Geography & Weather

GEOGRAPHY

The kingdom of Thailand lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it a natural gateway to Indochina, Myanmar, and Southern China.  Its shape and geography divide the country into four natural regions: the mountains and forests of the North; the vast rice fields of the Central Plains; the semi-arid farm lands of the Northeast plateau; and the tropical islands and long coastlines of the Southern peninsula.

The country is comprised of 76 provinces, which are further divided into districts, sub-districts, and villages.  Bangkok is the capital city and center of political, commercial, industrial, and cultural activities.  It is also the seat of Thailand's revered Royal Family, with His Majesty the King recognised as Head of State, Head of the Armed Forces, Upholder of the Buddhist religion, and Upholder of all religions.

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy headed by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, or King Rama IX, the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty, the present king.  The King has reigned for more than 65 years, making him the longest reigning monarch in the world today, as well as the longest reigning in Thai history.  Thailand embraces a rich diversity of cultures and traditions.  With its proud history, tropical climate, and renowned hospitality, the Kingdom is a never-ending source of fascination and pleasure for international visitors.
 

WEATHER

Thailand can best be described as tropical and humid for the majority of the country during most of the year.  The area of Thailand north of Bangkok has a climate distinguished by three seasons, while the southern peninsular region of Thailand has only two.

In northern Thailand, the weather is mostly dry from November to May.  However, this period can be further subdivided into two periods with distinctively different weather characteristics.  The earlier period, November to February, exhibits much cooler temperatures due to the cooling effects of the monsoons that bring significant rain to the northeastern region, while the later period, March to May, brings higher temperatures, which is why it is usually referred to as "summer" in Thailand.

The rest of the year, June to October, is dominated by the southwestern monsoons, during which rainfall in the north is at its heaviest.

The southern region of Thailand really has only two seasons -- wet and dry.  However, these seasons do not run at the same time on the east and west sides of the peninsula.  On the west coast, the southwest monsoon season brings rain, frequently quite heavy, from April through October, while on the east coast, most of the rainfall is seen between September and December.  Overall, the southern parts of Thailand get the most rain, by a good margin - around 240 cm annually compared to the central and northern regions, both of which get only around 140 cm of rainfall.