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Deb & Roger’s YB Travel Adventures to Thailand 1993 – Present
Thailand has a land area of approximately 518,000 square kilometers. On its north-south axis the longest distance is approx. 1,700 kilometers, and on the east-west axis it is 800 kilometers. However, at one point 250 kilometers south of Bangkok, the Burmese border is only 20 kilometers from the Gulf of Thailand.
The country can be divided into four distinct regions. The central region is a low-lying plain dominated by the Chao Phraya river, and its network of tributaries, and canals. As well as being the most fertile region of the country it is also the most populated, containing the capital Bangkok with its six million inhabitants.
The north is a mainly mountainous area containing the country’s highest peak Don Inthanon, rising to a height of 2,590 meters. Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city with a population of 170,000, is situated in the midst of this region.
The northeast of the country is generally flat, and scenically is the least attractive of the four regions. This area is the least visited by tourists. Economically it is the most depressed region of the country,
with a mainly agricultural workforce making the best use they can of the poor soil, and erratic rainfall. To the east is Cambodia and to the north Laos across the Mekong river. As these countries open up to trade, and tourism in the near future, the fortunes of this region should improve.
Southern Thailand which extends to the border with peninsular Malaysia is sandwiched between the Gulf of Thailand to the east, and the Andaman sea, a branch of the Indian ocean, to the west. The terrain for the most part is mountainous with the flatter land along the coastal strip. Although the hills are not as high as in the north, the scenery is still spectacular, especially in the area of Khao Sok national park, not far from Phuket, (the largest island, and the destination of many visitors to the south).
Stretching along the coast from Burma in the north to Malaysia in the south are dozens of islands with some of the best beaches in Asia. Off the east coast are more islands including Koh Samui. Many of these are at present far less developed than Phuket, and are ideal for those seeking a more tranquil beach scene.
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