Did you know that…?

The only good is knowledge; and the only evil is ignorance. (Socrates, 469 BC – 399 BC)
•    Thailand is made up of over 1,400 islands; Koh means ‘island’
•    The total land area is approx 513,000 sq kms (198,000 sq miles)
•    Koh Samui is Thailand’s 3rd largest island with an area of 233 sq kms (90 sq miles)
•    Thailand is the world’s 50th largest country, about the same size as France, or California in the USA
•    Thailand has a population of 64 million, similar to France and the UK
•    Koh Samui’s population is approximately 50,000
•    Thailand is divided into 75 provinces, grouped into 5 larger areas
•    There are two special districts: that of Bangkok and Pattaya
•    Each province is subdivided into districts, and then into sub-districts
•    Koh Samui is a district (Amphoe) in the Surat Thani Province (Changwat), and it is subdivided into 7 Sub-districts (Tambon)
•    Thailand is the 21st most populous country in the world
•    The official language is Thai
•    The currency is the Baht (THB): approx 30 to 1 US$, 43 to 1 Euro, 49 to £1 and 30 to 1 Australian $ (AUD) (as at March 2011)
•    The country’s primary religion is Theravada Buddhism (95%)
•    It was called Siam until 23 June 1939 when it was renamed Thailand; in 1945 it reverted to Siam, then again became Thailand on 11 May 1949
•    It’s in southeast Asia, between the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand
•    It shares borders with Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia
•    Koh Samui is in the Gulf of Thailand, and close to the South China Sea
•    Thailand is a kingdom
•    King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the 9th king of the House of Chakri
•    he has ruled since 1946 and is the longest-reigning Thai monarch and the world’s longest ruling head of state
•    75% of the population are Thai; 14% are of Chinese origin; 3% are ethnically Malay and the remaining 8% include Khmers, Mons and hill tribes
•    Thailand is the only country in southeast Asia never to have been colonised by a European country
•    The national sport is Thai boxing (Muah Thai), with association football hard on its heels
•    Thai cuisine aims to balance the five fundamental tastes: hot, sour, sweet, salty and bitter
•    There are five types of chillies used in Thai cuisine:
o    1. the smallest is the hottest and is known as phrik khi nu suan (garden mouse-dropping chilli)
o    2. next hottest is phrik khi nu (mouse-dropping chilli)
o    3. then green or red phrik chi fa (ski pointing chilli)
o    4. then the pale green, larger and least spicy phrik yuak
o    5. then the slightly spicier dried chillies – phrik haeng
•    Thai people value kindness, calmness, gratitude and relationships.  They are cheerful, playful and always look on the bright side of things, and they are renowned for their hospitality.

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