MAJOR FAQ-THAILAND

How long has IFRE been working in Thailand ? Whom do you work with? Where are you located? What are IFRE's programs?

In Thailand , we have been running our internship programs for the last 5 years. IFRE works with many local NGO's orphanages and community projects to offer meaningful placements for our interns in Thailand .

IFRE has a well-established office in the outskirts of Bangkok , granting interns access to each part of the city. We run our first week of orientation in the Bangkok office. Presently, internship placements are available in Bangkok (primarily outside of Bangkok )

APPLYING FOR THE THAILAND INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

How can I apply? What happens when I apply? Do you guarantee placement? How long does it take to get confirmation?

Please read IFRE's 4-step application process

• There are two options for applying to intern in Thailand 's programs. You can apply online ( http://www.ifrevolunteers.org/apply-now.php ) or you can simply download an application form, fill it out and mail it into IFRE's offices. Participants are required to submit their application with a $349 application fee plus the program fee for the number of weeks you choose. However to simply start the placement process, all that is needed upfront is a $200 deposit which will be deducted from the final invoice. This non-refundable deposit from you is required to validity of the application. Or to validate the application

• Once IFRE receives your application, we immediately forward it to country coordinator for processing. The in-country coordinator reviews the application carefully to determine the most optimal project for you while you intern in Thailand . Decisions pertaining to room and board are made at this time - depending on the location of the project. The vast majority of participants stay in fully immersed in-home stays.

• IFRE receives the details of the participants' placements from the in-country coordinator.

• The information is then passed on to the prospective participants along with a final invoice. Final payment is due six weeks prior to departure and, in expedited cases, as soon as possible. The placement details contain local contact information to be used when applying for a visa and/or to get in touch with the local staff and host family.

Preparation for your internship vacation in Thailand should include reading about travel to Thailand , immunization, acquiring a travel visa and booking airfare for your internship journey to Thailand . If you face any problems, IFRE's Program Manager is always available for any assistance.

IMPORTANT: Once participants purchase airline tickets, we request flight information be forwarded to IFRE's U.S. office by fax or by email. Participants' flight information will then be forwarded to the in-country coordinator in Thailand , who will then arrange an airport pick-up.

AIRPORT AND ARRIVAL INFORMATION

Who will meet me in airport? What should I do if I get delayed or miss my flight? When should I arrive?

IFRE's first week of language and cultural program is conducted in Bangkok . Interns are suggested to arrive at Suvarnabhumi International Airport . Definitely, one of our representatives will wait for you at the airport. Please make sure of this by taking care to send your flight information to our offices, a follow-up call is suggested as departure date approaches.

If you get delayed or miss your flight, please call our office or coordinator and wait for him. If, again, you get lost, go to the contact hotel using a Taxi service. Address of contact hotel is available in the placement sheets and pre-departure booklet. Once you meet our representative or coordinator, you will be transferred to our offices and onto your host family where you will meet staff members and fellow interns.

Interns coming to Thailand are advised to arrive one day before their program start date. The program fee will cover expenses beginning of the first day of the program (Usually first or third Monday) to the last day of the program. If you arrive before the first day of the program and/or stay beyond the last day of the program, expenses will be the responsibility of the intern (usually $30 per day for room/food in hostel).

ROOM AND FOOD

Where do I stay during one-week language program? Where do I stay during the internship program? What do I eat? What about shower and restrooms? Do you accommodate special diet?

IFRE manages living accommodations, provides meals and supervision for interns for the entirety of their stay in Thailand . IFRE's Thailand office is located in a beautiful area about 50 km from the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Ayutthaya City – the former capital of Thailand . We offer home base in Thailand . Our Home base is very safe. It is a clean, sparsely furnished home but it will meet all your needs as an IFRE intern. We try to create a “home away from home” for interns staying at our home base. It is a perfect situation for interns to live safely and comfortably while making many new friends and sharing experience every day. Most of interns project in Thailand are located within 1-10 KM of our home base so you may walk or ride a local bus to your project. In the evening when you return to home base, you can relax, eat dinner, explore local areas or simply share experience with intern comrades.

Occasionally, depending on intern traffic, available projects or distance to a intern's assigned project, we may also place our interns with carefully pre-screened host families. Our host families are socially respected and are experienced with hosting international interns. They have strong interest in our interns' safety and well-being and demonstrate this with caution and care. In most host family situations, interns will share a room with another intern of the same gender. Interns staying with a host family will be able to have home cooked meals with the family. Those who have stayed with a host family describe an enriched experience as a result of having done so. Once you have applied, you will receive specific details of your accommodations in your personal placement documents.

Our field staff visits interns regularly and always happy to help our interns in any way needed. We offer three meals a day of local cuisine. Typically, interns eat breakfast and dinner at the home base (or host family) and have lunch at their project. We offer fresh, nutritious and safe local foods to our interns to eat.

VISAS

Before departing for Thailand , IFRE requires that you obtain a tourist visa. Please phone our office or contact the local Thailand embassy to learn more about the proper steps in receiving a visa, visa fees and visa extensions. You are solely responsibility for getting your visa.

USA Thailand Embassy

UK Thailand Embassy

HEALTH AND SAFETY IN THAILAND

Interns should be aware of all health and safety information before traveling to Thailand . We suggest you visit some of the websites listed below.

WHO website for international travelers ( http://www.who.int )

WHO Thailand (http://www.who.int/countries/en/)

General Health Tips for interns in Thailand

• Drink only bottled or boiled water or carbonated (bubbly or fizzy) drinks in sealed cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks and ice cubes. If safe drinks are not available, you can make tap or other water safer by both filtering through an "absolute 1 micron or less" filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. "Absolute 1 micron filters" can be found in camping/outdoor supply stores.

• Buy bottled water from respectable outlets to guard against upset stomach. Some of the better-known brands are Bisleri, Kinley, Aquafina. Make sure that the seal of the bottle is intact.

• Watch out for spicy dishes, especially at the beginning of your trip. Avoid eating food from roadside stalls. Eat unpeeled fruits and avoid fresh salads, especially in small hotels. If you are forced to eat food at some place that you have doubts about, make sure the food is cooked and served hot.

Always use an insect repellent if you find yourself in a mosquito-laden area. Although Thailand is not a very mosquito infested country, and tends to be pretty average for a tropical country with some mosquitoes (and some mosquito borne illnesses).

• If traveling in extreme heat, remember to drink enough water, wear hats, sunglasses & SPF/sunscreen. Beware of the health effects that the mid day sun may cause, most importantly SUN BURNS and DEHYDRATION.

• Be wary of spicy dishes, especially at the beginning of your travels. Stall eating is generally safe and some of the best food in the country can be found at inexpensive market carts. Check the tables, eating utensils, the hands (as well as the personal hygiene of the cook) to decide if they pay enough attention to cleanliness.

Pharmacies or chemists are available in every little town and village and you can buy over the counter medication. If you need to see a doctor, ask for help from your in-country coordinator or your host family. The cost of visiting a doctor is fairly low (less than a dollar) compared to western countries.

• In Thailand , most modern medicines are available over the counter in drugstores, but it is wise with any prescription drugs you require, bring enough for the duration of the trip. It is advisable that you carry a small health kit, which should include remedy for upset stomachs, some antiseptic cream, mosquito repellant, sun block, band-aids, etc.

VACCINATIONS

Recommended Vaccinations and Preventive Medications by the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/travel/seasia.htm#vaccines

The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to Southeast Asia including Thailand . Discuss your travel plans and personal health with your healthcare provider to determine which vaccines you need to receive.

RECOMMENDED
COMMUNICATION
How do I communicate with my family? With IFRE staff members? Is there internet available?

There are a number of internet cafes located in some of the major cities, like Córdoba, and usually cost about $1/hour. There are also international phone cards available for purchase to make international calls. Also, please use local phone cards for local calls as every minute of local or international use is billed to your host family. If you need to contact the local IFRE staff members, the families will generally allow you to use the phone for short periods.

  • Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG). Transmission of the Hepatitis A virus can occur through direct person-to-person contact; through exposure to contaminated water, ice or shellfish harvested in contaminated water; or from fruits, vegetables or other foods that are eaten uncooked and that were contaminated during harvesting or subsequent handling.
  • Hepatitis B , especially if you might be exposed to blood or body fluids (for example, healthcare workers), have sexual contact with the local population or be exposed through medical treatment. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 11-12 years who did not receive the series as infants.
  • Japanese encephalitis , if you plan to visit rural farming areas and under special circumstances, such as a known outbreak area of Japanese encephalitis.
  • Malaria: your risk of malaria may be high in some of the regions of this country. See your health care provider for a prescription antimalarial drug. For details concerning risk and preventive medications, see Malaria Information for Travelers to Southeast Asia .
  • Rabies , if you might have extensive unprotected outdoor exposure in rural areas, such as might occur during camping, hiking or bicycling or engaging in certain occupational activities.
  • Typhoid , important for Thailand , but particularly crucial if you will visit other developing countries in this region. Typhoid fever can be contracted through contaminated drinking water or food or by eating food or drinking beverages that have been handled by a person who is infected. Large outbreaks are most often related to fecal contamination of water supplies or foods sold by street vendors
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles .

MONEY MATTERS

What is the exchange rate? Where should I change my dollars? Can I use my debit card or credit card? Should I bring traveler's checks?

Find the Exchange Rate of Thailand Rupee (INR) http://www.xe.com/ucc/

The local currency is the Thailand Rupee. You can change your money upon arrival to Bangkok International Airport (BKK). There are many bank counters at the airport. We suggest you change $400 in the beginning as you can change money in any bank (some banks are near to our office).

In Thailand , credit card information is often stolen and used fraudulently just by paying with a credit card. For this reason, IFRE suggests cash and travelers checks to settle your bills. You will have trouble actually paying with traveler's checks, but you will be able to exchange them at local banks. Traveler's Checks are recommended as a safe way to carry money with you, make sure you write down the check numbers and contact information you need to cancel stolen checks. Different brands of traveler's checks work better in different countries so consult your local financial institution regarding which Traveler's Checks to bring to Thailand .

You can also carry a debit/ATM card that can be used at ATM's to withdraw local currency. An ATM card is the best way of getting money. Vendors are available in major banks and department stores in Bangkok . Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in some of the large stores and hotels in larger cities but not accepted in smaller cities.

How much money you bring depends on your personal spending habits. Thrifty people can get by on less than $10/day. Your budget should also include money to explore Thailand in free time as well as for your personal use. A good rule of thumb for money management is the 1/3 method, bring 1/3 cash, 1/3 traveler's check and leave 1/3 of your money in your account - plus a credit card for emergencies.

FIELD SUPPORT AND SUPERVISION

How does IFRE help me when I am in the field? How can I maintain communication? Do you visit me?

Once your internship program begins, our local staff members stay in constant touch with you. However, if you are staying far from the Bangkok office, our staff will visit interns every 2-4 weeks (if possible) and you are always welcome at the office. We recommend that the interns stop by the office once a week, if they are staying/working in the local area, to give feedback on their home stay and project. Many minor issues can be avoided with a just little extra communication before they develop into major issues. Your project will have local staff members in addition to our in-country coordination staff. If your project is located a great distance from our offices, then our local staff communicates by either email and/or phone.

We are available for you at the local office via email and phone for your entire trip. It's our job to make sure that you are safe and healthy.

COMMUNICATION

How do I communicate with my family? IFRE staffs? Is there internet?

Interns are requested to bring their UNLOCKED mobile phones. Upon arrival in Thailand , participants can purchase and change SIM cards and use it. This is the perfect way to stay in touch with your family and IFRE's offices in Bangkok .

Internet cafés are available in most areas of Bangkok . However, if you are placed in a rural setting, you may have to travel to a village with an internet café. You will receive this information in your personal placement sheet.

CLIMATE OF THAILAND

The internet offer current weather and forecasts for your destination:

Yahoo Weather forecast (  http://weather. yahoo.com  )

Weather channel (  www.weather.com )

Weather Underground (  http://www.wunderground.com/global/TH.html   )

Thailand 's climate is tropical, high in both temperature and humidity and dominated by monsoons. Thai people joke that they have three seasons: “hot, hotter and hottest”. April and May are the hottest months of the year, when even the locals are moved to complain about the heat. June brings the beginning of the Southwest Monsoon season and with it comes the rainy season that continues intermittently until the end of October.

From November to the end of February the climate is cooled by a Northeast breeze and the humidity level drops. This is also the main tourist season and the best time to visit Thailand .

The north and northeast are generally cooler than Bangkok in winter and hotter in summer. In the far north, around Mae Hong Son winter temperatures can occasionally drop as low as 2 ° C.

 

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Average Temperature

° C

25.9

27.6 

29.2 

30.1 

29.6 

29.0 

28.5

28.4 

28.1 

27.7 

26.8

25.5 

28.1

Average Rainfall

mm

10.6

28.2

30.7

71.8

189.4 

151.7 

158.2

187.0 

319.9

230.8 

57.3

9.4

120,42

ITEMS TO BRING

Most items for daily use are available in Thailand at a cheaper price than in your home country. However, we suggest interns pack the following things.

• Camera
• Mobile phone (you can use mobile phone after changing SIM card)
• Sleeping bag
• Mosquito repellent
• Insect repellent
• SPF or sunblock
• Some books about Thailand
• Thailand Map
• Toiletries
• First aid kit (for personal use)
• Flash light
• Electricity adopter/converter
• Sunglasses
• Footwear (for work and travel)
• Towel

What gifts should I bring for my project and/or host family?

It is a common courtesy to bring a small gift for the staff who will be your hosts. You are not required to do so, but if you choose to bring a gift it can simple. We suggest a box of chocolates, a t-shirt with a hometown/country logo, pictures of your family and local post cards.

If you want to bring gifts for your project and if you are working for an orphanage or a school, please bring pencils, pens and paper, art supplies like markers and construction paper pads, as well as games for the children to enjoy. Remember that every child will need these items so you may wish to bring enough for a number of children.


Special section : Do's and Don'ts in Thailand

The Monarchy: Thai people have a deep, traditional reverence for the Royal Family and a visitor should be careful to show respect for the King, the Queen and the Royal Children.

Religion: Visitors should dress neatly in all religious shrines. They should never go topless or in shorts, hot pants or other unsuitable attire. It is acceptable to wear shoes when walking around the compound of a Buddhist temple, but not inside the chapel where the principal Buddha image is kept.

Each Buddha image, large or small, ruined or not, is regarded as a sacred object. Never climb onto one to take a photograph or do anything that might indicate a lack of respect. Buddhist monks are forbidden to touch or be touched by a woman or to accept anything from the hand of one. If a woman has to give anything to a monk, she first hands it to a man, who then presents it.

Social Norms: Thais don't normally shake hands when they greet one another, but instead press their palms together in a prayer-like gesture called a Wai.

Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body, literally and figuratively. Therefore, avoid touching people on the head and try not to point your feet at people or an object. It is considered very rude. Shoes should be removed when entering a private Thai home.

Public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon.

MORE ABOUT THAILAND
Source: Asia Discovery

CULTURE AND RELIGION

Thailand , being known as the land of smiles, the land of elephants and the land of Buddhism , is unique for its fascinating cultures, tradition and philosophical attitude towards the world and life, making the country shrouded with mystery waiting for the wide-opened eyes and opened mind to explore its charming distinctiveness.

Thai Culture

Thai culture is a unique variant of many cultures in Asia . Lying between the two great hubs of Asian civilization, China and India , it is not surprising to see the significant traces of Hindu and Chinese cultures in Thai culture, too. Through a long course of time, the Thai people have developed their own characteristic culture that is deeply rooted in Thai society.

Thai culture can embrace many of its aspects; it can be language, art, ways of life, values as well as people's attitude.

Language

Thai language is one of the best symbols of Thai culture. Thai alphabet was invented by King Ramkamheng the Great in 1283 by modeling on the ancient Indian alphabets of Sanskrit and Pali languages through the medium of the old Khmer character. 

The inscriptions found in Sukhothai are the fruitful evidence of linguistic history in Thailand . Through along course of times, Thai language has evolved to have 44 letters (including 2 obsolete ones). 

Thai language basically consists of monosyllable words whose meanings are complete by themselves. Another dominant feature is that Thai language is a tonal language with five different tones: low tone, high tone, falling tone, rising tone and mid tone. For example, the word "Mai" when pronounced with the low tone will mean "new"; with the high tone is "wood"; with falling tone will be "not"; with the rising tone is "silk". Despite the difficulties of tones, Thai grammar is quite easy; there is no conjugation like French and English verbs and verbs are not irregular. The difference in a sentence between present, future and past time is indicated by a small word added. Like most of languages of the world, Thai language is influenced by the foreign languages as there are many words used today were derived from Pali, Sanskrit, Khmer, Malay, Chinese and English.

Arts

Once you are in Thailand , what cannot be unmentioned are Thai arts represented as temples, architecture, painting, crafts, dance and music. Thai arts are a result of the assimilation of many artistic influences of various periods throughout its history. The most predominant one is that of India and they evolved to be typical Thai arts that can boast its grace and charm today. Although Thai arts are the blend of diverse influences, the real source of inspiration and influence is Buddhism which profoundly rooted in Thai society for longtime. Unsurprisingly, most of artistic expressions in Thailand , Buddhism is implied in some ways.

Painting: Classical Thai painting is mostly confined to mural painting inside Buddhist temples and palaces. Themes depicted in mural painting are mostly related to Buddhism, such as Buddha's lives, stories of the three worlds (heaven, earth and hell) as well as scenes of customs and traditions of people. Mural painting serves several functions: to embellish and dignify the place of worship, to promote Buddhism and to educate people through pictures.

Architecture: Thai classical architecture is represented as the royal palace buildings, pagodas, stupas and temples. Thai architecture is influenced by Indian, Mon Khmer and China . The typical feature of Thai architecture is overlapping rooftops and soaring pointed towers, elaborately ornamented with carved wood and stucco, gilded lacquer work, in-laid work, Chinese porcelain and color glass mosaic.

Sculpture: Thai sculpture mostly focuses on Buddha images that rank among the world's greatest expressions of Buddhist art. Sculptural styles are varied from each other in each period. The Sukhothai period is the golden age of Thai sculpture. Buddha images during this period were portrayed in a graceful and gentle figure and in various positions: standing, sitting, walking and reclining. During Ayutthaya period, three stages of styles are distinguished. In the early and the middle periods of Ayutthaya , sculptors still admitted Khmer and Sukhothai styles, respectively. When it comes to the late Ayutthaya , sculptors developed their style to be decorative Buddha images in royal attire which continues its popularity in Rattanakosin period as well.

Literature: In early days, Thai literature limitedly concerned religion, royalty and aristocracy rather than popular lives. Most of them were written in verse of various patterns. Thai literary history was face-lifted in the early 20th during the reign of King Rama VI, the poet king. Prose has become a favorite form of work among Thai writers ever since. Themes depicted in their works were changed from the court life to the common life scenes.

Drama: Thai drama embraces also a dance originating in the royal court. The techniques of dancing are based on Indian origin and were developed to be more graceful and slow in movement. The most outstanding of Thai drama is "Khon", classical masked dance drama, characterized by the mask-wearing performers with their rhythmic, puppet-like movements. Khon usually depicts the story of Ramakien which was derived from the great epic Ramayana of India. Apart from Khon, there other kinds of dramas, including Lakhon or classical Thai dance drama (dancing is more graceful than Khon), Like (Thai folk opera), Na Yai and Nang Talung (shadow play) and Hun (marionettes).

Music: Thai classical music is influenced by Indian culture through the Mons and Khamers. Later, Thai people created their own instruments, becoming the distinctive Thai music. Thai classical music used the diatonic music scale and the instruments are divided into four groups: those of plucking, drawing, percussion and woodwind. Music is played as an accompaniment in drama and dance and in religious ceremonies.

Thai Religions

The three greatest religions in the world are Buddhism, Christianity and Mohammedanism. Buddhism, however, is the oldest of the three. It was founded 2,500 years ago by Lord Buddha. Buddha was a son of an Indian king. Buddha was the name he called himself after his Enlightenment, meaning “The Enlightened". His real name was Prince Siddhartha. His father was King Suddhodana of Kapilavasdu and his mother Queen Siri Mahamaaya, formerly a daughter of the King of Devadaha.

Buddhism

Theravada Buddhism is the national religion of Thailand , practiced by 90% of its population. Theravada Buddhism, an orthodox Buddhist sect which keeps the original doctrine and tradition succeeded from the Buddha, is adopted by Sri Lanka , Myanmar and Thailand while Mahayana sect is popular in China and Japan . Buddhism originated in the southern Nepal with the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. He renounced his royal life to find the way to be out of the cycle of life which he considered suffering.

After years of studies of Hinduism in several schools and self- mortification, he found that those ways way would not allow him to see the salvation. He then continued to quest the truth of life by mediating. Upon meditation under the bodhi tree, Siddhartha got the thorough knowledge of the world, called the Four Noble Truths, becoming the Buddha or the Enlightened One. The first truth is that life is dukkha or a suffering. The fact that one must exist in the endless cycle of rebirth, weakness, sickness and death is suffering. The cause of being trapped in this suffering world is explained in the second truth-that is tanha or desire. The desire detains ignorant people attached to the illusion of the world: wealth, reputation or passion is all illusion. The third truth is that the misery can be ended by removing the desire. The fourth truth tells of the approach to achieve the release-that is the Buddha's Eightfold Path. Nirvana is the ultimate goal of Buddhism; it is the state that one ceases the rebirth.

Ever since the Sukhothai Period, Buddhism has been recognized as the state's religion and significantly fundamental influence of Thai society and culture. Songha or monastic community has played a key role in Thai society since the ancient times. Temple served as an important social unit for it is the center of village; they were both spiritual and educational center. Buddhism is expressed in every aspect of Thai daily life. From birth to death, Buddhism is represented as the ceremonies believed to bring happiness to life. Although the original Buddhist doctrine does not say anything about ceremonies, people have assimilated Buddhism with the primitive animist belief.

Nowadays, development and technology of the modern world has somehow changed the traditional lifestyle of Thai people, especially in big cities. Despite that, with the deep perception of Buddhism within them, Thai people still adopt Buddhist philosophy of simplicity and moderate to lead their ways, making Thai society much more tolerant and peaceful if compare with those which are suffering the stress from our competitive world today.

Basic Facts of Thailand

Conventional Name

Kingdom of Thailand

Local Name

Thailand (formerly Siam )

Capital

Bangkok

Independence

1238 Year of Establishment (never being colonized)

Constitution

Constitutional Monarchy

Land Area

513,115 Sq. Kilometers

Climate

Average: 29 degree Celsius but varies 9-38 degree Celsius 

Seasons

Hot (March to May), Rainy (June to October) and cool (November to February)

Population

61,878,746 (year 2000)

Language

Thai; English is widely understood in cities

Sex Ratio

0.97 male/female

Birth Rate

1.66%

Death Rate

0.75%

Labor Force

32.6 million

Literacy

93.8% (Age 15 and over)

Religion

Buddhism 92.55%, Muslim 5.29%, Christianity 1.34%, Others 0.79% (2000)

Currency

Thai Baht

Exchange Rate

44.5 Baht / US$ (approx. 2001)

GDP

US$ 413 Billion (est. 2000)

Time

GMT+7

Airport Tax

500 Baht for International

 

40 Baht for Domestic

Electricity

220 Volts 50 cycles

Clothing

Thin Cotton is best. A jacket or sweater may be necessary in cool season, especially in the mountainous area in North and Northeast

Thai History

Literally means "Land of the Free", Thailand can boast its distinction being the only one country in Southeast Asia that has remained independent and never been colonized throughout its history. Thailand 's 800-year-history can be divided into five major periods, each of which has founded typical characteristics of Thai culture today.

Nanchao Period (A.D.650-1250)

According to Chinese historical records, Thai people founded Nanchao Kingdom in the southern part of China which is the present-day Yunnan , Kwangsi and Canton provinces. Later, due to the invasion of people from the north, a flood of Thai people migrated southwards into Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Sukhothai and as far as Chao Praya Basin . They settled down in the peninsula's Central Plain under the sovereignty of the Khmer Empire whose culture influenced on the fundamental Thai culture in those early times. After a course of time, Thai people accumulated its power and finally founded their independent state of Sukhothai around A.D.1238 which marks the beginning of the Sukhothai Period.

Sukhothai Period (A.D.1238-1378)

While the two existing Khmer and Mon Kingdoms were facing their waning power, the Thais began to emerge as a dominant force in the region in the 13th century and finally set up the independent city-state in the upper area of central Thailand , given the name as "Sukhothai" or "the Dawn of Happiness". During the Sukhothai Period, Thai cultures came to its golden age, particularly under the reign of King Ramkamheng the Great. He led Sukhothai to its prosperity of power, economy, religion and arts. The state's territory under him extended to most of Malaya, Laos , eastern and central Thailand as well as some vassals of the Mons in Burma . Theravada Buddhism was also introduced to the kingdom. Trades with China and other parts of region prospered. On the top of things, Thai alphabet was invented in this period, marking the first written historical record of Thailand and also the typical Thai civilization. However, under the successive kings after Ramkamheng, Sukhothai declined and was eventually subdued to the mightier state of Ayutthaya in 1350.

Ayutthaya Period (1350-1767)

Established by King U Thong (renamed King Ramathibodi I), Ayutthaya came into its dominance over other Thai principalities in the mainland Southeast Asia . Ayutthaya kingdom is centered on the western side of the Chao Praya River basin , expanding its territory to the whole central Siam , from Sukhothai to the north to Malay Peninsula in the south. For the next 417 years, Ayutthaya had been a capital of Thai state in which Thai people had strengthen their identity both as a unique group of people and as a nation through language, art and culture. In the 17th century, Siam started diplomatic and commercial relations with the western countries. However, in parallel of flowering age, Ayutthaya had experienced constant struggles for the throne inside the court itself as well as the external conflicts with its neighbors among which Burma was the chief enemy. The conflicts came to the head in 1767 when Burmese troops invaded Ayutthaya and succeeded in capturing the capital. Despite their overwhelming victory, the Burmese did not retain control of Siam for long. A young general named Phraya Taksin and his followers broke through the Burmese encirclement and escaped to Chantaburi. Seven months after the fall of Ayutthaya , he and his forces sailed back to the capital and expelled the Burmese occupation garrison.

Thonburi Period (1767-1772)

After breaking through the Burmese siege, Praya Taksin united his force and decided o transferred the capital from Ayutthaya to the site closer to the sea for a reason of more defensive position and benefits from trades that were then necessities for the re-establishment of the kingdom; hence the new capital of Siam-Thonburi on the west bank of the Chao Praya River, just opposite the present-day Bangkok. Due to the aftermaths of disunity and chaos of Ayutthaya 's collapse, Thonburi could not avoid the constant battles both with Burma and also the uprising rebellions throughout the kingdom. Despite the unification of most provinces, Thonburi, as a capital of Siam lasted only 15 years. Taksin, reportedly go insane, was forced to abdicate the throne by his ministers and generals and eventually executed. The event marked the beginning of a new shift which oversaw the present-day Thailand .

Rattanakosin Period (1782-present)

After Taksin's death, the former general of Thonburi, Chao Praya Chakri, ascended to the throne, claiming himself, King Rama I, the first king of Chakri Dynasty of Rattanakosin Period. Fearful of Burmese attack, King Rama I transferred his capital from Thonburi across the Chao Praya River to the present site of Bangkok and gave it a Sanskrit name as "Krung Tep" or the "City of Angels ". The kingdom with its re-established capital and its boundary secured from warfare paved the way for arts, architecture and culture to flourish again. The Grand Palace , magnificent temples and many other constructions are a result of the attempt of King Rama I to revive the splendor of Ayutthaya in his new capital. The succeeding kings also led Siam to its prosperity of religion, arts and international trades.

During the reign of King Rama IV and King Rama V, Thailand entered the modernization and the diplomatic relations with the western world, overseeing the dramatic development of the nation. Even in certain volatile situations in the worldwide globe such as during the Colonialism, Thailand with its rulers' shrewdness in diplomacy could manage to retain its independence through that era. Thailand changed from the absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy in 1932; the country's was also changed from Siam to Thailand with the advent of democratic government in 1939. The present king of Chakri Dynasty is King Rama IX, King Bhumipol Adulyadej.

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