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Wednesday 30th July
Thailand Facts
The Kingdom of Thailand was known as Siam until 1939.

The name Thailand means Land of the Free.

Doi Inthanon (2,576 m) is the highest peak in Thailand.

The Tee Law Su Waterfall is the highest waterfall in Thailand and one of the highest in Asia.

The Mekong River, the longest river in Southeast Asia, forms a border between Thailand and Laos.

The Lang Rongrien rock shelter in the southwest of Thailand was inhabited around forty thousand years ago.

Phuket is Thailand's largest island. The island's most famous monument is the memorial of the heroines Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Sisunthon who successfully led islanders against Burmese invaders in 1785.

King Ramkhamhaeng, who ruled at the end of the thirteenth century, created the first Thai alphabet.

King Rama I, the founder of the Chakri Dynasty that still rules today, built Bangkok in 1782.

White (albino) elephants were highly prized by the kings of Thailand.

The Siamese cat was brought to Britain from Thailand in 1884 by the British Consul General of Bangkok.

Thailand's largest reclining Buddha image can be found in the temple, Wat Po.

The world's tallest Buddhist monument in the world stands 127 metres in the town of Nakhon Pathom.

Most young men are Buddhist monks for a short time and shaven-head monks go out and ask for alms each morning.

In Bangkok, and elsewhere in Thailand, goods can be bought from floating markets where produce is sold from boats.

Canals and waterways used to be the most important means of transportation in Thailand.

During the Second World War, Allied prisoners of War held by the Japanese in Thailand helped build the Burma-Siam railway.

The story of the Bridge over the River Kwai was made into a film in 1957.

The Golden Triangle where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet on the Mekong River was a centre for growing opium poppies.

The Beach, written by Alex Garland, is about a young backpacker who found a legendary beach in Thailand. The story was later made into a film.

On 26 December 2004, a quake occurred under the sea near Aceh in north Indonesia (8.9 on the Richter scale); this produced tsunamis causing flooding and destruction in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Thailand, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and the east coast of Africa (Kenya and Somalia).

In December 2008 airports in Bangkok were blockaided for eight days by anti-government protesters.

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