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Thailand - The Land of Smiles

            Thailand is known as "the land of smiles". It is one of the most visited countries in Southeast Asia. Sixteen million foreigners flock to Thailand annually (). Its break taking beauty, robust cuisine, ornate temples, and friendly people draw tourist from all over the world. Despite the influx of visitors, its culture has remained untouched. Buddhism being the predominant religion influences everything from social interaction to architecture. Thailand's fast-pace economy is one of the fastest growing economies. However, the malnourished government is characterized as corrupted and cronyism. Thailand is one of the most beautiful counties in the world, but does experience its share of social economical issues. .
             The first modern human beings that settled in Thailand was during the Paleolithic Era. Pioneers immigrated through Southeast Asia where they developed technologies that assisted them in the unfamiliar terrain. Settlements began to emerge thus developing aboriginal kingdoms. The constant fighting for natural resources and land caused turmoil for the new empire. In 1238, they were displaced by the Thai people who emigrated from southern China (Thailand's History). The Sukhothai period is regarded as the golden age of Thai culture. The Thai people established secure relationships with its neighboring countries where they absorbed various elements of one another's culture. King Sukhothai authorized a trade agreement with China and India. The Chinese help organize Thai's writing system. Currently, beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej rules the country. .
             Thailand covers 514,000 square kilometers, located in the heart of Southeast Asia (Szczepanski). Thailand stretches across 3,219 km along the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. The neighboring countries are Laos, Malaysia, and Burma. In 2004, the west coast was devastated by a tsunami. Doi Inthanon is the highest point in Thailand, measuring at 8,415 feet (Szczepanski).

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