Language: Thai

Climate: Thailand has a tropical monsoon climate characterized by a considerable amount of sun, a high rate of rainfall, and high humidity that makes it sometimes feel quite uncomfortable. The annual average temperature ranges from 22-27°C year-round. There are two distinguishable seasons in Thailand, a dry period in the winter and a humid rain period in the summer.

Time Zone: ICT — Indochina Time

International phone code: 66

Currency: Thai baht (THB)

Capital: Bangkok

Transportation: The main international airports in Thailand are in Bangkok and Phuket, and both are well-served by intercontinental flights. Thailand is a large country and if sitting in a bus for 11 hours is not your idea of a fun time, you may want to consider domestic flights from low-cost carriers. State Railway of Thailand has a 4000km network covering most of the country, from Chiang Mai in the north all the way to (and beyond) the Malaysian border in the south. Buses travel throughout the country and the government's bus company BKS has a terminal in every province of any size. BKS buses are the best option for both price and comfort. There are also private buses sanctioned by BKS, which operate on the same routes from the same terminals with the same fares, and these are also fine.

Gay Thailand

Thailand has long held a reputation of tolerance when it comes to sexuality. Both gay and lesbian sexual activity are legal in Thailand, but same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex couples. In this largely Buddhist country, sex and sexuality come without the guilt westerners often attach to it. Distinctions based on gender and/or sexual orientation tend to be more fluid. Many Thais have sex with both men and women, without worrying about how to label themselves.

Thailand does have a 'gay' culture, but much of it has been created by westerners and is centred mostly on commercial enterprises: bars, go-go clubs, saunas, and massage parlours. These still account for the majority of gay spots — and you won't really have seen gay Thailand until you visit a go-go boy bar — but the largest cities now have gay karaoke bars and other establishments for local gays too. The best way to find them is to ask the locals.