Southern Thailand’s gently undulating Gulf coast is famed above all for the Samui archipelago, three small, idyllic islands lying off the most prominent hump of the coastline. This is the country’s most popular seaside venue for independent travellers, and a lazy stay in a beachfront bungalow is so seductive a prospect that most people overlook the attractions of the mainland, where the sheltered sandy beaches and warm clear water rival the top sunspots in most countries. Added to that you’ll find scenery dominated by forested mountains that rise abruptly behind the coastal strip, and a sprinkling of historic sites.
Official name: Kingdom of Thailand a.k.a. ราชอาณาจักรไทย
Essential vocab: How are you?: สวัสดี (sà-wàt-dee) // Thanks: ขอบคุณ (kòp kun) // Cheers: chai-yoh!
Brews of note: Thai tea, Leo beer, Sang Som – Thai local rum
Favourite Bites: Som tum, Gai yang, Tom Sap, Tom Yum
Random fact: Within Thailand they use the Thai solar calendar, Suriyakhati , as the Siamese version of the Gregorian calendar. It is the legal calendar in Thailand however years are now counted in the Buddhist Era - BE - which began 543 years before the Christian Era. That means the year is actually 2558
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