Thailand is the country of mainland Southeast Asia. Located between latitudes 5 and 21 north and longitudes 97 to 106 east, it borders the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) and Myanmar (formerly Burma) to the north, Cambodia to the east, Myanmar to the west, and Malaysia to the south. Tropical temperature and rainfall patterns predominate throughout much of the country and influence its culinary traditions. Thailand, once called Siam, is distinguished from most other Southeast Asian countries by the fact that it has not ever been ruled by a European power.
Like most Asian cultures, respect towards ancestors is an essential part of Thai spiritual practice. Thais have a strong sense of hospitality and generosity, but also a strong sense of social hierarchy. Seniority is an important concept in Thai culture. The elders always rule in family decisions or ceremonies.
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