The Kingdom of Thailand is situated in the centre of Southeast Asia and borders Myanmar and Laos to the north, Cambodia to the south-east and Malaysia to the south. Thailand, Myanmar and Laos are known as the ‘Golden Triangle’ due to the large amounts of opium smuggled out of these three lands. The east coast extends nearly 1,000 miles along the Gulf of Thailand. The west coast is ‘only’ 350 miles long and borders the Andaman Sea. The country has an area fractionally less than 200,000 square miles, four times the size of England. Thailand has a variety of landscapes. Wooded mountains characterise the North, among which is the highest mountain in the country, Doi Inthanon, at a height of 1.6 miles. About 12% of Thailand is covered by forest. The north-east is the poorest region of the kingdom, mainly due to the irregular rainfall. This region sees periods of both drought and flood. The central region of the country is very fertile and is an important area for rice farming. The most important river in Thailand, the Chao Phraya, flows through this region. Many smaller rivers and creeks also branch off it. Southern Thailand is characterised by tropical vegetation such as rainforests, palm trees and mangroves. Small, idyllic islands with beautiful palm beaches lie just off the coast. The most famous of these are Koh Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Samet and Koh Chang (koh=island). There is a lot of wildlife in Thailand, although you need to have patience in order to spot it. The 79 National Parks are their homes, and here you can see elephants, tigers, snakes, wild water buffalo, deer, gibbons, macaques, bears and tapirs. There is also a wide range of birds, and there are countless species of fish swimming around the many coral reefs.