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Government web pages on Thailand
- Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, DC has a lot of information on Thai history, Thai monarchy, culture, and how upset they are about the play "The King and I" which was remade recently into "Anna and the King". They even have a page on the Wai Kru.
- CIA's fact page on Thailand. Terse. To the point facts.
- U.S. State Department background on Thailand. Info on U.S.-Thai relations, trade & investment and government and political conditions. They do seem to have an occasional coup or two.
- State Department advisory, if any, on travel in Thailand for U.S. government employees. There is drug traffic in "the Golden Triangle" aka the far northern part of the country, and these advisories generally refer to this region.
Note: Thai people are fierce monarchists. Insulting the King is perhaps the single quickest way to wear out your welcome.
King Mongkut, Rama IV
King Mongkut (pictured here), aka Rama IV (reigned 1851-1868) is known as "The Father of Thai science". Along with his son Chulalongkorn, Rama V (reigned 1868-1910), guided Thailand through the latter half of the 19th century, a dangerous period for Thailand given pressures from expansionist British and Dutch forces.
Mrs. Anna Leonowen was hired to teach English lessons to his royal children. The famous book "The King and I" was written by her. Despite the lovely score written by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II, "The King and I" is not at all a factual account. Mrs. Leonowen was only mentioned in the meticulous annals of the Thai court once, and only then in a footnote to a shopping list for the palace school. "The King and I" is viewed as an insulting series of lies by the Thai people, and it is banned in Thailand. The Thai ambassador to the U.S., Mr. Nitya Pibulsonggram, makes the Thai point of view clear in his letter to Mr. Christopher Cox of The Boston Herald.
King Chualongkorn, Rama V
King Chualongkorn, Rama V, (born 1853, enthroned 1868, died 1910) is one of Thailand's most beloved and revered kings. Many Thai people wear necklaces with his picture and have Buddhist shrines in that contain his picture. In the 1880s Chualongkorn implemented the reforms that he considered vital for the kingdom to survive the threats and demands of Western nations. He announced the gradual abolition of slavery, began the creation of a modern army, overhauled the revenue system, reorganized the provincial administration and extended the capital’s control in outlying regions, began a modern education system, and reformed the bureaucracy. With improving transportation facilities (e.g., modern railways) available to international trade, Western-style law codes and administration in place, and a growing reputation for progressive aspirations, Siam gained sufficient Western goodwill to retain its independence during an era where hostile European nations would have otherwise carved the country into pieces. Other links to chakri dynasty kings include Kings of the Chakri dynasty and Thailand celebrates Chakri day or visit the Royal Thai Embassy, Washington's page on the Kings of the Chakri dynasty.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX
- TBA Newsletter has a front page article on His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej
- Thai Embassy's link on Beloved King of the Thai people
- The Golden Jubilee Network's biography of H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej
Books and Links on the History of Thailand
David K. Wyatt at Yale has written several books in English on Thai history:
- Thailand: A Short History, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1982. This book focuses on Thai political history from the early Muang period through the present. The most accessible to the general readers of the three books by David K. Wyatt.
- Studies in Thai History: Collected Articles. Some of the articles have some interesting stuff on Thai social history (daily life in ancient Thailand). I enjoyed the discussions of what we don't know about Thai history--apparently there are some huge gaps.
- The Chiang Mai Chronicle. Historical monograph on the northern province in Thailand that in ancient times was sometimes an independent state, sometimes subject to Burmese rule and sometimes subject to Thai rule, but at any rate home to some interesting Hill Tribes. [The hill tribes in the north and the southern Patani (Patani Silat) area are both reputed to possess interesting variants on Muay Thai that have evolved through warfare over the centuries.]
Interesting links on Thai History
- Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, DC has a lot of information in a very readable format.
- Government and Politics
- Thailand means "The land of the free"
- Assumption University of Thailand's Web page on Thai History
- The King's Own Guard home page
Tourism in Thailand
Ruins in Ayuttaya
- Tourism Authority of Thailand. Most Thailand links are tourism related. I'm not even going to attempt to survey them here.
- Modern Political Map of Thailand. Shows Provinces and cities.
- Online pictures of ancient art & architecture in Asia, including Thailand. Browse through some really beautiful pictures of temples, sculptures, etc.
Exterior side view of Bangkok's Grand Palace. The Grand Palace contains some of Thailand's most revered Buddhist art work. If you go to Bangkok take a full day to go through the Grand Palace. But, just as if you went to the Vatican, be sure to dress 'respectfully', which in Thai culture means covering your legs and upper arms.
Evening view of the Grand Palace.
What the Tourist Book Won't Tell You
- Sobering facts on prostitution and AIDS in Thailand from Japan's Lutheran Church.
- Culture Shock! Thailand & How to Survive It by Robert & Nanthapa Cooper. Great info on how not to play the 'ugly American' while there. Don't insult the King for starters.
- Hill Tribes of Northern Thailand by Gordon Young.
- Thailand: A Short History by David Wyatt.
- Thailand Travel Atlas by Lonely Planet Books. They also have some Thai phrase books and city guides that I found useful.
Detail of old carvings on a temple within the Grand Palace,
Bangkok, said to ward off evil spirits. There is more visible historical
evidence of past eras in Thailand than in any other South-East
Asian country, so if you're interested in ruins, temples
and deserted cities, this is the place to go.
Cooking Thai Food<
Cooking Thai Food in American Kitchens, Volumes 1 and 2, by Malulee Pinsuvana is written half in Thai and half in English and directed at Thais living abroad. If you like authentic Thai cuisine I would recommend this book highly. Watch out though...the recipes come out pretty hot if you spice them according to the book's specifications.
- Index of Thai Cookbooks
- http://users.nova1.net/~thai4two/has some good online recipes
- Thai Cooking Made Easy
- Practical Thai Cooking
- Authentic Thai recipes
- 90 Authentic Thai recipes online on www.importfood.com
- Lawrence Wheeler's Favorite Thai recipes
Uncategorizable Thai Stuff