Thailand is a wondrous kingdom, featuring Buddhist temples, exotic wildlife, and spectacular islands. Along with a fascinating history and a unique culture that includes delectable Thai food and massage, Thailand features a modern capital city, and friendly people who epitomize Thailand’s “land of smiles” reputation.
Thailand, the only Southeast Asian nation never to have been colonized by European powers, is a constitutional monarchy whose current head of state is HM Bhumibol Adulyadej. A unified Thai kingdom has existed since the mid-14th century, and Thailand was known as Siam until 1939 when it officially became the Kingdom of Thailand. Thailand is the 50th largest country in the world; most nearly equal in size to Spain. Located just 15 degrees north of the equator, Thailand has a tropical climate and temperatures typically range from 19 to 38 degrees C (66-100 F). Thailand’s largest peak, Doi Inthanon, is 2,565 meters (8,415 ft) tall. Thailand covers 510,890 sq km of land and 2,230 sq km of water. The coastline of Thailand is 3,219 km long. Thailand’s longest shared border is with Myanmar (Burma), stretching 1,800 km. The weather in Thailand is generally hot and humid: typical of its location within the tropics. Generally speaking, Thailand can be divided into three seasons: “hot” season, rainy season, and “cool” season, though Thailand’s geography allows visitors to find suitable weather somewhere in the country throughout the year. The population of Thailand comprises of roughly 65 million citizens, the majority of whom are ethnically Thai, though people’s of Chinese, Indian, Malay, Mon, Khmer, Burmese, and Lao origin are also represented to varying degrees. Approximately 7 million citizens live in the capital city, Bangkok, though this number varies seasonally and is otherwise difficult to accurately count. Thailand has a rough geographical area of 514, 000 sq km (200,000 sq miles). This makes Thailand roughly equivalent in size to France or Texas.
Any mention about Kerala, conjures in one’s mind, an image of pristine backwaters, palm fringed beaches, tranquil villages and greenery in profusion. God has generously bestowed this land with the bounties of nature and so it only seems natural when Kerala is referred to, as God’s own country. A much sought-after destination for tourists in India and abroad, Kerala is named as one of the Ten Paradises of the World and Fifty Places to Visit in a Lifetime by the National Geographic Traveler Magazine. The alluring serenity of this place leaves every tourist spell-bound, making them come back year after year. Be it the sun-kissed beaches or the misty hill stations; the rhythmic backwaters or the forest lands rich with all varieties of flora and fauna; pilgrim centres or historic monuments; Kerala has everything you might travel far and wide to see. Just one visit and you will know why Kerala has the lovely epithets attached to it.
Places to Visit
Wedged between the Western Ghats on the East and the Arabian Sea on the West, the narrow strip of land known as Kerala is a destination of a lifetime. The timeless beauty of the palm fringed beaches of Kovalam and Varkala, the majesty of the undulating hills of Munnar and Vagamon, the serenity of the pristine backwaters of Kumarakom & Kuttanad and the enchanting woods and forests of Thekkady and Silent Valley will have you bowled over.That such a small terrain can hold diverse geographical features and cultures is a wonder in itself.
In the seventeenth century the Mughal emperor Jahangir set his eyes on the valley of Kashmir while living in a house-boat on the mesmerizing Dal Lake and said, “Gar firdaus, ruhe zamin ast, hamin asto, hamin asto, hamin asto.” What Jahangir meant was that if there is ever a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here. And he certainly wasn’t exaggerating.
About Jammu & Kashmir
Set like a jewelled crown on the map of India, Kashmir is a multi-faceted diamond, changing its hues with the seasons. Always extravagantly beautiful. Two major Himalayan ranges, the Great Himalayan Range and the Pir Panjal, surround the landscape from the north and south respectively. They are the source of great rivers, which flow down into the valleys, forested with orchards and decorated by lily laden lakes. The Mughals aptly called Kashmir ‘Paradise on Earth’ when they journeyed across the hot plains of India, to the valley’s cool environs in summer. Here they laid, with great love and care, Srinagar’s many formal, waterfront gardens. Now they are collectively known as the Mughal Gardens. Anecdotes of four and five centuries ago describe their love for these gardens, and the rivalries that centred around their ownership.They also patronized the development of art & craft among the people of Kashmir, leaving behind a heritage of exquisite craftmanship among people and making the handicrafts of the land prized gifts all over the world.
Holidaying in Kashmir
Kashmir is a land where myriad holiday ideas are realised.In winter, when snow carpets the mountains, there is skiing, tobogganing, sledge-riding, etc. along the gentle slopes. In spring and summer, the honey-dew orchards, rippling lakes and blue skies beckon every soul to sample the many delights the mountains and valleys have to offer. Golfing at 2,700m above the sea, water-skiing in the lakes and angling for prized rainbow trout, or simply drifting down the willow fringed alleys of lakes in a shikara and living in gorgeous houseboats are some of the most favoured ones.