At 514,000 km² (198,000 square miles), Thailand is the world’s 49th-largest country. It is comparable in size to France, and somewhat larger than California. Thailand shares international borders with Laos to the north, Cambodia to the east, Malaysia to the south, and Myanmar to the west. It is possible to cross overland with all of Thailand’s neighbours.

Thailand is home to 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 (8451 feet). 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. South Thailand consists of the narrow Kra Isthmus that widens into the Malay Peninsula.

The climate is tropical and characterised by monsoons. There is a rainy, warm, and cloudy southwest monsoon from mid-May to September, as well as a dry, cool northeast monsoon from November to mid-March. The southern isthmus is always hot and humid.

The islands lined with palms overhanging gorgeous beaches; superb cuisine; a rich cultural heritage; exotic rainforests; cheap shopping; hundreds of temples and religious artifacts dating back centuries; ancient villages stowed away in hidden corners of the land – this is Thailand, one of the greatest travel experiences you are ever likely to experience.

Thailand (ประเทศไทย) means the Land of Thai or humans and it is an unmissable destination, from the busy capital Bangkok, to the relaxed island of Phuket. Buddhist temples and statues are a-plenty, as Thailand towers above the rest of South East Asia in sheer volume of historical delights. Perhaps the fact that Thailand is the only Southeast Asian nation never to have been ruled by a European power is partly responsible for the wealth of history represented throughout the country, kept alive through the ages. Whatever the reason be, nothing can detract from the extraordinary pleasures Thailand offers its visitors.

The region known as Thailand has been inhabited by humans since the Paleolithic period, about 10,000 years ago. Similar to other regions in Southeast Asia, it was heavily influenced by the culture and religions of India, starting with the kingdom of Funan around the 1st century Ad.

The Thai people migrated to Thailand from their ancestral home in southern China into mainland Southeast Asia around the 10th century AD. Before this, Tavaravadi (Mon), Khmer and Srivijaya Kingdoms had dominated the region. The Thais established their own states, beginning with Lanna (Chiangmai, Chiangrai) in the far north Sukhothai (founded in 1238, the close period as Lanna) and the Ayutthaya Kingdom (mid 14th century) until the present Rattanakosin or Bangkok in the 18th century.

Much later, the European colonial powers threatened to take over Thailand in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but Thailand survived as the only Southeast Asian state to avoid complete colonial rule. The Thai kings Rama IV, V and VI have often been praised for their politics, which succeeded in avoiding colonial rule in Thailand. Nevertheless, contemporary Thailand is smaller than before, before the 19th century the Kingdom of Thailand extended into parts of eastern Cambodia southern Laos and some of the northern state of Malaysia.

There exists quite an amount of literature on this topic for those who are interested in deeper insight. After the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932, Thailand democracy has been slowly developed through the period of time with many obstruction from corruption problem which lead to the coup de tat situation by soldier for many times. If you are really curious and want an insight in Thai history from early Bangkok period, then read Pen and Sail by Nithi Eawsiiwong, a renowned Thai historian.