General Information: Thailand & Asia
Culture, religion and art in Asia
A trip to Thailand is particularly sensitive and joy. Maybe you feel a little naive to speak well of this enchanted land, but there is nothing naive, nothing trivial. Cheerfulness and kindness are really distinctive features of this area of south-east Asia, to the point that Thailand is also known as the Land of Smiles. Location fascinating for its culture and nature, thanks to the landscapes streaked with sand and ocean, home to a vibrant population, tolerant and peaceful. All these elements make Thailand a place of great attraction for any curious visitor, lover of natural spaces or bustling cities, ancient traditions but also new urban ultra-luxurious. Emblem of this country is its capital, the multi ethnic Bangkok. Known also as the “Venice of Asia” is ready to transport you between the colours of its many markets, to offer you a delicious Thai cuisine and marvel you with its distinctive architecture. But the scenery changes dramatically if you move on the banks emerald water of the Gulf of Thailand or the coast of the Andaman Sea; or if it continues north, where the most spectacular Buddhist temples is inlay between the nature of the mountains and mingle with many ethnic groups of the tribes of the mountains.
The population of Thailand
The population of Thailand is now the result of a mix of different ethnic groups: Thai, Mon, Khmer, Laotian, Chinese, Malay, Persian, Indian. The underlying theme of this mix is that the Buddhist tradition with its rituals marking the course of the day for many people and especially some special times of the year, dedicated to the traditional festivities. Never colonized by foreign powers, Thailand has preserved culture and traditions faithfully handed down from father to son. And perhaps this is the most important aspect: when you stay draw to a close, there will be a deep feeling of peace and serenity, the desire to return again in the Land of Smiles, because its scents, experiences and images have a history ancient destined to remain indelible in your thoughts.
The territory of Thailand or Siam
The Kingdom of Thailand is made up of four main regions:
The Central Plains: Central Thailand consists of twenty-four provinces, the centre of which is located in Bangkok. The dense network of rivers and canals makes this region very fertile, as the endless plantations of sugar cane, rice, pineapple and many varieties of fruit. Some of the oldest settlements in Thailand, as the city of Ayutthaya ( the old capital of Thailand ), are located right in this area, and still home of ancient temples and markets plunged in the architectural ruins of the past.
The North: the northern mountains are still the home of the ancient tribes in Thailand. These mountain areas have a wild nature, dotted with waterfalls, lakes and unusual paths. The region of the North is the true focus of origin of the first Thai Kingdom, for this reason the tour that cross offer an authentic witness of the cultural tradition and of the Thai architecture.
The North-East: this region known as “I-Saan” extends the ancient Khorat Plateau and is called the paddy in Thailand. Compared to other areas of the country here the life is slower and the people retain the same friendliness and the most ancient traditions that were once widespread throughout the Kingdom. In the ancient temples that you can visit in this area you can recognize the influence both Lao and Khmer.
The South: wet from the crystalline waters of the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, this region is a paradise for lovers of the beaches, relaxation and water sports (snorkelling, fishing d ‘deep sea, diving, etc.). The landscape of southern Thailand is characterized by lively fishing villages, colourful fishing boats, and white sand beaches set in a beautiful setting of tropical vegetation.
Buddhism in Thailand
A trip to Thailand is also an opportunity to get in touch with the wisdom of ancient traditions and cultures. Theravada Buddhism, which is derived from Dvaravati Buddhism of the tenth century, is the religion professed by more than 96% of the Thai population and exerts a strong influence on daily life. Thailand is the only country in the world to have successfully integrated this form of Buddhism into its legal and moral.
In addition to a clear morality, which guarantees a strong social cohesion and offers remarkable spiritual support, Buddhism has provided input for the creation of an unparalleled artistic heritage. How Christianity has influenced the construction of the medieval cathedrals in Europe, so the Buddhism in Thailand has inspired the creation of countless temples covering multiple, to serve the community in the tradition of the Buddha.
Testimonial this strong roots of religion, is the presence of intact ancient Buddhist tradition within families: for example, made 20 years, males Buddhist priests are consecrated for a period which can last from five days to three months. This takes place during the annual Rain Retreat, a period during which all the monks retire in prayer hoping for a good harvest.
Thai temples, as well as supporting the monastic communities, have always been the place of shelter for the homeless, and have played a lot of other services for the entire community, becoming schools and hospitals. Pillar of Buddhism, tolerance teaches respect for all religions in Thailand allowing the peaceful coexistence of minority Muslim, Christian and Hindu.