wat Chedi Luang is closed on Sunday for a very large and cozy market.