THE OVERVIEW OF THAILAND

The overview of Thailand

The kingdom of Thailand lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it a natural gateway to Indochina, Myanmar and Southern China. Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist kingdom almost equidistant between India and China. For centuries known by outsiders as Siam, Thailand has been something of a Southeast Asian migratory, cultural and religious cross-roads. With an area of some 510,000 square kilometres and a population of some 57 million, Thailand is approximately the same size as France, and shares borders with Myanmar to the west and north, Laos to the north-east, Kampuchea to the west, and Malaysia to the south. Geographically speaking, Thailand is divided into six major regions: the mountainous north where elephants work forests and winter temperatures are sufficiently cool to permit cultivation of temperate fruits such as strawberries and peaches; the sprawling north-east plateau, largely bordered by the Mekong River, where the world’s oldest Bronze Age civilisation flourished some 5,000 years ago; the central plain, one of the world’s most fertile rice and fruit-growing areas; the eastern coastal plain, where fine sandy beaches support the growth of summer resorts; western mountains and valleys, suitable for the development of hydro-electric power: and the peninsular south where arresting scenic beauty complements economically vital tin mining, robber cultivation and fishing.
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, or King Rama IX, the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty, the present king. The King has reigned for more than half a century, making him the longest reigning Thai monarch. Thailand embraces a rich diversity of cultures and traditions. With its proud history, tropical climate and renowned hospitality, the Kingdom is a never-ending source of fascination and pleasure for international visitors.

THAILAND FAST FACTS

Capital

Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok)13°44’N 100°30’E

Largest city

Bangkok

Official languages

Thai

Government

Constitutional Monarchy under Military junta

King

HM The King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Prime Minister

Abishit

President of the Council of National Security

General Sonthi Boonyaratglin

Independence

– Sukhothai kingdom 1238–1368
– Ayutthaya kingdom 1350–1767
– Thonburi kingdom 1767 to April 7, 1782
– Ratanakosin kingdom April 7, 1782 to date
– from Khmer Empire

Area

– Total: 514,000 km² (49th)
– Water: (%) 0.4

Population

– July 2005 estimate: 65,444,3711 (19th)
– 2000 census : 60,916,441
– Density: 126/km² (80th2)/sq mi

GDP (PPP) 2005 estimate

– Total: $560.7 billion (21st)
– Per capita: $8,300 (69th)

HDI (2004)

0.784 (medium) (74th))

Currency

Baht (THB)

Time zone

UTC+7

Internet

TLD .th

Calling code

+ 66

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