Luxury Villa Resorts in Thailand

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The Kingdom of Thailand attracts more visitors than any other country in southeast Asia with its irresistible combination of breathtaking natural beauty, inspiring temples, notorious hospitality, robust cuisine and ruins of fabulous ancient kingdoms. Thailand is the land of smiles, offering timeless serenity inextricably interwoven with Thai Buddhist heritage, few countries are so well endowed.

Thai mainland offers varied delights, from the remote island-like paradise of Krabi in the south to the former capital Chiang-Mai in the north. The present day capital, Bangkok, has congested noisy streets and the vitality of the canal networks of klongs with their floating markets; this is a true city of contrasts, from the serenity and beauty of the glittering temples to the extravagance of the nightlife. South from Bangkok is Phuket, a fast developing island of tropical plantations and mountain rainforest. Like Phuket, the stunning island of Koh Samui is increasingly popular- but still a mercifully unspoiled retreat. Thailand offers something for every type of traveller.

Thailand was formally the Kingdom of Thailand and is a country in Southeast Asia. To its east, lie Laos and Cambodia; to its south, the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia; and to its west, the Andaman Sea and Myanmar. Its capital and largest city is Bangkok which is one of the largest cities in the world.

Thailand has several distinct geographic regions, partly corresponding to the provincial groups. The north of the country is mountainous, with the highest point being Doi Inthanon at 2,576 metres. The northeast consists of the Khorat Plateau, bordered to the east by the Mekong river. The centre of the country is dominated by the predominantly flat Chao Phraya river valley, which runs into the Gulf of Thailand. The south consists of the narrow Kra Isthmus that widens into the Malay Peninsula.

Thai cuisine blends five fundamental tastes: sweet, spicy, sour, bitter and salty. Common ingredients used in Thai cuisine include garlic, chillies, lime juice, lemon grass, and fish sauce. The staple food in Thailand is rice, particularly jasmine variety rice (also known as Hom Mali rice) which is included in almost every meal.

Theravada Buddhism is central to modern Thai identity and belief. In practice, Thai Buddhism has evolved over time to include many regional beliefs originating from animism as well as ancestor worship. In areas in the southernmost parts of Thailand, Islam is prevalent. Ethnic Chinese also form a significant part of Thai society, particularly in and around Bangkok.

The standard greeting in Thailand is a prayer-like gesture called the wai. Taboos include touching someone's head or pointing with the feet, as the head is considered the most sacred and the foot the dirtiest part of the body. Stepping over someone, or over food, is considered insulting. However, Thai culture as in many other Asian cultures, is succumbing to the influence of westernization and some of the traditional taboos are slowly fading away with time.

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