Coordinates : 15°24′N 101°18′E / 15.4°N 101.3°E /
Kingdom of Thailand
ราชอาณาจักรไทย (Thai )
ANTHEM: Phleng Chat Thai
(English: "Thai National Anthem")
ROYAL ANTHEM :
Sansoen Phra Barami
(English: "Glorify His prestige")
ASEAN (dark grey) –
and largest city
13°45′N 100°29′E / 13.750°N 100.483°E / 13.750;
* Pak Tai
ETHNIC GROUPS (2009; 2011 :95–99)
∟ 34.1% Central Thai
∟ 7.5% Southern Thai :95–99 * 14%
* 12% Others (incl. Malay , Mon , Khmer , "Hill tribes ")
* 5.5% Islam
* 0.9% Christianity
* 0.3% Unaffiliated
* Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy (de jure)
Military junta under a constitutional monarchy (de facto)
• PRIME MINISTER
National Legislative Assembly (acting as National Assembly )
• SUKHOTHAI KINGDOM
• AYUTTHAYA KINGDOM
• THONBURI KINGDOM
• RATTANAKOSIN KINGDOM
6 April 1782
• CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY
24 June 1932
• CURRENT CONSTITUTION
6 April 2017
513,120 km2 (198,120 sq mi) (50th )
• WATER (%)
0.4 (2,230 km2)
• 2015 ESTIMATE
67,959,000 (20th )
• 2010 CENSUS
132.1/km2 (342.1/sq mi) (88th )
GDP (PPP )
• PER CAPITA
• PER CAPITA
high · 87th
Baht (฿) (THB )
ICT (UTC +7)
DRIVES ON THE
ISO 3166 CODE
You may need rendering support to display the Thai text in this
THAILAND (/ˈtaɪlænd/ TY-land ), officially the KINGDOM OF
THAILAND and formerly known as SIAM, is a country at the centre of the
Indochinese peninsula in
Southeast Asia . With a total area of
approximately 513,000 km2 (198,000 sq mi),
Thailand is the world's
50th-largest country . It is the 20th-most-populous country in the
world, with around 66 million people.
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy and has switched between
parliamentary democracy and military junta for decades, the latest
coup being in May 2014 by the
National Council for Peace and Order .
Its capital and most populous city is
Bangkok . It is bordered to the
Laos , to the east by
Cambodia , to the
south by the
Gulf of Thailand
Gulf of Thailand and
Malaysia , and to the west by the
Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Myanmar. Its maritime
Vietnam in the
Gulf of Thailand
Gulf of Thailand to the southeast,
India on the
Andaman Sea to the southwest.
The Thai economy is the world's 20th largest by GDP at PPP and the
27th largest by nominal GDP. It became a newly industrialised country
and a major exporter in the 1990s. Manufacturing, agriculture, and
tourism are leading sectors of the economy. It is considered a
middle power in the region and around the world.
* 1 Etymology
* 1.1 Etymology of "Siam"
* 1.2 Etymology of "Thailand"
* 1.3 Name
* 2 History
* 2.1 20th century
* 2.2 World War II
* 2.3 Modern history
* 2.4 Historical gallery
* 3 Politics and government
* 4 Administrative divisions
* 4.1 Regions
* 4.2 Southern region
* 5 Foreign relations
* 6 Armed forces
* 7 Geography
* 7.1 Climate
* 7.2 Environment
* 7.3 Wildlife
* 8 Education
* 9 Science and technology
* 10 Economy
* 10.1 Recent economic history
* 10.2 Exports and manufacturing
* 10.4 Agriculture
* 10.5 Energy
* 10.6 Transportation
* 11 Demographics
* 11.2 Population centres
* 11.3 Language
* 11.4 Religion
* 12 Culture
* 12.1 Cuisine
* 12.2 Media
* 12.3 Units of measurement
* 13 Sports
* 13.1 Sporting venues
* 14 International rankings
* 15 See also
* 16 References
* 16.1 Bibliography
* 17 External links
THAILAND (/ˈtaɪlænd/ TY-land or /ˈtaɪlənd/ TY-lənd ; Thai :
ประเทศไทย, rtgs : Prathet Thai, pronounced (
listen )), officially the KINGDOM OF THAILAND (Thai :
ราชอาณาจักรไทย, rtgs : Ratcha-anachak Thai
( listen )), formerly known as SIAM (Thai : สยาม, rtgs :
Sayam ), is a country at the centre of the
Indochinese peninsula in
Southeast Asia .
ETYMOLOGY OF "SIAM"
The country has always been called
Mueang Thai by its citizens. By
outsiders prior to 1949, it was usually known by the exonym Siam (Thai
: สยาม rtgs : Sayam, pronounced , also spelled Siem, Syâm,
or Syâma). The word Siam has been identified with the Sanskrit
Śyāma (श्याम, meaning "dark" or "brown"). The names Shan
and A-hom seem to be variants of the same word. The word Śyâma is
possibly not its origin, but a learned and artificial distortion.
Another theory is the name derives from Chinese: "Ayutthaya emerged as
a dominant centre in the late fourteenth century. The Chinese called
this region Xian, which the Portuguese converted into Siam." (Baker
and Phongpaichit, A History of Thailand, 8) A further possibility is
that Mon -speaking peoples migrating south called themselves 'syem' as
do the autochthonous
Mon-Khmer -speaking inhabitants of the Malay
Peninsula . SPPM
Mongkut Rex Siamensium,
King Mongkut 's
The signature of
King Mongkut (r. 1851 – 1868) reads SPPM (Somdet
Phra Poramenthra Maha)
Mongkut King of the Siamese, giving the name
"Siam" official status until 24 June 1939 when it was changed to
Thailand was renamed Siam from 1945 to 11 May 1949, after
which it again reverted to Thailand.
ETYMOLOGY OF "THAILAND"
George Cœdès , the word Thai (ไทย) means "free
man" in the Thai language, "differentiating the Thai from the natives
encompassed in Thai society as serfs." A famous Thai scholar argued
that Thai (ไท) simply means "people" or "human being", since his
investigation shows that in some rural areas the word "Thai" was used
instead of the usual Thai word "khon" (คน) for people.
Thai people will often refer to their country using the polite
form prathet Thai (Thai : ประเทศไทย), they most
commonly use the more colloquial term mueang Thai (Thai :
เมืองไทย) or simply Thai, the word mueang ,
archaically a city-state, commonly used to refer to a city or town as
the centre of a region. Ratcha Anachak Thai (Thai :
ราชอาณาจักรไทย) means "kingdom of
Thailand" or "kingdom of Thai". Etymologically, its components are:
Sanskrit raja "king, royal, realm") ; -ana- (
"authority, command, power", itself from an Old Indo-Aryan form
ājñā of the same meaning) -chak (from
Sanskrit चक्र cakra-
"wheel", a symbol of power and rule). The
Thai National Anthem (Thai :
เพลงชาติ), written by
Luang Saranupraphan during the
extremely patriotic 1930s, refers to the Thai nation as: prathet Thai
(Thai: ประเทศไทย). The first line of the national
anthem is: prathet thai ruam lueat nuea chat chuea thai (Thai :
Thailand is the unity of Thai flesh and blood."
The "Kingdom of Thailand" is the official English name of the
KINGDOM OF SUKHOTHAI
KINGDOM OF AYUTTHAYA
KINGDOM OF THONBURI
KINGDOM OF RATTANAKOSIN
KINGDOM OF THAILAND
ROYAL KINGDOM OF SIAM
KINGDOM OF THAILAND
History of Thailand
History of Thailand
There is evidence of human habitation in
Thailand that has been dated
at 40,000 years before the present, with stone artifacts dated to this
Tham Lod Rockshelter in
Mae Hong Son . Similar to other
regions in Southeast Asia,
Thailand was heavily influenced by the
culture and religions of
India , starting with the Kingdom of Funan
around the 1st century CE to the
Khmer Empire .
Thailand in its
earliest days was under the rule of the
Khmer Empire , which had
strong Hindu roots, and the influence among Thais remains even today.
The ruins of
Wat Chaiwatthanaram at Ayutthaya
Indian influence on Thai culture was partly the result of direct
contact with Indian settlers, but mainly it was brought about
indirectly via the indianized kingdoms of
Srivijaya , and
Cambodia. E.A. Voretzsch believes that
Buddhism must have been
flowing into Siam from
India in the time of the Indian Emperor Ashoka
Maurya Empire and far on into the first millennium after
Thailand was influenced by the south Indian Pallava
dynasty and north Indian
Gupta Empire .
According to George Cœdès, "The Thai first enter history of Farther
India in the eleventh century with the mention of Syam slaves or
prisoners of war in"
Champa epigraphy, and "in the twelfth century,
the bas-reliefs of
Angkor Wat " where "a group of warriors" are
described as Syam. Additionally, "the
Mongols , after the seizure of
Ta-li on January 7, 1253 and the pacification of
Yunnan in 1257, did
not look with disfavor on the creation of a series of Thai
principalities at the expense of the old Indianized kingdoms." The
Menam Basin was originally populated by the Mons, and the location of
Dvaravati in the 7th century, followed by the
Khmer Empire in the
11th. The History of the Yuan mentions an embassy from the kingdom of
Sukhothai in 1282. In 1287, three Thai chiefs,
Mangrai , Ngam Muang,
Ram Khamhaeng formed a "strong pact of friendship".
After the fall of the
Khmer Empire in the 13th century, various
states thrived there, established by the various
Tai peoples , Mons ,
Ethnic Malays , as seen through the numerous
archaeological sites and artefacts that are scattered throughout the
Siamese landscape. Prior to the 12th century however, the first Thai
or Siamese state is traditionally considered to be the Buddhist
Sukhothai Kingdom , which was founded in 1238.
Following the decline and fall of the Khmer empire in the 13th–15th
century, the Buddhist Tai kingdoms of Sukhothai,
Lanna , and Lan Xang
(now Laos) were on the rise. However, a century later, the power of
Sukhothai was overshadowed by the new Kingdom of Ayutthaya ,
established in the mid-14th century in the lower
Chao Phraya River or
Menam area. Siamese envoys presenting letter to Pope Innocent XI
Ayutthaya's expansion centred along the
Menam while in the northern
Lanna Kingdom and other small Tai city-states ruled the
area. In 1431, the Khmer abandoned
Angkor after Ayutthaya forces
invaded the city.
Thailand retained a tradition of trade with its
neighbouring states, from
China to India,
Persia , and
Ayutthaya became one of the most vibrant trading centres in Asia.
European traders arrived in the early 16th century, beginning with the
envoy of Portuguese duke
Afonso de Albuquerque in 1511, followed by
the French, Dutch, and English. The Burmese–Siamese War
(1765–1767) left Ayutthaya burned and sacked by King Hsinbyushin
After the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767 to the Burmese,
Taksin moved the
Thonburi for approximately 15 years. The current
Rattanakosin era of Thai history began in 1782 following the
Bangkok as capital of the
Chakri dynasty under King
Rama I the Great. According to the
Encyclopædia Britannica , "A
quarter to a third of the population of some areas of
Burma were slaves in the 17th through the 19th centuries."
Territorial losses to western powers by year
Despite European pressure,
Thailand is the only Southeast Asian
nation to never have been colonized. This has been ascribed to the
long succession of able rulers in the past four centuries who
exploited the rivalry and tension between the French and British
Empire . In 1896, Britain and
France guaranteed of the Chao Phraya
valley as their buffer state (not the whole of Siam), while the
remaining parts of
Southeast Asia were colonized by the western
powers. Western influence nevertheless led to many reforms in the 19th
century and major concessions, most notably the loss of a large
territory on the east side of the
Mekong to the French and the
step-by-step absorption by Britain of the Shan and Karen people areas
Malay Peninsula .
As part of the concessions which the
Chakri dynasty offered to the
British Empire in return for their support, Siam ceded four
predominantly ethnic-Malay southern provinces to the
British Empire in
Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 . These four provinces (
Kedah , and
Perlis ) would later became
Malaysia 's four
In 1917, Siam joined the
Allies of World War I
Allies of World War I and is counted as one
of the victors of
World War I
World War I . The bloodless revolution took place in
1932 carried out by the
Khana Ratsadon group of military and civilian
officials resulted in a transition of power, when King
forced to grant the people of Siam their first constitution, thereby
ending centuries of absolute monarchy .
In 1939, the name of the kingdom, "Siam", was changed to "Thailand".
WORLD WAR II
Thailand in World War II
Thailand in World War II
During World War II, the
Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan demanded the right to move
Thailand to the Malayan frontier. The Japanese invasion
on 8 December 1941 occurred in co-ordination with attacks throughout
Asia and engaged the
Royal Thai Army
Royal Thai Army for six to eight hours before
Plaek Phibunsongkhram ordered an armistice . Shortly thereafter, Japan
was granted free passage, and on 21 December 1941,
Thailand and Japan
signed a military alliance with a secret protocol, wherein Tokyo
agreed to help
Thailand regain territories lost to the British and
Thailand declared war on the
United States and the
United Kingdom on 25 January 1942, and undertook to "assist"
its war against the Allies, while at the same time maintaining an
Free Thai Movement . Approximately 200,000 Asian
labourers (mainly romusha ) and 60,000 Allied prisoners of war (POWs)
worked on the
Burma Railway , which is commonly known as the "Death
History of Thailand
History of Thailand (1932–1973) and History of Thailand
The history of
Thailand from 1932 to 1973 was dominated by military
dictatorships which were in power for much of the period. The main
personalities of the period were the dictator Luang Phibunsongkhram
(better known as Phibun), who allied the country with
Japan during the
Second World War, and the civilian politician
Pridi Phanomyong , who
Thammasat University and was briefly the prime minister after
A succession of military dictators followed Pridi's ousting —
Sarit Dhanarajata and
Thanom Kittikachorn — under whom
traditional, authoritarian rule was combined with increasing
modernisation and westernisation under the influence of the US . The
end of the period was marked by Thanom's resignation, following a
massacre of pro-democracy protesters led by Thammasat students. Thanom
misread the situation as a coup d'état, and fled, leaving the country
leaderless. HM appointed
Thammasat University chancellor Sanya
Dharmasakti PM by royal command.
Thailand helped the USA and South
Vietnam in the
Vietnam War between
1965–1971. The USAF based F-4 Phantom fighters at Udon and Ubon Air
Base, and stationed B-52s at U-Tapao. Thai forces also saw heavy
action in the covert war in
Laos that occurred from 1964 to 1972.
In 1973, there was a popular uprising which resulted in the end of
the ruling military dictatorship of anti-communist Thanom Kittikachorn
and altered the Thai political system . Notably, it highlighted the
growing influence of Thai university students in politics.
For most of the 1980s,
Thailand was ruled by prime minister Prem
Tinsulanonda , a democratically-inclined strongman who restored
parliamentary politics. Thereafter the country remained a democracy
apart from a brief period of military rule from 1991 to 1992. The
Thai Rak Thai party, led by prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra
, governed from 2001 until 2006. In 2006 mass protests against the
Thai Rak Thai party's alleged corruption, prompted the military to
stage a coup d'état, in September. A general election in December
2007 restored a civilian government, but in May 2014 another military
coup returned the absolute power to the army.
Pottery discovered near
Ban Chiang in
Udon Thani Province, the
earliest dating to 2100 BCE
Phimai , Prasat
Phimai is the largest temple in the country from the
Khmer Empire .
The immense 19-metre-high (62-foot) gilded statue of a seated Buddha
Wat Phanan Choeng
Wat Phanan Choeng , the latter from 1324, pre-dates the founding of
the city of Ayutthaya
A 15 metres (49 feet) Buddha image in Sukhothai , Phra Achana, built
in the 13th century
Painting of Ayutthaya C 1665, by
Johannes Vingboons , ordered by the
Kosa Pan presents King Narai's letter to Louis XIV at Versailles, 1
Napoleon III receiving Siamese envoys, 1864
POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT
Politics of Thailand
Politics of Thailand ,
Constitutions of Thailand , Law
Thailand , and
Government of Thailand
The politics of
Thailand is currently conducted within the framework
of a constitutional monarchy , whereby the Prime Minister is the head
of government and a hereditary monarch is head of state . The
judiciary is supposed to be independent of the executive and the
legislative branches, although judicial rulings are suspected of being
based on political considerations rather than on existing law.
Democracy Monument : a representation of the 1932
Constitution sits on top of two golden offering bowls above a turret.
Since the political reform of the absolute monarchy in 1932, Thailand
has had 19 constitutions and charters. Throughout this time, the
form of government has ranged from military dictatorship to electoral
democracy, but all governments have acknowledged a hereditary monarch
as the head of state.
Prior to 1932, the Kingdom of Siam did not possess a legislature, as
all legislative powers were vested in the person of the monarch. This
had been the case since the foundation of the
Sukhothai Kingdom in the
12th century as the king was seen as a "Dharmaraja" or "king who rules
in accordance with
Dharma ", (the Buddhist law of righteousness).
However, on 24 June 1932 a group of civilians and military officers,
calling themselves the
Khana Ratsadon (or People's Party) carried out
a bloodless revolution in which the 150 years of absolute rule of the
Chakri Dynasty ended. In its stead the group advocated a
constitutional form of monarchy with an elected legislature.
The "Draft Constitution" of 1932 signed by King
Thailand's first legislature, a People's Assembly with 70 appointed
members. The assembly met for the first time on 28 June 1932, in the
Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall
Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall . The
Khana Ratsadon decided that the
people were not yet ready for an elected assembly. They later changed
their minds. By the time the "permanent" constitution came into force
in December of that year, elections were scheduled for 15 November
1933. The new constitution changed the composition of the assembly to
78 directly elected and 78 appointed (by the Khana Ratsadon), together
totalling 156 members.
Since May 2014
Thailand has been ruled by a military junta , the
National Council for Peace and Order , which has partially repealed
the 2007 constitution , declared martial law and nationwide curfew,
banned political gatherings, arrested and detained politicians and
anti-coup activists, imposed internet censorship and taken control of
The King of Thailand, King
Vajiralongkorn (or Rama X), is the current
monarch, reigning since the death of his father Bhumibol Adulyadej
(Rama IX) on 13 October 2016, in actuality he has only exercised the
role of monarch since 1 December 2016. The constitution stipulates
that although the sovereignty of the state is vested in the people,
the king will exercise such powers through the three branches of the
Thai government. Under the constitution the king is given very little
power, but remains a figurehead and symbol of the Thai nation. As the
head of state , however, he is given some powers and has a role to
play in the workings of government. According to the constitution, the
king is head of the armed forces . He is required to be Buddhist as
well as the defender of all faiths in the country. The king also
retained some traditional powers such as the power to appoint his
heirs, the power to grant pardons, and the royal assent . The king is
aided in his duties by the
Privy Council of Thailand .
Organization of the government of Thailand and
Provinces of Thailand
Provinces of Thailand
Thailand is divided into 76 provinces (จังหวัด,
changwat), which are gathered into five groups of provinces by
location. There are also two specially-governed districts: the capital
Bangkok (Krung Thep Maha Nakhon) and
Bangkok is at
provincial level and thus often counted as a province.
Each province is divided into districts and the districts are further
divided into sub-districts (tambons). As of 2006 there were 877
districts (อำเภอ, amphoe) and the 50 districts of Bangkok
(เขต, khet). Some parts of the provinces bordering
also referred to as Greater
Bangkok (ปริมณฑล, pari
monthon). These provinces include Nonthaburi , Pathum Thani , Samut
Nakhon Pathom and Samut Sakhon . The name of each province's
capital city (เมือง, mueang) is the same as that of the
province. For example, the capital of
Chiang Mai Province (Changwat
Chiang Mai) is
Chiang Mai or Chiang Mai. A clickable map of
Thailand exhibiting its provinces.
Regions of Thailand
Thai provinces are administrated by regions, the regions that
Thailand usually uses to division the provinces is four-region
division system, It divides the country into the four regions:
Northern Thailand ,
Northeastern Thailand ,
Central Thailand and
Southern Thailand .
In each regions has it own different Historical Background, Culture,
Language and People.
Thai local people in the four regions ideally admire the
administration of the regions based on Administrative divisions in
Germany and British Devolved administrations such as
Scotland , Wales
Northern Ireland .
In contrast to the administrative divisions of the Provinces of
Unitary state , the provincial Governors,
district chiefs, and district clerks are appointed by the central
government. the regions no longer have an administrative character,
but are used for geographical , statistical , geological ,
meteorological or touristic purposes.
South Thailand insurgency Southern provinces of
Thailand showing the Malay-Muslim majority areas
Thailand controlled the
Malay Peninsula as far south as Malacca in
the 15th century and held much of the peninsula, including Temasek
(Singapore), some of the
Andaman Islands , and a colony on
Java , but
eventually contracted when the British used force to guarantee their
suzerainty over the sultanate.
Mostly the northern states of the Malay Sultanate presented annual
gifts to the Thai king in the form of a golden flower —a gesture of
tribute and an acknowledgement of vassalage. The British intervened in
the Malay State and with the Anglo-Siamese Treaty tried to build a
railway from the south to Bangkok.
Thailand relinquished sovereignty
over what are now the northern Malay provinces of
Kelantan , and
Terengganu to the British. Satun and
were given to Thailand.
The Malay peninsular provinces were occupied by the Japanese during
World War II, and infiltrated by the
Malayan Communist Party
Malayan Communist Party (CPM)
from 1942 to 2008, when they sued for peace with the Malaysian and
Thai governments after the CPM lost its support from
Vietnam and China
subsequent to the
Cultural Revolution . Recent insurgent uprisings may
be a continuation of separatist fighting which started after World War
II with Sukarno's support for the PULO . Most victims since the
uprisings have been Buddhist and Muslim bystanders.
Foreign relations of Thailand Royal Thai Embassy
Washington, D.C. Royal Thai Embassy in
Wellington , New
The foreign relations of
Thailand are handled by the Minister of
Thailand participates fully in international and regional
organisations. It is a major non-NATO ally and Priority Watch List
Special 301 Report of the United States. The country remains an active
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Association of Southeast Asian Nations .
developed increasingly close ties with other
ASEAN members: Indonesia,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar,
and Vietnam, whose foreign and economic ministers hold annual
meetings. Regional co-operation is progressing in economic, trade,
banking, political, and cultural matters. In 2003,
Thailand served as
Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) host. Dr. Supachai
Panitchpakdi, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, currently
serves as Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade
and Development (UNCTAD). In 2005
Thailand attended the inaugural East
In recent years,
Thailand has taken an increasingly active role on
the international stage. When
East Timor gained independence from
Indonesia, Thailand, for the first time in its history, contributed
troops to the international peacekeeping effort. Its troops remain
there today as part of a UN peacekeeping force. As part of its effort
to increase international ties,
Thailand has reached out to such
regional organisations as the Organization of American States (OAS)
and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Thailand has contributed troops to reconstruction efforts in
Afghanistan and Iraq.
Thaksin initiated negotiations for several free trade agreements with
China, Australia, Bahrain, India, and the US. The latter especially
was criticised, with claims that uncompetitive Thai industries could
be wiped out.
Thaksin also announced that
Thailand would forsake foreign aid, and
work with donor countries to assist in the development of neighbours
in the Greater
Mekong Sub-region. Thaksin sought to position Thailand
as a regional leader, initiating various development projects in
poorer neighbouring countries like Laos. More controversially, he
established close, friendly ties with the Burmese dictatorship.
Thailand joined the US-led invasion of Iraq, sending a 423-strong
humanitarian contingent. It withdrew its troops on 10 September 2004.
Two Thai soldiers died in
Iraq in an insurgent attack.
Abhisit appointed Peoples Alliance for
Democracy leader Kasit Piromya
as foreign minister. In April 2009, fighting broke out between Thai
and Cambodian troops on territory immediately adjacent to the
900-year-old ruins of Cambodia's Preah Vihear Hindu temple near the
border. The Cambodian government claimed its army had killed at least
four Thais and captured 10 more, although the Thai government denied
that any Thai soldiers were killed or injured. Two Cambodian and three
Thai soldiers were killed. Both armies blamed the other for firing
first and denied entering the other's territory.
Royal Thai Armed Forces
Royal Thai Army
Royal Thai Army firing
M198 howitzer during training in Lopburi,
Thailand June 2016
HTMS Chakri Naruebet , an aircraft carrier of the
Royal Thai Navy
Royal Thai Air Force
Royal Thai Air Force
F-16 Fighting Falcon
F-16 Fighting Falcon
Royal Thai Armed Forces (Thai : กองทัพไทย, Kong
Thap Thai) constitute the military of the Kingdom of Thailand. It
consists of the
Royal Thai Army
Royal Thai Army (กองทัพบกไทย),
Royal Thai Navy (กองทัพเรือไทย), and the
Royal Thai Air Force
Royal Thai Air Force (กองทัพอากาศไทย). It
also incorporates various paramilitary forces.
The Thai Armed Forces have a combined manpower of 306,000 active duty
personnel and another 245,000 active reserve personnel. The head of
the Thai Armed Forces (จอมทัพไทย, Chom Thap Thai) is
the king, although this position is only nominal. The armed forces
are managed by the Ministry of Defence of
Thailand , which is headed
by the Minister of Defence (a member of the cabinet of
Thailand ) and
commanded by the
Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters , which in turn
is headed by the Chief of Defence Forces of
Thailand . In 2011,
Thailand's known military expenditure totalled approximately US$5.1
According to the constitution, serving in the armed forces is a duty
of all Thai citizens. However, only males over the age of 21, who
have not gone through reserve training of the Army Reserve Force
Students , are given the option of volunteering for the armed forces,
or participating in the random draft. The candidates are subjected to
varying lengths of training, from six months to two years of full-time
service, depending on their education, whether they have partially
completed the reserve training course, and whether they volunteered
prior to the draft date (usually 1 April every year).
Candidates with a recognised bachelor's degree serve one year of
full-time service if they are conscripted, or six months if they
volunteer at their district office (สัสดี, satsadi).
Likewise, the training length is also reduced for those who have
partially completed the three-year reserve training course (ร.ด.,
ro do). A person who completed one year out of three will only have to
serve full-time for one year. Those who completed two years of reserve
training will only have to do six months of full-time training, while
those who complete three years or more of reserve training will be
Royal Thai Armed Forces Day is celebrated on 18 January,
commemorating the victory of
Naresuan of the
Ayutthaya Kingdom in
battle against the crown prince of the
Taungoo Dynasty in 1593.
Geography of Thailand
Geography of Thailand View of the Luang Prabang
Range , which straddles the Thai-Lao border, in
Nan Province ,
Northern Thailand A typical limestone island in
Phi Phi Islands
Totalling 513,120 square kilometres (198,120 sq mi),
Thailand is the
world's 50th-largest country by total area. It is slightly smaller
Yemen and slightly larger than
Thailand comprises several distinct geographic regions, partly
corresponding to the provincial groups. The north of the country is
the mountainous area of the
Thai highlands , with the highest point
Doi Inthanon in the
Thanon Thong Chai Range at 2,565 metres
(8,415 ft) above sea level . The northeast,
Isan , consists of the
Khorat Plateau , bordered to the east by the
Mekong River . The centre
of the country is dominated by the predominantly flat Chao Phraya
river valley, which runs into the
Gulf of Thailand
Gulf of Thailand .
Southern Thailand consists of the narrow
Kra Isthmus that widens into
Malay Peninsula . Politically, there are six geographical regions
which differ from the others in population, basic resources, natural
features, and level of social and economic development. The diversity
of the regions is the most pronounced attribute of Thailand's physical
Chao Phraya and the
Mekong River are the indispensable water
courses of rural Thailand. Industrial scale production of crops use
both rivers and their tributaries. The
Gulf of Thailand
Gulf of Thailand covers 320,000
square kilometres (124,000 sq mi) and is fed by the Chao Phraya, Mae
Klong , Bang Pakong , and Tapi Rivers. It contributes to the tourism
sector owing to its clear shallow waters along the coasts in the
southern region and the Kra Isthmus. The eastern shore of the Gulf of
Thailand is an industrial centre of
Thailand with the kingdom's
premier deepwater port in Sattahip and its busiest commercial port,
Laem Chabang .
Andaman Sea is a precious natural resource as it hosts the most
popular and luxurious resorts in Asia. Phuket ,
Ranong , Phang
Nga and Trang , and their islands, all lay along the coasts of the
Andaman Sea and, despite the 2004 tsunami , they are a tourist magnet
for visitors from around the world.
Plans have resurfaced for a canal which would connect the Andaman Sea
to the Gulf of Thailand, analogous to the Suez and the Panama Canals .
The idea has been greeted positively by Thai politicians as it would
cut fees charged by the Ports of
Singapore , improve ties with China
and India, lower shipping times, and eliminate pirate attacks in the
Strait of Malacca
Strait of Malacca , and support the Thai government's policy of being
the logistical hub for Southeast Asia. The canal, it is claimed, would
improve economic conditions in the south of Thailand, which relies
heavily on tourism income, and it would also change the structure of
the Thai economy by making it an
Asia logistical hub. The canal would
be a major engineering project and has an expected cost of US$20–30
Thailand map of
Köppen climate classification Satellite
image of flooding in Thailand, Oct 2011
Thailand's climate is influenced by monsoon winds that have a
seasonal character (the southwest and northeast monsoon). :2 The
southwest monsoon, which starts from May until October is
characterized by movement of warm, moist air from the
Indian Ocean to
Thailand, causing abundant rain over most of the country. :2 The
northeast monsoon, starting from October until February brings cold
and dry air from
China over most of Thailand. :2 In southern Thailand,
the northeast monsoon brings mild weather and abundant rainfall on the
eastern coast of that region. :2 Most of
Thailand has a "tropical wet
and dry or savanna climate" type (Köppen 's Tropical savanna climate
). The south and the eastern tip of the east have a tropical monsoon
Thailand is divided into three seasons. :2 The first is the rainy or
southwest monsoon season (mid–May to mid–October) which prevails
over most of the country. :2 This season is characterized by abundant
rain with August and September being the wettest period of the year.
:2 This can occasionally lead to floods. :4 In addition to rainfall
caused by the southwest monsoon, the Intertropical Convergence Zone
(ITCZ) and tropical cyclones also contribute to producing heavy
rainfall during the rainy season. :2 Nonetheless, dry spells commonly
occur for 1 to 2 weeks from June to early July. :4 This is due to the
northward movement of the
Intertropical Convergence Zone to southern
China. :4 Winter or the northeast monsoon starts from mid–October
until mid–February. :2 Most of
Thailand experiences dry weather
during this season with mild temperatures. :2:4 The exception is the
southern parts of
Thailand where it receives abundant rainfall,
particularly during October to November. :2 Summer or the
pre–monsoon season runs from mid–February until mid–May and is
characterized by warmer weather. :3
Due to its inland nature and latitude, the north, northeast, central
and eastern parts of
Thailand experience a long period of warm
weather. :3 During the hottest time of the year (March to May),
temperatures usually reach up to 40 °C (104 °F) or more with the
exception of coastal areas where sea breezes moderate afternoon
temperatures. :3 In contrast, outbreaks of cold air from
bring colder temperatures; in some cases (particularly the north and
northeast) close to or below 0 °C (32 °F). :3
Southern Thailand is
characterized by mild weather year-round with less diurnal and
seasonal variations in temperatures due to maritime influences. :3
Most of the country receives a mean annual rainfall of 1,200 to 1,600
mm (47 to 63 in). :4 However, certain areas on the windward sides of
mountains such as
Ranong province in the west coast of southern
Thailand and eastern parts of
Trat Province receive more than 4,500 mm
(180 in) of rainfall per year. :4 The driest areas are on the leeward
side in the central valleys and northernmost portion of south Thailand
where mean annual rainfall is less than 1,200 mm (47 in). :4 Most of
Thailand (north, northeast, central and east) is characterized by dry
weather during the northeast monsoon and abundant rainfall during the
southwest monsoon. :4 In the southern parts of Thailand, abundant
rainfall occurs in both the northeast and southwest monsoon seasons
with a peak in September for the western coast and a peak in
November–January on the eastern coast. :4
Thailand has a mediocre but improving performance in the global
Environmental Performance Index (EPI) with an overall ranking of 91
out of 180 countries in 2016. This is also a mediocre rank in the Asia
Pacific region specifically, but ahead of countries like
China. The EPI was established in 2001 by the
World Economic Forum
World Economic Forum as
a global gauge to measure how well individual countries perform in
implementing the United Nations'
Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainable Development Goals . The
environmental areas where
Thailand performs worst (i.e. highest
ranking) are air quality (167), environmental effects of the
agricultural industry (106) and the climate and energy sector (93),
the later mainly because of a high
CO2 emission per KWh produced.
Thailand performs best (i.e. lowest ranking) in water resource
management (66), with some major improvements expected for the future
too, and sanitation (68).
List of species native to Thailand The population
Asian elephants in Thailand's wild has dropped to an estimated
The elephant is Thailand's national symbol . Although there were
100,000 domesticated elephants in
Thailand in 1850, the population of
elephants has dropped to an estimated 2,000. Poachers have long
hunted elephants for ivory , meat , and hides. Young elephants are
often captured for use in tourist attractions or as work animals,
although their use has declined since the government banned logging in
1989. There are now more elephants in captivity than in the wild, and
environmental activists claim that elephants in captivity are often
Poaching of protected species remains a major problem. Hunters have
decimated the populations of tigers , leopards , and other large cats
for their valuable pelts. Many animals (including tigers, bears,
crocodiles , and king cobras ) are farmed or hunted for their meat,
which is considered a delicacy, and for their supposed medicinal
properties. Although such trade is illegal, the famous
Chatuchak is still known for the sale of endangered species.
The practice of keeping wild animals as pets threatens several
species. Baby animals are typically captured and sold, which often
requires killing the mother. Once in captivity and out of their
natural habitat, many pets die or fail to reproduce. Affected
populations include the
Asiatic black bear
Asiatic black bear ,
Malayan sun bear ,
white-handed lar , pileated gibbon and binturong .
Education in Thailand Primary school students in
In 2014 the literacy rate was 93.5%. Education is provided by a
well-organized school system of kindergartens, primary, lower
secondary and upper secondary schools, numerous vocational colleges,
and universities. The private sector of education is well developed
and significantly contributes to the overall provision of education
which the government would not be able to meet with public
establishments. Education is compulsory up to and including age 14,
with the government providing free education through to age 17.
Chulalongkorn University , established in 1917, is the oldest
university in Thailand.
Teaching relies heavily on rote learning rather than on
student-centred methodology. The establishment of reliable and
coherent curricula for its primary and secondary schools is subject to
such rapid changes that schools and their teachers are not always sure
what they are supposed to be teaching, and authors and publishers of
textbooks are unable to write and print new editions quickly enough to
keep up with the volatility. Issues concerning university entrance has
been in constant upheaval for a number of years. Nevertheless, Thai
education has seen its greatest progress in the years since 2001. Most
of the present generation of students are computer literate. Thailand
was ranked 54th out of 56 countries globally for English proficiency,
the second-lowest in Asia.
Students in ethnic minority areas score consistently lower in
standardised national and international tests. This is likely due
to unequal allocation of educational resources, weak teacher training,
poverty, and low
Thai language skill, the language of the tests.
Extensive nationwide IQ tests were administered to 72,780 Thai
students from December 2010 to January 2011. The average IQ was found
to be 98.59, which is higher than previous studies have found. IQ
levels were found to be inconsistent throughout the country, with the
lowest average of 88.07 found in the southern region of Narathiwat
Province and the highest average of 108.91 reported in Nonthaburi
Province . The Ministry of Public Health blames the discrepancies on
iodine deficiency and steps are being taken to require that iodine be
added to table salt, a practice common in many Western countries.
In 2013, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology
announced that 27,231 schools would receive classroom-level access to
high-speed internet .
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
List of Thai inventions and discoveries
National Science and Technology Development Agency
National Science and Technology Development Agency is an agency
of the government of
Thailand which supports research in science and
technology and its application in the Thai economy .
The Synchrotron Light Research Institute (SLRI) is a Thai synchrotron
light source for physics, chemistry, material science, and life
sciences. It is at the
Suranaree University of Technology (SUT), in
Nakhon Ratchasima , about 300 kilometres (190 miles) northeast of
Bangkok. The institute, financed by the Ministry of Science and
Technology (MOST), houses the only large scale synchrotron in
Southeast Asia. It was originally built as the SORTEC synchrotron in
Japan and later moved to
Thailand and modified for 1.2 GeV operation.
It provides users with regularly scheduled light.
In Bangkok, there are 23,000 free public
Thailand includes 10
Gbit /s high speed fibre-optic
lines that can be leased and ISPs such as KIRZ that provide
Internet is censored by the Thai government, making some sites
unreachable. The organisations responsible are the Royal Thai Police
, the Communications Authority of
Thailand , and the Ministry of
Information and Communication Technology (MICT ).
Economy of Thailand
Thailand is an emerging economy and is considered a newly
industrialised country .
Thailand had a 2013 GDP of US$673 billion (on
a purchasing power parity basis).
Thailand is the 2nd largest
Southeast Asia after Indonesia.
Thailand ranks midway in
the wealth spread in
Southeast Asia as it is the 4th richest nation
according to GDP per capita, after Singapore, Brunei, and Malaysia.
Thailand functions as an anchor economy for the neighbouring
developing economies of Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia. In the third
quarter of 2014, the unemployment rate in
Thailand stood at 0.84%
according to Thailand's National Economic and Social Development Board
RECENT ECONOMIC HISTORY
BTS Skytrain passes through
Sathon , the business district
Bangkok , the capital of
Thailand and the country's largest
commercial and financial centre. The
MahaNakhon skyscraper in
Thailand experienced the world's highest economic growth rate from
1985 to 1996 – averaging 12.4% annually. In 1997 increased pressure
on the baht , a year in which the economy contracted by 1.9%, led to a
crisis that uncovered financial sector weaknesses and forced the
Chavalit Yongchaiyudh administration to float the currency . Prime
Chavalit Yongchaiyudh was forced to resign after his cabinet
came under fire for its slow response to the economic crisis. The baht
was pegged at 25 to the US dollar from 1978 to 1997. The baht reached
its lowest point of 56 to the US dollar in January 1998 and the
economy contracted by 10.8% that year, triggering the Asian financial
Thailand's economy started to recover in 1999, expanding 4.2–4.4%
in 2000, thanks largely to strong exports. Growth (2.2%) was dampened
by the softening of the global economy in 2001, but picked up in the
subsequent years owing to strong growth in Asia, a relatively weak
baht encouraging exports, and increased domestic spending as a result
of several mega projects and incentives of Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra , known as
Thaksinomics . Growth in 2002, 2003, and 2004
was 5–7% annually.
Growth in 2005, 2006, and 2007 hovered around 4–5%. Due both to the
weakening of the US dollar and an increasingly strong Thai currency,
by March 2008 the dollar was hovering around the 33 baht mark. While
Thaksinomics has received criticism, official economic data reveals
that between 2001 and 2011, Isan's GDP per capita more than doubled to
US$1,475, while, over the same period, GDP in the
increased from US$7,900 to nearly US$13,000.
With the instability surrounding major 2010 protests, the GDP growth
Thailand settled at around 4–5%, from highs of 5–7% under the
previous civilian administration. Political uncertainty was identified
as the primary cause of a decline in investor and consumer confidence.
The IMF predicted that the Thai economy would rebound strongly from
the low 0.1% GDP growth in 2011, to 5.5% in 2012 and then 7.5% in
2013, due to the monetary policy of the Bank of Thailand, as well as a
package of fiscal stimulus measures introduced by the former Yingluck
Following the Thai military coup of 22 May 2014, the AFP global news
agency published an article that claimed that the nation was on the
verge of recession. The article focused on the departure of nearly
180,000 Cambodians from
Thailand due to fears of an immigration
clampdown, but concluded with information on the Thai economy's
contraction of 2.1% quarter-on-quarter, from January to the end of
EXPORTS AND MANUFACTURING
Automotive production in
Thailand , 2004–2013 A
proportional representation of Thailand's exports
The economy of
Thailand is heavily export-dependent, with exports
accounting for more than two-thirds of gross domestic product (GDP).
Thailand exports over US$105 billion worth of goods and services
annually. Major exports include rice , textiles and footwear, fishery
products, rubber, jewellery, cars, computers, and electrical
Substantial industries include electric appliances, components,
computer components, and vehicles. Thailand's recovery from the
Asian financial crisis depended mainly on exports, among
various other factors. As of 2012 , the Thai automotive industry was
the largest in
Southeast Asia and the 9th largest in the world .
Thailand industry has an annual output of near 1.5 million
vehicles, mostly commercial vehicles.
Most of the vehicles built in
Thailand are developed and licensed by
foreign producers, mainly Japanese and South Korean . The Thai car
industry takes advantage of the
ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) to find a
market for many of its products. Eight manufacturers, five Japanese,
two US, and Tata of India, produce pick-up trucks in Thailand.
Thailand is the second largest consumer of pick-up trucks in the
world, after the US. In 2014, pick-ups accounted for 42% of all new
vehicle sales in Thailand.
Tourism in Thailand
Wat Phra Kaew
Wat Phra Kaew in
Bangkok Statue of a mythical Kinnon ,
Wat Phra Kaew
Wat Phra Kaew ,
Airbus A380 of the national carrier
Tourism makes up about 6% of the economy.
Thailand was the most
visited country in
Southeast Asia in 2013, according to the World
Tourism Organisation. Estimates of tourism receipts directly
contributing to the Thai GDP of 12 trillion baht range from 9 percent
(1 trillion baht) (2013) to 16 percent. When including the indirect
effects of tourism, it is said to account for 20.2 percent (2.4
trillion baht) of Thailand's GDP. :1
Tourism Authority of
Thailand (TAT) uses the slogan "Amazing
Thailand" to promote
Thailand internationally. In 2015, this was
supplemented by a "Discover Thainess" campaign.
Asian tourists primarily visit
Bangkok and the
historical, natural, and cultural sights in its vicinity. Western
tourists not only visit
Bangkok and surroundings, but in addition many
travel to the southern beaches and islands. The north is the chief
destination for trekking and adventure travel with its diverse ethnic
minority groups and forested mountains. The region hosting the fewest
Isan in the northeast. To accommodate foreign visitors,
the Thai government established a separate tourism police with offices
in the major tourist areas and its own central emergency telephone
number. "Amazing Thailand" –
Tourism booth at a
Travel and Tour Expo
Thailand's attractions include diving , sandy beaches, hundreds of
tropical islands , nightlife, archaeological sites, museums, hill
tribes , flora and bird life, palaces, Buddhist temples and several
World Heritage sites. Many tourists follow courses during their stay
in Thailand. Popular are classes in Thai cooking,
Thai massage . Thai national festivals range from Thai New
Year Songkran to
Loy Krathong . Many localities in
Thailand also have
their own festivals. Among the best-known are the "
Elephant Round-up "
in Surin , the "
Rocket Festival " in
Yasothon and the "Phi Ta
festival in Dan Sai .
Thai cuisine has become famous worldwide with
its enthusiastic use of fresh herbs and spices.
Bangkok shopping malls offer a variety of international and local
brands. Towards the north of the city, and easily reached by skytrain
or underground , is the
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Chatuchak Weekend Market . It is possibly the
largest market in the world, selling everything from household items
to live, and sometimes endangered, animals. The "
Pratunam Market "
specialises in fabrics and clothing. The night markets in the Silom
area and on
Khaosan Road are mainly tourist-oriented, selling items
such as T-shirts, handicrafts, counterfeit watches and sunglasses. In
the vicinity of
Bangkok one can find several floating markets such as
the one in Damnoen Saduak . The "Sunday Evening Walking Street
Market", held on Rachadamnoen Road inside the old city, is a shopping
highlight of a visit to
Chiang Mai up in northern Thailand. It
attracts many locals as well as foreigners. The "Night Bazaar" is
Chiang Mai's more tourist-oriented market, sprawling over several city
blocks just east of the old city walls towards the river.
Prostitution in Thailand and sex tourism also form a de facto part of
the economy. Campaigns promote
Thailand as exotic to attract tourists.
Cultural milieu combined with poverty and the lure of money have
caused prostitution and sex tourism in particular to flourish in
Thailand. One estimate published in 2003 placed the trade at US$4.3
billion per year or about 3% of the Thai economy. According to
Chulalongkorn University on the Thai illegal economy,
Thailand in the period between 1993 and 1995, made up
around 2.7% of the GDP. It is believed that at least 10% of tourist
dollars are spent on the sex trade. The head of Buddha, Wat
Ayutthaya Historical Park ,
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site .
Thailand is at the forefront of the growing practice of
sex-reassignment surgery (SRS). Statistic taken from 2014, illustrated
the country's medical tourism industry attracting over 2.5 million
visitors per year. In 1985–1990, only 5% of foreign transsexual
Thailand for sex-reassignment surgery. In more recent
years, 2010–2012, more than 90% of the visitors traveled to Thailand
Agriculture in Thailand
Thailand had long
been the largest rice exporter in the world . Forty-nine percent of
Thailand's labour force is employed in agriculture.
Forty-nine per cent of Thailand's labour force is employed in
agriculture . This is down from 70% in 1980. Rice is the most
important crop in the country and
Thailand had long been the world's
leading exporter of rice, until recently falling behind both
Thailand has the highest percentage of arable land, 27.25%,
of any nation in the Greater
Mekong Subregion . About 55% of the
arable land area is used for rice production.
Agriculture has been experiencing a transition from labour-intensive
and transitional methods to a more industrialised and competitive
sector. Between 1962 and 1983, the agricultural sector grew by 4.1%
per year on average and continued to grow at 2.2% between 1983 and
2007. The relative contribution of agriculture to GDP has declined
while exports of goods and services have increased.
Energy in Thailand
75% of Thailand's electrical generation is powered by natural gas in
2014. Coal-fired power plants produce an additional 20% of
electricity, with the remainder coming from biomass, hydro, and
Thailand produces roughly one-third of the oil it consumes. It is the
second largest importer of oil in SE Asia.
Thailand is a large
producer of natural gas, with reserves of at least 10 trillion cubic
feet. After Indonesia, it is the largest coal producer in SE Asia, but
must import additional coal to meet domestic demand.
Transport in Thailand and List of airports in Thailand
Demographics of Thailand
Demographics of Thailand
Thailand had a population of 66,720,153 as of 2013 . Thailand's
population is largely rural, concentrated in the rice-growing areas of
the central, northeastern, and northern regions.
Thailand had an urban
population of 45.7% as of 2010 , concentrated mostly in and around the
Bangkok Metropolitan Area .
Thailand's government-sponsored family planning program resulted in a
dramatic decline in population growth from 3.1% in 1960 to around 0.4%
today. In 1970, an average of 5.7 people lived in a Thai household. At
the time of the 2010 census, the average Thai household size was 3.2
Ethnic groups in
Thailand A procession
during the Hae Pha Khuen That festival of
Wat Phra Mahathat
Wat Phra Mahathat
Thai nationals make up the majority of Thailand's population, 95.9%
in 2010. The remaining 4.1% of the population are Burmese (2.0%),
others 1.3%, and unspecified 0.9%.
According to the Royal Thai Government's 2011 Country Report to the
UN Committee responsible for the International Convention for the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination , available from the
Department of Rights and Liberties Promotion of the Thai Ministry of
Justice, :3 62 ethnic communities are officially recognised in
Thailand. Twenty million Central Thai (together with approximately
Khorat Thai ) make up approximately 20,650,000 (34.1 percent)
of the nation's population of 60,544,937 at the time of completion of
the Mahidol University Ethnolinguistic Maps of
Thailand data (1997).
Thailand Country Report provides population numbers for
mountain peoples ('hill tribes') and ethnic communities in the
Northeast and is explicit about its main reliance on the Mahidol
University Ethnolinguistic Maps of
Thailand data. Thus, though over
3.288 million people in the Northeast alone could not be categorised,
the population and percentages of other ethnic communities circa 1997
are known for all of
Thailand and constitute minimum populations. In
descending order, the largest (equal to or greater than 400,000) are
a) 15,080,000 Lao (24.9 percent) consisting of the Thai Lao (14
million) and other smaller Lao groups, namely the Thai Loei
(400–500,000), Lao Lom (350,000), Lao Wiang/Klang (200,000), Lao
Khrang (90,000), Lao Ngaew (30,000), and Lao Ti (10,000; b) six
Khon Muang (9.9 percent, also called Northern Thais); c) 4.5
million Pak Tai (7.5 percent, also called Southern Thais); d) 1.4
million Khmer Leu (2.3 percent, also called Northern Khmer); e)
900,000 Malay (1.5%); f) 500,000 Ngaw (0.8 percent); g) 470,000 Phu
Thai (0.8 percent); h) 400,000 Kuy/Kuay (also known as Suay) (0.7
percent), and i) 350,000 Karen (0.6 percent). :7–13
Thai Chinese ,
those of significant Chinese heritage, are 14% of the population,
while Thais with partial Chinese ancestry comprise up to 40% of the
Thai Malays represent 3% of the population, with the
remainder consisting of Mons ,
Khmers and various "hill tribes ". The
country's official language is Thai and the primary religion is
Buddhism , which is practised by around 95% of the
Increasing numbers of migrants from neighbouring Myanmar, Laos, and
Cambodia, as well as from Nepal and India, have pushed the total
number of non-national residents to around 3.5 million as of 2009 , up
from an estimated 2 million in 2008, and about 1.3 million in 2000.
Some 41,000 Britons live in Thailand.
List of cities in Thailand
Largest municipalities in Thailand
Nonthaburi City 1
Pak Kret City
Hat Yai City
Nakhon Si Thammarat
Nakhon Si Thammarat City
Nakhon Si Thammarat
Nakhon Si Thammarat
Pak Kret City
Nakhon Sawan City
Hat Yai City
Laem Chabang City
Nakhon Ratchasima City
Udon Thani City
Chiang Mai City
Nakhon Pathom City
Surat Thani City
Ubon Ratchathani City
Chaophraya Surasak City
Chiang Rai City
Khon Kaen City
Languages of Thailand
Source: National Statistical Office of Thailand
The official language of
Thailand is Thai , a Tai–Kadai language
closely related to Lao , Shan in Myanmar, and numerous smaller
languages spoken in an arc from
Yunnan south to the Chinese
border. It is the principal language of education and government and
spoken throughout the country. The standard is based on the dialect of
the central Thai people, and it is written in the
Thai alphabet , an
abugida script that evolved from the
Khmer alphabet . Sixty-two
languages were recognised by the Royal Thai Government in the 2011
Country Report to the UN Committee responsible for the International
Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination ,
which employed an ethnolinguistic approach and is available from the
Department of Rights and Liberties Promotion of the Thai Ministry of
Justice. :3 Southern Thai is spoken in the southern provinces, and
Northern Thai is spoken in the provinces that were formerly part of
the independent kingdom of
Lan Na . For the purposes of the national
census, which does not recognise all 62 languages recognised by the
Royal Thai Government in the 2011 Country Report, four dialects of
Thai exist; these partly coincide with regional designations.
The largest of Thailand's minority languages is the Lao dialect of
Isan spoken in the northeastern provinces. Although sometimes
considered a Thai dialect, it is a Lao dialect, and the region where
it is traditionally spoken was historically part of the Lao kingdom of
Lan Xang . In the far south,
Kelantan-Pattani Malay is the primary
language of Malay Muslims. Varieties of Chinese are also spoken by the
Thai Chinese population, with the Teochew dialect
Numerous tribal languages are also spoken, including many
Austroasiatic languages such as Mon , Khmer , Viet , Mlabri and Orang
Austronesian languages such as Cham and Moken ; Sino-Tibetan
languages like Lawa , Akha , and Karen ; and other
Tai languages such
as Tai Yo , Phu Thai , and Saek . Hmong is a member of the
Hmong–Mien languages , which is now regarded as a language family of
English is a mandatory school subject, but the number of fluent
speakers remains low, especially outside cities.
Religion in Thailand
RELIGION IN THAILAND, 2010
Thailand's prevalent religion is
Buddhism , which is an
integral part of Thai identity and culture. Active participation in
Buddhism is among the highest in the world. According to the 2000
census, 94.6% of the country's population self-identified as Buddhists
Theravada tradition. Muslims constitute the second largest
religious group in Thailand, comprising 4.9% of the population.
Islam is concentrated mostly in the country's southernmost provinces:
Pattani , Yala , Satun , Narathiwat , and part of Songkhla Chumphon ,
which are predominantly Malay , most of whom are Sunni Muslims .
Christians represent 0.9% of the population, with the remaining
population consisting of Sikhs and Hindus , who live mostly in the
country's cities. There is also a small but historically significant
Jewish community in
Thailand dating back to the 17th century.
Culture of Thailand See also:
Music of Thailand , Isan
Cinema of Thailand
Buddhism , highly practised
Thai culture has been shaped by many influences, including Indian,
Lao, Burmese, Cambodian, and Chinese.
Its traditions incorporate a great deal of influence from India,
China, Cambodia, and the rest of Southeast Asia. Thailand's national
Theravada Buddhism, is central to modern Thai identity. Thai
Buddhism has evolved over time to include many regional beliefs
Hinduism , animism , as well as ancestor worship. The
official calendar in
Thailand is based on the Eastern version of the
Buddhist Era (BE), which is 543 years ahead of the Gregorian (Western)
calendar . Thus the year 2015 is 2558 BE in Thailand.
Several different ethnic groups, many of which are marginalised,
populate Thailand. Some of these groups spill over into Myanmar, Laos,
Malaysia and have mediated change between their
traditional local culture, national Thai, and global cultural
Overseas Chinese also form a significant part of Thai
society, particularly in and around Bangkok. Their successful
integration into Thai society has allowed for this group to hold
positions of economic and political power.
Thai Chinese businesses
prosper as part of the larger bamboo network , a network of overseas
Chinese businesses operating in the markets of
Southeast Asia that
share common family and cultural ties.
Khon show is the most
stylised form of Thai performance.
The traditional Thai greeting, the wai , is generally offered first
by the younger of the two people meeting, with their hands pressed
together, fingertips pointing upwards as the head is bowed to touch
face to fingertips, usually coinciding with the spoken words "sawatdi
khrap" for male speakers, and "sawatdi kha" for females. The elder may
then respond in the same way. Social status and position, such as in
government, will also have an influence on who performs the wai first.
For example, although one may be considerably older than a provincial
governor, when meeting it is usually the visitor who pays respect
first. When children leave to go to school, they are taught to wai
their parents to indicate their respect. The wai is a sign of respect
and reverence for another, similar to the namaste greeting of India
As with other 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 paramount in Thai culture. Elders have by
tradition ruled in family decisions or ceremonies. Older siblings have
duties to younger ones.
Thailand include touching someone's head or pointing with
the feet, as the head is considered the most sacred and the foot the
lowest part of the body.
Cuisine of Thailand
Thai cuisine blends five fundamental tastes: sweet, spicy, sour,
bitter, and salty. Common ingredients used in
Thai cuisine include
garlic, chillies, lime juice, lemon grass, coriander , galangal , palm
sugar, and fish sauce (nam pla). The staple food in
Thailand is rice,
particularly jasmine variety rice (also known as "hom Mali" rice)
which forms a part of almost every meal.
Thailand was long the world's
largest exporter of rice, and Thais domestically consume over 100 of
milled rice per person per year. Over 5,000 varieties of rice from
Thailand are preserved in the rice gene bank of the International Rice
Research Institute (IRRI), based in the Philippines. The king of
Thailand is the official patron of IRRI.
Media of Thailand
Thai society has been influenced in recent years by its widely
available multi-language press and media. There are some English and
numerous Thai and Chinese newspapers in circulation. Most Thai popular
magazines use English headlines as a chic glamour factor. Many large
Bangkok operate in English as well as other languages.
Thailand is the largest newspaper market in
Southeast Asia with an
estimated circulation of over 13 million copies daily in 2003. Even
upcountry, out of Bangkok, the media flourish. For example, according
to Thailand's Public Relations Department Media Directory 2003–2004,
the nineteen provinces of
Isan , Thailand's northeastern region,
hosted 116 newspapers along with radio, TV, and cable. Since then,
another province, Bueng Kan, was incorporated, totalling twenty
provinces. In addition, a military coup on 22 May 2014 led to severe
state restrictions on all media and forms of expression.
UNITS OF MEASUREMENT
Thai units of measurement
Thailand generally uses the metric system , but traditional units of
measurement for land area are used, and imperial units of measurement
are occasionally used for building materials, such as wood and
plumbing fixtures. Years are numbered as B.E. (Buddhist Era ) in
educational settings, the civil service, government, and on contracts
and newspaper datelines. In banking, and increasingly in industry and
commerce, standard Western year (Christian or Common Era) counting is
the standard practice.
Thailand at the Olympics ,
Rugby union in Thailand , Golf
Football in Thailand , and List of sporting events held
Muay Thai , Thailand's signature sport
Muay Thai (Thai : มวยไทย, RTGS: Muai Thai, , lit. "Thai
boxing") is a native form of kickboxing and Thailand's signature
sport. It incorporates kicks, punches, knees and elbow strikes in a
ring with gloves similar to those used in Western boxing and this has
Thailand gaining medals at the Olympic Games in boxing .
Association football has overtaken muay Thai as the most widely
followed sport in contemporary Thai society.
football team has played the
AFC Asian Cup six times and reached the
semifinals in 1972 . The country has hosted the Asian Cup twice, in
1972 and in 2007 . The 2007 edition was co-hosted together with
Vietnam . It is not uncommon to see Thais
cheering their favourite English Premier League teams on television
and walking around in replica kit. Another widely enjoyed pastime, and
once a competitive sport, is kite flying .
Volleyball is rapidly growing as one of the most popular sports. The
women\'s team has often participated in the World Championship , World
Cup , and World Grand Prix
Asian Championship . They have won the
Asian Championship twice and Asian Cup once. By the success of the
women's team, the men team has been growing as well.
Takraw (Thai: ตะกร้อ) is a sport native to Thailand, in
which the players hit a rattan ball and are only allowed to use their
feet, knees, chest, and head to touch the ball.
Sepak takraw is a form
of this sport which is similar to volleyball. The players must volley
a ball over a net and force it to hit the ground on the opponent's
side. It is also a popular sport in other countries in Southeast Asia.
A rather similar game but played only with the feet is buka ball .
Snooker has enjoyed increasing popularity in
Thailand in recent
years, with interest in the game being stimulated by the success of
Thai snooker player
James Wattana in the 1990s. Other notable players
produced by the country include
Ratchayothin Yotharuck , Noppon
Dechawat Poomjaeng .
Rugby is also a growing sport in
Thailand with the
rugby union team rising to be ranked 61st in the world. Thailand
became the first country in the world to host an international 80
welterweight rugby tournament in 2005. The national domestic Thailand
Rugby Union (TRU) competition includes several universities and
services teams such as
Chulalongkorn University , Mahasarakham
Kasetsart University ,
Prince of Songkla University ,
Thammasat University ,
Rangsit University , the
Thai Police , the Thai
Army , the
Thai Navy and the
Royal Thai Air Force
Royal Thai Air Force . Local sports clubs
which also compete in the TRU include the British Club of Bangkok, the
Southerners Sports Club (Bangkok) and the Royal
Bangkok Sports Club.
Thailand has been called the golf capital of
Asia as it is a popular
destination for golf. The country attracts a large number of golfers
from Japan, Korea, Singapore, South Africa, and Western countries who
come to play golf in
Thailand every year. The growing popularity of
golf, especially among the middle classes and immigrants, is evident
as there are more than 200 world-class golf courses nationwide, and
some of them are chosen to host PGA and LPGA tournaments, such as
Amata Spring Country Club , Alpine Golf and Sports Club, Thai Country
Club, and Black Mountain Golf Club.
Basketball is a growing sport in Thailand, especially on the
professional sports club level. The Chang
Thailand Slammers won the
ASEAN Basketball League Championship. The
basketball team had its most successful year at the 1966 Asian Games
where it won the silver medal.
Other sports in
Thailand are slowly growing as the country develops
its sporting infrastructure. The success in sports like weightlifting
and taekwondo at the last two summer Olympic Games has demonstrated
that boxing is no longer the only medal option for Thailand.
Thammasat Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Bangkok. It is
currently used mostly for football matches. The stadium holds 25,000.
It is on Thammasat University's Rangsit campus. It was built for the
1998 Asian Games
1998 Asian Games by construction firm Christiani and Nielsen, the same
company that constructed the
Democracy Monument in Bangkok.
Rajamangala Stadium is the biggest sporting arena in Thailand. It
currently has a capacity of 65,000. It is in Bang Kapi, Bangkok. The
stadium was built in 1998 for the
1998 Asian Games
1998 Asian Games and is the home
stadium of the
Thailand national football team .
The well-known Lumpini
Boxing Stadium will host its final Muay Thai
boxing matches on 7 February 2014 after the venue first opened in
December 1956. Managed by the Royal Thai Army, the stadium was
officially selected for the purpose of muay Thai bouts following a
competition that was staged on 15 March 1956. From 11 February 2014,
the stadium will relocate to Ram Intra Road, due to the new venue's
capacity to accommodate audiences of up to 3,500. Foreigners typically
pay between 1,000–2,000 baht to view a match, with prices depending
on the location of the seating.
International rankings of Thailand
The Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation
Indices of Economic Freedom
60 of 179
A.T. Kearney /
Foreign Policy magazine
Global Services Location Index 2011
7 of 50
Reporters Without Borders
Worldwide Press Freedom Index, 2014
130 of 180
Corruption Perceptions Index
80 of 179
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Development Programme
Human Development Index
Human Development Index
89 of 187
World Economic Forum
World Economic Forum
Global Competitiveness Report (2008)
34 of 134
World Gold Council
Gold reserve (2010)
24 of 111
Expat Explorer Survey (2012)
2 of 30
* Geography portal
Southeast Asia portal
Outline of Thailand
Index of Thailand-related articles
Royal Thai Police
Royal Thai Police
Law of Thailand
Telecommunications in Thailand
Thai temple art and architecture
Transport in Thailand
Corruption in Thailand
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