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Gap year in Thailand

Thailand


THAILAND AT A GLANCE

The Kingdom of Thailand has coasts on the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand and borders Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. Undiscovered by travellers for many years, Thailand is now the beating heart of South East Asian tourism and a perennial favourite for gap year travel.

 

With lush landscapes, a tropical climate, delicious food, rich culture and stunning beaches it’s easy to see why. Those on a gap year in Thailand will find everything they might desire, and a lot more besides! Keen divers will find some of the most celebrated reefs and shipwrecks in the world, lovers of the outdoors will discover endless tropical jungle trails, while pampered backpackers will find their every need met in stunning luxury hotels and countless massage parlours!

 

Yet despite all these tourist attractions gap year travellers will find that Thailand manages to remain distinctly Thai in character and culture. Thailand is blessed with rich culture and history and it is this that helps it retain a timeless attraction for travellers young and old.

 

History

 

Before you travel or volunteer in Thailand, it is worth getting to know the history behind this amazing country. The region nowadays know as Thailand has been inhabited by humans for over 10,000 years and like many nations, its history has been at times both complex and troubled.

 

One of the earliest identifiable Thai kingdoms was founded Lanna, but Ayutthaya soon became the effective capital of what could loosely be termed the Thai nation. Ayutthaya was sacked in 1767 leading to the founding of a new capital at Thonburi. This was soon followed by a move across the river to Bangkok, where the Chakru dynasty rules to this day.

 

Known as Siam until 1939, a distinguishing note in Thailand’s modern history is its status as the only Southeast Asian country never to have been colonised by a foreign power. This was in part achieved by smart political dealings with Japan during World War II and later through an alliance with the USA.

 

Those on gap year travel in Thailand will not fail to notice the adoration directed at the monarchy, which has been in place constitutionally since 1932. Current King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) is the world’s longest reigning monarch and loved and respected to near mythic proportions.


Since 2006 Thailand has suffered from political instability due to clashing interests between the urban elite and rural masses, but violence has been limited and Thailand continues to be a strong pull for those looking to travel and volunteer abroad.


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