Mount Inthanon, Thailand
The climatic conditions in Thailand are controlled by the tropical monsoons and the weather is mostly hot and humid across the country throughout the year. The central, northern and northeastern parts of Thailand experience three seasons, whereas the southern and the coastal regions feature only two distinct seasons. The seasons prevailing in Thailand are the hot season, cool season and rainy season. Hot climate is experienced throughout the year. The hot season starts from the month of March and lasts until June. During the hot season, occasional rainfall with high temperatures are experienced in the country. The average temperature is around 34°C and usually crosses 40°C during the hot season. April is the hottest month of the year. Humidity level during the hot season is around 75%. The rainy or the wet season lasts from July to October, which is dominated by the southwest monsoon. Most of the rainfall in the country is experienced during these months. The average temperature during the rainy season is around 29°C with humidity averaging around 90%. The southern parts of the country receive most of the rainfall with around 2,400 mm every year, whereas the central and the northern region get an annual rainfall of around 1,400 mm. The cool season starts from the month of November and lasts until February. During these months, the northeast monsoon winds blow and bring in the cool air that makes the climate quite pleasant. The temperatures range from 18°C to 32°C in Bangkok, whereas the temperatures in the northern and northeastern parts of Thailand are around 20°C. Nights are particularly chilly and in the high altitude regions the temperatures go beyond freezing point.
In Thailand, there is no official state religion and the constitution of Thailand guarantees religious freedom to all its citizens to practice and preach any religion according to their beliefs or culture. Buddhism is the dominant religion in the country with about 94.6% of the Thais being Buddhists of the Theravada tradition. Muslims are the second largest religious group in the country with 4.6% of the population being the followers of Islam. The Christians, mostly Catholics represent 0.7% of the total population. Among the Indians, Hinduism is the main religion. There are also small influential Sikh and Jew communities in Thailand. The southern regions of the country – Yala, Patani and Narathiwat have dominant Muslim population that consists of both ethnic groups Malay and Thai.
About 90% of Thailand’s population speak Thai, the official language of the country. Thai has four main regional dialects, but the dialect spoken in the central parts of Thailand is the most common form of the language. The Thai language also features five tones – high, mid, low, rising and falling, each of which changes the meaning of the words. Visitors who are unfamiliar with the tones usually face difficulty in pronouncing and understanding the language. Majority of the Thais also speak and understand English as it is the common language for cross-cultural conversation between the Thais and the visitors or tourists hailing from different parts of the world. English is the second most widely used language in the country and many of the country’s school teach in English. Small numbers of people belonging to the minority groups speak Malay and other dialects of Chinese.
The Thai food is spicy and has a balance between the flavours that include sweet, spicy, sour, salty and bitter. Different flavours are combined to make wide variety of Thai dishes. Majority of the dishes are fried or grilled and usually served along with rice. At every meal, rice is the staple food for the people. The most popular dish is Jasmine rice; prepared using long rice grains that which are steamed and served along with a curry. An average meal usually consists of rice, different dishes with gravy, side dishes, soup, and a salad. Different varieties of rice are eaten in different parts of Thailand. Polished white rice is eaten in the southern and central parts, whereas sticky rice is eaten in the northern and northeastern parts of the country. Sticky rice is usually eaten with hands along with the curry or side dish. Curries are consumed throughout Thailand, though regional varieties prevail in different parts of the country. The food consumed in the northern and northeastern part of the country is very similar to that of Laos, as it consists of more meat, especially meat served as sausages or as larb – basically a salad made of raw meat. In pretext to the noodle dishes, the Chinese food has greatly influenced the Thai cuisine. The Thai noodles are made of rice, the egg noodles and mung bean based glass noodles are also popular and common among the people. Noodles are mostly fried and prepared with beef, chicken or pork along with different condiments like chillies, vinegar and fish sauce to add a different taste to it. Khao Tom is a popular breakfast dish (soup), prepared using garlic and pork. The deserts are quite sweet and predominantly prepared with different combinations of rice, sugar and coconut milk. The Thai deserts include fruits, which are usually served plain and sliced. When Mangoes are in season, it is usually consumed with sticky rice, covered in sweet coconut milk.
Spicy Thai Noodles
Mango with sticky rice