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Coordinates: 15°24′N 101°18′E / 15.4°N 101.3°E / 15.4; 101.3

Kingdom of Thailand ราชอาณาจักรไทย (Thai) Ratcha-anachak Thai

Flag

Emblem

Anthem: Phleng Chat Thai (English: "Thai National Anthem")

Royal anthem: Sansoen Phra Barami (English: "Glorify His prestige")

Location of  Thailand  (green) in ASEAN  (dark grey)  –  [Legend]

Capital and largest city Bangkok 13°45′N 100°29′E / 13.750°N 100.483°E / 13.750; 100.483

Official languages Thai[1]

Spoken languages

Isan Kam Mueang Pak Tai

Ethnic groups (2009;[6] 2011[3]:95–99)

Thai  ∟ 34.1% Central Thai  ∟ 24.9% Khon
Khon
Isan[2]  ∟ 9.9% Khon
Khon
Muang  ∟ 7.5% Southern Thai 14% Thai Chinese 12% Others (incl. Karen, Malay, Mon, Khmer, "Hill tribes")[3]:95–99[4][5]

Religion

94.50% Buddhism 4.29% Islam 1.17% Christianity 0.03% Hinduism 0.01% Unaffiliated[7]

Demonym Thai Siamese (archaic)

Government Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy under a military junta

• Monarch

Maha Vajiralongkorn

• Prime Minister

Prayut Chan-o-cha

Legislature National Legislative Assembly (acting as National Assembly)

Formation

• Sukhothai Kingdom

1238–1448

• Ayutthaya Kingdom

1351–1767

•  Thonburi
Thonburi
Kingdom

1768–1782

• Rattanakosin Kingdom

6 April 1782

• Constitutional monarchy

24 June 1932

• Current constitution

6 April 2017

Area

• Total

513,120 km2 (198,120 sq mi) (50th)

• Water (%)

0.4 (2,230 km2)

Population

• 2016 estimate

68,863,514[8] (20th)

• 2010 census

64,785,909[9]

• Density

132.1/km2 (342.1/sq mi) (88th)

GDP (PPP) 2018 estimate

• Total

$1.296 trillion[10]

• Per capita

$18,734[10]

GDP (nominal) 2018 estimate

• Total

$514.700 billion[11]

• Per capita

$7,588[11]

Gini (2013) 37.8[12] medium

HDI (2015)  0.740[13] high · 87th

Currency Baht (฿) (THB)

Time zone ICT (UTC+7)

Drives on the left

Calling code +66

ISO 3166 code TH

Internet
Internet
TLD

.th .ไทย

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Thailand
Thailand
(/ˈtaɪlænd/ TY-land), officially the Kingdom of Thailand and formerly known as Siam, is a unitary state at the center of the Southeast Asian Indochinese peninsula
Indochinese peninsula
composed of 76 provinces. At 513,120 km2 and over 68 million people, Thailand
Thailand
is the world's 50th largest country by total area and the 21st-most-populous country. The capital and largest city is Bangkok, a special administrative area. Thailand
Thailand
is bordered to the north by Myanmar
Myanmar
and Laos, to the east by Laos
Laos
and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand
Gulf of Thailand
and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea
Andaman Sea
and the southern extremity of Myanmar. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam
Vietnam
in the Gulf of Thailand
Thailand
to the southeast, and Indonesia
Indonesia
and India
India
on the Andaman Sea to the southwest. Even though constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy form of government was established in 1932, the most recent coup d'état in 2014 made Thailand
Thailand
currently a de facto military dictatorship. Tai peoples
Tai peoples
migrated from southwestern China
China
to mainland Southeast Asia
Asia
since the 11th century. The oldest known mention of their presence in the region by the exonym Siamese is in a 12th-century inscription at the Angkor
Angkor
Wat. Various Indianised kingdoms
Indianised kingdoms
such as the Mon, the Khmer Empire
Khmer Empire
and Malay states ruled the region, competing with Thai states such as Ngoenyang, the Sukhothai Kingdom, Lan Na
Lan Na
and the Ayutthaya Kingdom, which rivalled each other. Before the end of the 15th century, Ayutthaya Kingdom
Ayutthaya Kingdom
was the new great power in the region. Europeans contact began with a Portuguese diplomatic mission to Ayutthaya in 1511. During cosmopolitan Narai's reign (1656–88), Ayutthaya was very prosperous and Europeans recognized it as one of the greatest kingdoms in the region. However, Ayutthaya then gradually declined and was ultimately destroyed in 1767. Taksin
Taksin
quickly unified the fragmented territory and crowned king of short-lived Thonburi Kingdom. In his final years, he and his sons was executed by his companion Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, the first monarch of reigning Chakri dynasty and founder of Rattanakosin Kingdom
Rattanakosin Kingdom
in 1782. The ensuing centuries saw colonial powers pressure on Siam, but remained the only South East Asian country not colonized by the West. The country was modernized and centralized during Chulalongkorn's reign (1868–1910). Siam joined the Allies in World War I. Bloodless Siamese revolution of 1932
Siamese revolution of 1932
changed the kingdom into constitutional monarchy. In the 1930s, the military dominated the politics and the country turned into a fascism. Thailand
Thailand
allied with Japan
Japan
during Thailand in World War II
Thailand in World War II
but most Allied powers did not accept Thai declaration of war. Thailand
Thailand
allied with the United States
United States
and led anti-communist role in the region. Sarit's coup and premiership revived the monarchy's role in politics. Popular uprising in 1973 was a result of internal conflict Thailand
Thailand
and leads to a brief period of parliamentary democracy which ended in 1976. Thailand
Thailand
is still considered a "partial democracy" for many decades. Since the 2000s seen the country pitted in a political crisis between supporters and opponents of ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, with two coups, most recently in 2014. Its current and 20th constitution was ratified on April 6, 2017, during military junta's watch. Thailand
Thailand
is a founding member of ASEAN
ASEAN
and a long-time allied of the United States. Thailand
Thailand
is considered a regional power in Southeast Asia
Asia
and a middle power in global affairs.[14] With a high level of human development, Thailand
Thailand
is classified as a newly industrialized economy which was heavily dependent on exports. Manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism are leading sectors of the economy.[15][16] Its economy is the second-largest in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
and the 20th largest by PPP.

Contents

1 Etymology

1.1 Etymology of "Siam" 1.2 Etymology of "Thailand"

2 History

2.1 Prehistory 2.2 Early states 2.3 Ayutthaya Kingdom 2.4 Modernization and centralization 2.5 Constitutional monarchy, World War II, and Cold War 2.6 Contemporary history

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

9.1 Internet

10 Economy

10.1 Recent economic history 10.2 Exports and manufacturing 10.3 Tourism 10.4 Agriculture 10.5 Energy 10.6 Transportation 10.7 Health

11 Demographics

11.1 Ethnic groups 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

Etymology Thailand
Thailand
(/ˈtaɪlænd/ TY-land or /ˈtaɪlənd/ TY-lənd;[17] Thai: ประเทศไทย, RTGS: Prathet Thai, pronounced [pratʰêːt tʰaj] ( listen)), officially the Kingdom of Thailand
Thailand
(Thai: ราชอาณาจักรไทย, RTGS: Ratcha-anachak Thai  [râːtt͡ɕʰaʔaːnaːt͡ɕàk tʰaj] ( listen), Chinese: 泰国), formerly known as Siam (Thai: สยาม, RTGS: Sayam  [sajǎːm]), is a country at the centre of the Indochinese peninsula
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 [sajǎːm], also spelled Siem, Syâm, or Syâma).[citation needed] The word Siam has been identified[by whom?] with the Sanskrit
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.[clarification needed][18] 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.[citation needed]

SPPM Mongkut
Mongkut
Rex Siamensium, King Mongkut's signature

The signature of King Mongkut
King Mongkut
(r. 1851–1868) reads SPPM (Somdet Phra Poramenthra Maha) Mongkut
Mongkut
King of the Siamese, giving the name "Siam" official status until 24 June 1939 when it was changed to Thailand.[19] Thailand
Thailand
was renamed to Siam from 1946 to 1948, after which it again reverted to Thailand. Etymology of "Thailand" According to 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."[20] 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.[21] According to Michel Ferlus, the ethnonyms Thai/Tai (or Thay/Tay) would have evolved from the etymon *k(ə)ri: 'human being' through the following chain: *kəri: > *kəli: > *kədi:/*kədaj > *di:/*daj > *dajA (Proto-Southwestern Tai) > tʰajA2 (in Siamese and Lao) or > tajA2 (in the other Southwestern and Central Tai languages
Tai languages
classified by Li Fangkuei).[22] Michel Ferlus' work is based on some simple rules of phonetic change observable in the Sinosphere and studied for the most part by William H. Baxter (1992).[23] While Thai 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: ratcha ( Sanskrit
Sanskrit
राजन्, rājan, "king, royal, realm") ; -ana- ( Pali
Pali
āṇā "authority, command, power", itself from the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
आज्ञा, ājñā, of the same meaning) -chak (from Sanskrit
Sanskrit
चक्र cakra- "wheel", a symbol of power and rule). The Thai National Anthem
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: ประเทศไทยรวมเลือดเนื้อชาติเชื้อไทย), " Thailand
Thailand
is the unity of Thai flesh and blood." History Main article: History of Thailand Prehistory Main articles: Prehistoric Thailand
Prehistoric Thailand
and Early history of Thailand

Map showing geographic distribution of Tai-Kadai linguistic family. Arrows represent general pattern of the migration of Tai-speaking tribes along the rivers and over the lower passes.[24]:27

There is evidence of continued human habitation in present-day Thailand
Thailand
dated 20,000 years.[25]:4 Earliest evidence of rice growing was dated 2,000 BCE.[24]:4 Bronze appeared during 1,250–1,000 BCE.[24]:4 Iron appeared around 500 BCE.[24]:5 Kingdom of Funan
Kingdom of Funan
was the first and most powerful South East Asian kingdom at the time (2nd century BCE).[25]:5 Mon people
Mon people
established principalities of Dvaravati and kingdom of Hariphunchai
Hariphunchai
in the 6th century. Khmer people established Khmer empire
Khmer empire
centered in Angkor
Angkor
in the 9th century.[25]:7 Tambralinga, a Malay state controlling trade through Malacca Strait, rose in the 10th century.[25]:5 Indochina peninsula was heavily influenced by the culture and religions of India, starting with the Kingdom of Funan
Kingdom of Funan
to the Khmer Empire.[26] Most scholars now believe that the Tai people
Tai people
came from northern Vietnam
Vietnam
around the Dien Bien Phu
Dien Bien Phu
area.[27] Tai people
Tai people
settled along river valleys, where they formed small settlements and engaged in subsistence rice agriculture. Women could have high social status and inherit property. Tai people
Tai people
started inhabiting in present-day Thailand
Thailand
in the 11th century, where Mon and Khmer kingdoms were situated at the time.[27] According to French historian George Cœdès, "The Thai first enter history of Farther India
India
in the eleventh century with the mention of Syam slaves or prisoners of war in" Champa
Champa
epigraphy, and "in the twelfth century, the bas-reliefs of Angkor
Angkor
Wat" where "a group of warriors" are described as Syam.[28] Early states Main article: Initial states of Thailand After the decline of the Khmer Empire
Khmer Empire
in the 13th century, various states thrived there, established by the various Tai peoples, Mons, Khmers, Chams
Chams
and 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
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
Chao Phraya River
or Menam
Menam
area. Ayutthaya Kingdom Main articles: Ayutthaya Kingdom
Ayutthaya Kingdom
and Thonburi
Thonburi
Kingdom According to the most widely accepted version of its origin, Ayutthaya Kingdom rose from the earlier, nearby Lavo Kingdom
Lavo Kingdom
and Suvarnabhumi. Uthong
Uthong
was its first king. Its initial expansion is through conquest and political marriage. Before the end of the 15th century, Ayutthaya invaded Khmer Empire
Khmer Empire
twice and sacked its capital Angkor. Ayutthaya then became a regional great power in place of Khmer Empire. Borommatrailokkanat brought about bureaucratic reforms which lasted into the 20th century and create a system of social hierarchy called Sakdina. Ayutthaya was interested in Malay peninsula
Malay peninsula
but failed to conquer Malacca Sultanate
Malacca Sultanate
which was supported by Chinese Ming Dynasty.

Siamese envoys presenting letter to Pope Innocent XI, 1688

European contact and trade started in the early 16th century, with the envoy of Portuguese duke Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque
in 1511, followed by the French, Dutch, and English. Ayutthaya then at war with Burmese Taungoo Dynasty. Multiple wars starting in 1540s were ultimately ended with capture of the capital in 1570. Then was a period of brief vassalage to Burma until Naresuan
Naresuan
proclaimed independence in 1584. Ayutthaya was an important trade center which was known to trade with China, India, Persia, and Arab
Arab
lands. The kingdom especially prospered during cosmopolitan Narai's reign (1656–88). Some European travelers regarded Ayutthaya as Asian great powers alongside China
China
and India.[24]:ix However, growing French influence later in his reign was met with nationalist sentiment and led to eventual revolution of 1688. Trade with the West declined and the kingdom became poorer. After that, there was a period of relative peace but its influence gradually waned, partly because of bloody struggles each succession, until the capital Ayutthaya was utterly destroyed in 1767 by Burmese new Alaungpaya
Alaungpaya
dynasty. Anarchy followed destruction of the former capital, with its territories split into five different factions, each controlled by a warlord. Taksin
Taksin
rose the power and proclaim Thonburi
Thonburi
as temporary capital in the same year. He also quickly subdue the other warlords. His forces engaged in wars with Burma, Laos, and Cambodia, which successfully drove the Burmese out of Lan Na
Lan Na
in 1775, captured Vientiane
Vientiane
in 1778 and tried to instate a pro- Thonburi
Thonburi
king in Cambodia in the 1770s. In his final years there was a coup which was caused by his supposedly "insanity" and eventually Taksin
Taksin
and his sons was executed by longtime companion General Chao Phraya
Chao Phraya
Chakri (future Rama I). He was the first king of the ruling Chakri Dynasty
Chakri Dynasty
and founder of Bangkok
Bangkok
(Rattanakosin Kingdom) on April 6, 1782. Modernization and centralization Main article: Rattanakosin Kingdom

Siamese territorial concessions to Britain and France
France
by year

Under Rama I, Rattanakosin successfully defended Burmese attacks and marks the end of Burmese invasion. He also created overlordship over large portion of Laos
Laos
and Cambodia. In 1821, John Crawfurd
John Crawfurd
was sent on a mission to negotiate a new trade agreement with Siam — the first sign of an issue which was to dominate 19th century Siamese politics.[29] European pressure mounted and in 1855, during Mongkut's reign, a British mission led by the Governor of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Sir John Bowring
John Bowring
led to conclusion of Bowring Treaty, first of many unequal treaties with Western countries. However, Thailand
Thailand
is the only Southeast Asian nation to never have been colonized by any Western power,[30] in part because Britain and France
France
guaranteed of the Chao Phraya
Chao Phraya
valley as their buffer state in 1896.[31] Western influence nevertheless led to many reforms in the 19th century. Chulalongkorn
Chulalongkorn
introduced the Monthon
Monthon
system, where centralized officials were sent to oversee the entire land, thus effectively ending the power of all local dynasties. He also abolish corvée system and slavery in Siam, which he was best known for. There were also major concessions to France
France
and Britain, most notably the loss of a large protectorate territory east of the Mekong
Mekong
composed of present-day Laos
Laos
and Cambodia
Cambodia
and the ceding of four Malay provinces to Britain in Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909. In 1917, Siam joined the Allies of World War I
World War I
and is counted as one of the victors of World War I. Constitutional monarchy, World War II, and Cold War Main articles: Thailand in World War II
Thailand in World War II
and History of Thailand (1932–73) 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 Prajadhipok
Prajadhipok
was forced to grant the people of Siam their first constitution, thereby ending centuries of absolute monarchy. His conflicting view with the government led to abdication. The government selected Ananda Mahidol
Ananda Mahidol
to be the new king. Later that decade the military wing of Khana Ratsadon
Khana Ratsadon
became dominating Siamese politics. Field Marshall Plaek Phibunsongkhram built fascism, decreed cultural mandates which changed to name of the kingdom to "Thailand" and affect many aspects of daily life. After France
France
was conquered by Nazi Germany in June 1940, Thailand
Thailand
took the opportunity to retake territories conceded to the French many decades earlier, which Thailand
Thailand
won the majority of the battles. The conflict came to an end with a Japanese mediation. On December 7, 1941, The Empire of Japan
Japan
launched an invasion of Thailand
Thailand
and fighting broke out shortly before Phibun ordered an armistice. Japan
Japan
was granted free passage, and on December 21, Thailand
Thailand
and Japan
Japan
signed a military alliance with a secret protocol, wherein Tokyo agreed to help Thailand
Thailand
regain territories lost to the British and French.[32] Subsequently, Thailand
Thailand
declared war on the United States
United States
and the United Kingdom on January 25, 1942, and while the government undertook to "assist" Japan, some people launched an active anti-Japanese Free Thai Movement. After the war, most Allied powers did not recognized Thai declaration of war, with an exception of the United Kingdom which Thailand
Thailand
signed a treaty to end the hostilities. In June 1946, young King Ananda was found dead in mysterious circumstances. His younger brother Bhumibol Adulyadej
Bhumibol Adulyadej
succeeded the throne. In 1954, Thailand
Thailand
signed Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Treaty Organization (SEATO) to became an active allies of the United States. Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat launced a coup in 1957, which removed Khana Ratsadon
Khana Ratsadon
from politics. He also revived the monarchy's role in politics. Military dictatorships at the time was supported by US government and Thailand joined anti-communist measures in the region alongside the US, most notably participation in the Vietnam
Vietnam
War between 1965–71. The period brought about increasing modernisation and westernisation. Internal conflict regarding economic difficulties which began in 1968 led to 1973 Thai popular uprising, an important event in Thai modern history. Contemporary history See also: History of Thailand
History of Thailand
since 1973 For most of the 1980s, Thailand
Thailand
was ruled by prime minister Prem Tinsulanonda, a democratically-inclined[citation needed] strongman who restored parliamentary politics. Thereafter the country remained a democracy, apart from a brief period of military rule from 1991 to 1992. The populist Thai Rak Thai
Thai Rak Thai
party, led by prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, governed from 2001 until 2006. In 2006 mass protests against the Thai Rak Thai
Thai Rak Thai
party's alleged corruption, prompting 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 absolute power to the army. Politics and government Main articles: Politics of Thailand, Constitutions of Thailand, Law of Thailand, and Government of Thailand Prior to 1932, all legislative powers were vested in the monarch. This had been the case since the foundation of the Sukhothai Kingdom
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). Modern absolute monarchy was established by Chulalongkorn
Chulalongkorn
when he transformed the decentralized protectorate system into a unitary state. On 24 June 1932, Khana Ratsadon
Khana Ratsadon
(People's Party) carried out a bloodless revolution which ended the absolute rule. The politics of Thailand
Thailand
is 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.[33] However, since May 2014, Thailand
Thailand
has been ruled by a military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order.

Bangkok's Democracy Monument: a representation of the 1932 Constitution sits on top of two golden offering bowls above a turret.

Thailand
Thailand
has had 20 constitutions and charters since 1932, including the latest and current 2017 Constitution. 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.[34][35] Thailand
Thailand
had the 4th most coup in the world.[36] "Uniformed or ex-military men have led Thailand
Thailand
for 55 of the 83 years" between 1932 and 2009.[37] The legislative according to 2007 Constitution was the bicameral National Assembly composed of the Senate, the 150-member upper house, and House of Representatives, the 350-member lower house. Since 2014 coup, it was replaced by a rubber stamp, unicameral National Legislative Assembly. The current King of Thailand
Thailand
is Vajiralongkorn
Vajiralongkorn
(or Rama X) since October 2016. 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. Since 2000s, two political parties dominated Thai general elections: one was Pheu Thai Party
Pheu Thai Party
(which was a successor of People's Power Party and Thai Rak Thai
Thai Rak Thai
Party respectively) and the other was Democrat Party. The political parties which support Thaksin Shinawatra
Thaksin Shinawatra
won the most representatives every general election since 2001. Administrative divisions Main articles: Organization of the government of Thailand
Organization of the government of Thailand
and Provinces of Thailand 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
Bangkok
(Krung Thep Maha Nakhon) and Pattaya. Bangkok
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[update] there were 877 districts (อำเภอ, amphoe) and the 50 districts of Bangkok
Bangkok
(เขต, khet). Some parts of the provinces bordering Bangkok
Bangkok
are also referred to as Greater Bangkok (ปริมณฑล, pari monthon). These provinces include Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom
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
Chiang Mai Province
(Changwat Chiang Mai) is Mueang Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
or Chiang Mai. A clickable map of Thailand
Thailand
exhibiting its provinces.

Regions

Thailand
Thailand
four-region division

Main article: 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
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 and Northern Ireland. In contrast to the administrative divisions of the Provinces of Thailand, Thailand
Thailand
is 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. Southern region See also: South Thailand
Thailand
insurgency

Southern provinces of Thailand
Thailand
showing the Malay-Muslim majority areas

Thailand
Thailand
controlled the Malay Peninsula
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
Thailand
relinquished sovereignty over what are now the northern Malay provinces of Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, and Terengganu
Terengganu
to the British. Satun and Pattani
Pattani
Provinces 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
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 Main article: Foreign relations of Thailand

Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Royal Thai Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand

The foreign relations of Thailand
Thailand
are handled by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Thailand
Thailand
participates fully in international and regional organisations. It is a major non-NATO ally and Priority Watch List Special 301 Report
Special 301 Report
of the United States. The country remains an active member of ASEAN
ASEAN
Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Thailand
Thailand
has developed increasingly close ties with other ASEAN
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
Thailand
served as APEC ( Asia Pacific
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
Thailand
attended the inaugural East Asia
Asia
Summit. In recent years, Thailand
Thailand
has taken an increasingly active role on the international stage. When East Timor
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
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
Thailand
has contributed troops to reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan
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.[38] Thaksin also announced that Thailand
Thailand
would forsake foreign aid, and work with donor countries to assist in the development of neighbours in the Greater Mekong
Mekong
Sub-region.[39] Thaksin sought to position Thailand
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.[40] Thailand
Thailand
joined the US-led invasion of Iraq, sending a 423-strong humanitarian contingent.[41] It withdrew its troops on 10 September 2004. Two Thai soldiers died in Iraq
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.[42][43] Armed forces Main article: Royal Thai Armed Forces

Royal Thai Army
Royal Thai Army
firing M198 howitzer during training

The HTMS Chakri Naruebet, an aircraft carrier of the Royal Thai Navy

A Royal Thai Air Force
Royal Thai Air Force
F-16 Fighting Falcon

The Royal Thai Armed Forces
Royal Thai Armed Forces
(จอมทัพไทย; RTGS: Chom Thap Thai) constitute the military of the Kingdom of Thailand. It consists of the Royal Thai Army (กองทัพบกไทย), the Royal Thai Navy (กองทัพเรือไทย), and the 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.[44] The head of the Thai Armed Forces (จอมทัพไทย, Chom Thap Thai) is the king,[45] 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
Royal Thai Armed Forces
Headquarters, which in turn is headed by the Chief of Defence Forces of Thailand.[46] In 2011, Thailand's known military expenditure totalled approximately US$5.1 billion.[47] According to the constitution, serving in the armed forces is a duty of all Thai citizens.[48] However, only males over the age of 21, who have not gone through reserve training of the Territorial Defence Student, 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 exempted entirely. Royal Thai Armed Forces
Royal Thai Armed Forces
Day is celebrated on 18 January, commemorating the victory of Naresuan
Naresuan
of the Ayutthaya Kingdom
Ayutthaya Kingdom
in battle against the crown prince of the Taungoo Dynasty
Taungoo Dynasty
in 1593.[citation needed] Geography Main article: 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 Thailand

Phi Phi Islands

Totalling 513,120 square kilometres (198,120 sq mi),[1] Thailand
Thailand
is the 50th-largest country by total area. It is slightly smaller than Yemen
Yemen
and slightly larger than Spain. Thailand
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 being Doi Inthanon
Doi Inthanon
in the Thanon Thong Chai Range
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
Mekong
River. The centre of the country is dominated by the predominantly flat Chao Phraya river valley, which runs into the Gulf of Thailand. Southern Thailand
Southern Thailand
consists of the narrow Kra Isthmus
Kra Isthmus
that widens into the 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 setting. The Chao Phraya
Chao Phraya
and the Mekong
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
Thailand
is an industrial centre of Thailand
Thailand
with the kingdom's premier deepwater port in Sattahip and its busiest commercial port, Laem Chabang. The Andaman Sea
Andaman Sea
is a precious natural resource as it hosts the most popular and luxurious resorts in Asia. Phuket, Krabi, Ranong, Phang Nga and Trang, and their islands, all lay along the coasts of the Andaman Sea
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, 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
Asia
logistical hub. The canal would be a major engineering project and has an expected cost of US$20–30 billion. Climate

Thailand
Thailand
map of Köppen climate classification

Satellite image of flooding in Thailand, Oct 2011 during the 2011 Thailand
Thailand
floods

Thailand's climate is influenced by monsoon winds that have a seasonal character (the southwest and northeast monsoon).[49]:2 The southwest monsoon, which starts from May until October is characterized by movement of warm, moist air from the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
to Thailand, causing abundant rain over most of the country.[49]:2 The northeast monsoon, starting from October until February brings cold and dry air from China
China
over most of Thailand.[49]:2 In southern Thailand, the northeast monsoon brings mild weather and abundant rainfall on the eastern coast of that region.[49]:2 Most of Thailand
Thailand
has a "tropical wet and dry or savanna climate" type (Köppen's Tropical savanna climate).[50] The south and the eastern tip of the east have a tropical monsoon climate. Thailand
Thailand
is divided into three seasons.[49]:2 The first is the rainy or southwest monsoon season (mid–May to mid–October) which prevails over most of the country.[49]:2 This season is characterized by abundant rain with August and September being the wettest period of the year.[49]:2 This can occasionally lead to floods.[49]:4 In addition to rainfall caused by the southwest monsoon, the Intertropical Convergence Zone
Intertropical Convergence Zone
(ITCZ) and tropical cyclones also contribute to producing heavy rainfall during the rainy season.[49]:2 Nonetheless, dry spells commonly occur for 1 to 2 weeks from June to early July.[49]:4 This is due to the northward movement of the Intertropical Convergence Zone
Intertropical Convergence Zone
to southern China.[49]:4 Winter or the northeast monsoon starts from mid–October until mid–February.[49]:2 Most of Thailand
Thailand
experiences dry weather during this season with mild temperatures.[49]:2:4 The exception is the southern parts of Thailand
Thailand
where it receives abundant rainfall, particularly during October to November.[49]:2 Summer or the pre–monsoon season runs from mid–February until mid–May and is characterized by warmer weather.[49]:3 Due to its inland nature and latitude, the north, northeast, central and eastern parts of Thailand
Thailand
experience a long period of warm weather.[49]: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.[49]:3 In contrast, outbreaks of cold air from China
China
can bring colder temperatures; in some cases (particularly the north and northeast) close to or below 0 °C (32 °F).[49]:3 Southern Thailand
Southern Thailand
is characterized by mild weather year-round with less diurnal and seasonal variations in temperatures due to maritime influences.[49]:3 Most of the country receives a mean annual rainfall of 1,200 to 1,600 mm (47 to 63 in).[49]:4 However, certain areas on the windward sides of mountains such as Ranong
Ranong
province in the west coast of southern Thailand
Thailand
and eastern parts of Trat Province
Trat Province
receive more than 4,500 mm (180 in) of rainfall per year.[49]:4 The driest areas are on the leeward side in the central valleys and northernmost portion of south Thailand
Thailand
where mean annual rainfall is less than 1,200 mm (47 in).[49]:4 Most of Thailand
Thailand
(north, northeast, central and east) is characterized by dry weather during the northeast monsoon and abundant rainfall during the southwest monsoon.[49]: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.[49]:4 Environment Thailand
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 Indonesia
Indonesia
and 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. The environmental areas where Thailand
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
CO2 emission
per KWh produced. Thailand
Thailand
performs best (i.e. lowest ranking) in water resource management (66), with some major improvements expected for the future too, and sanitation (68).[51][52] Wildlife Main article: List of species native to Thailand

The population of Asian elephants
Asian elephants
in Thailand's wild has dropped to an estimated 2,000–3,000.[53]

The elephant is Thailand's national symbol. Although there were 100,000 domesticated elephants in Thailand
Thailand
in 1850, the population of elephants has dropped to an estimated 2,000.[53] Poachers have long hunted elephants for ivory and hides, and now increasingly for meat.[54] 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 mistreated.[55] 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 Bangkok
Bangkok
market Chatuchak is still known for the sale of endangered species.[56] 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, Malayan sun bear, white-handed lar, pileated gibbon and binturong.[57] Education Main article: Education in Thailand

Primary school students in Thailand

In 2014 the literacy rate was 93.5%.[58] 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.[citation needed]

Chulalongkorn
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.[59] Students in ethnic minority areas score consistently lower in standardised national and international tests.[60] [61] [62] This is likely due to unequal allocation of educational resources, weak teacher training, poverty, and low Thai language
Thai language
skill, the language of the tests.[60] [63] [64] 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.[65] In 2013, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology announced that 27,231 schools would receive classroom-level access to high-speed internet.[dead link][66] Science and technology Main article: List of Thai inventions and discoveries The National Science and Technology Development Agency
National Science and Technology Development Agency
is an agency of the government of Thailand
Thailand
which supports research in science and technology and its application in the Thai economy.[citation needed] 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
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
Japan
and later moved to Thailand
Thailand
and modified for 1.2 GeV operation. It provides users with regularly scheduled light.[citation needed] Internet In Bangkok, there are 23,000 free public Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi
Internet
Internet
hotspots.[67] The Internet
Internet
in Thailand
Thailand
includes 10Gbit/s high speed fibre-optic lines that can be leased and ISPs such as KIRZ that provide residential Internet
Internet
services.[citation needed] The Internet
Internet
is censored by the Thai government, making some sites unreachable.[68] The organisations responsible are the Royal Thai Police, the Communications Authority of Thailand, and the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT).[citation needed] Economy Main article: Economy of Thailand Thailand
Thailand
is an emerging economy and is considered a newly industrialised country. Thailand
Thailand
had a 2013 GDP of US$673 billion (on a purchasing power parity [PPP] basis).[69] Thailand
Thailand
is the 2nd largest economy in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
after Indonesia. Thailand
Thailand
ranks midway in the wealth spread in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
as it is the 4th richest nation according to GDP per capita, after Singapore, Brunei, and Malaysia. Thailand
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
Thailand
stood at 0.84% according to Thailand's National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB).[70] Recent economic history

The BTS Skytrain
BTS Skytrain
passes through Sathon, the business district of Bangkok, the capital of Thailand
Thailand
and the country's largest commercial and financial centre.

The MahaNakhon
MahaNakhon
skyscraper in Bangkok

Thailand
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
Chavalit Yongchaiyudh
administration to float the currency. Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh
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 crisis. 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 Bangkok
Bangkok
area increased from US$7,900 to nearly US$13,000.[71] With the instability surrounding major 2010 protests, the GDP growth of Thailand
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 Shinawatra government.[72] 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
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 March 2014.[73] Exports and manufacturing

A proportional representation of Thailand's exports

The economy of Thailand
Thailand
is heavily export-dependent, with exports accounting for more than two-thirds of gross domestic product (GDP). Thailand
Thailand
exports over US$105 billion worth of goods and services annually.[1] Major exports include cars, computers, electrical appliances, rice, textiles and footwear, fishery products, rubber, and jewellery.[1] Substantial industries include electric appliances, components, computer components, and vehicles. Thailand's recovery from the 1997–1998 Asian financial crisis
Asian financial crisis
depended mainly on exports, among various other factors. As of 2012[update], the Thai automotive industry was the largest in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
and the 9th largest in the world.[74][75][76] The Thailand
Thailand
industry has an annual output of near 1.5 million vehicles, mostly commercial vehicles.[76] Most of the vehicles built in Thailand
Thailand
are developed and licensed by foreign producers, mainly Japanese and South Korean. The Thai car industry takes advantage of the ASEAN
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.[77] Thailand
Thailand
is the second largest consumer of pick-up trucks in the world, after the US.[citation needed] In 2014, pick-ups accounted for 42% of all new vehicle sales in Thailand.[77] Tourism Further information: Tourism
Tourism
in Thailand

Wat Phra Kaew
Wat Phra Kaew
in Bangkok

Statue of a mythical Kinnon, Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok

An Airbus A380
Airbus A380
of the national carrier Thai Airways

Tourism
Tourism
makes up about 6% of the economy. Thailand
Thailand
was the most visited country in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
in 2013, according to the World Tourism
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.[78] When including the indirect effects of tourism, it is said to account for 20.2 percent (2.4 trillion baht) of Thailand's GDP.[79]:1 The Tourism
Tourism
Authority of Thailand
Thailand
(TAT) uses the slogan "Amazing Thailand" to promote Thailand
Thailand
internationally. In 2015, this was supplemented by a "Discover Thainess" campaign.[80] Asian tourists primarily visit Thailand
Thailand
for Bangkok
Bangkok
and the historical, natural, and cultural sights in its vicinity. Western tourists not only visit Bangkok
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 tourists is Isan
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.[81]

"Amazing Thailand" – Thailand
Thailand
Tourism
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, Buddhism
Buddhism
and traditional Thai massage. Thai national festivals range from Thai New Year Songkran to Loy Krathong. Many localities in Thailand
Thailand
also have their own festivals. Among the best-known are the " Elephant
Elephant
Round-up" in Surin, the "Rocket Festival" in Yasothon
Yasothon
and the "Phi Ta Khon" festival in Dan Sai. Thai cuisine
Thai cuisine
has become famous worldwide with its enthusiastic use of fresh herbs and spices. Bangkok
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. It is possibly the largest market in the world, selling everything from household items to live, and sometimes endangered, animals.[82] The "Pratunam Market" specialises in fabrics and clothing. The night markets in the Silom area and on Khaosan Road
Khaosan Road
are mainly tourist-oriented, selling items such as T-shirts, handicrafts, counterfeit watches and sunglasses. In the vicinity of Bangkok
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
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
Prostitution in Thailand
and sex tourism also form a de facto part of the economy. Campaigns promote Thailand
Thailand
as exotic to attract tourists.[83] 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.[84] According to research by Chulalongkorn
Chulalongkorn
University on the Thai illegal economy, prostitution in Thailand
Thailand
in the period between 1993 and 1995, made up around 2.7% of the GDP.[85] It is believed that at least 10% of tourist dollars are spent on the sex trade.[86]

The head of Buddha, Wat Mahathat, at Ayutthaya Historical Park, World Heritage Site.

Thailand
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.[87] In 1985–1990, only 5% of foreign transsexual patients visited Thailand
Thailand
for sex-reassignment surgery. In more recent years, 2010–2012, more than 90% of the visitors traveled to Thailand for SRS.[88] Agriculture Further information: Agriculture in Thailand

Thailand
Thailand
had long been one of the largest rice exporters in the world. Forty-nine percent of Thailand's labour force is employed in agriculture.[89]

Forty-nine per cent of Thailand's labour force is employed in agriculture.[89] This is down from 70% in 1980.[89] Rice is the most important crop in the country and Thailand
Thailand
had long been the world's leading exporter of rice, until recently falling behind both India
India
and Vietnam.[90] Thailand
Thailand
has the highest percentage of arable land, 27.25%, of any nation in the Greater Mekong
Mekong
Subregion.[91] About 55% of the arable land area is used for rice production.[92] Agriculture has been experiencing a transition from labour-intensive and transitional methods to a more industrialised and competitive sector.[89] 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.[89] The relative contribution of agriculture to GDP has declined while exports of goods and services have increased. Energy Further information: Energy in Thailand 75% of Thailand's electrical generation is powered by natural gas in 2014.[93] Coal-fired power plants produce an additional 20% of electricity, with the remainder coming from biomass, hydro, and biogas.[93] Thailand
Thailand
produces roughly one-third of the oil it consumes. It is the second largest importer of oil in SE Asia. Thailand
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. Transportation Main articles: Transport in Thailand
Transport in Thailand
and List of airports in Thailand Health Main articles: Health in Thailand
Health in Thailand
and HIV/AIDS in Thailand Health and medical care is overseen by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH), along with several other non-ministerial government agencies, with total national expenditures on health amounting to 4.3 percent of GDP in 2009. Non-communicable diseases form the major burden of morbidity and mortality, while infectious diseases including malaria and tuberculosis, as well as traffic accidents, are also important public health issues. The current Minister for Public Health is Prof. Emeritus Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, M.D. and the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Public Health is Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, M.D. Somsak Chunharas, MD, MPH, was once Deputy Minister for Public Health and is currently a Senior Leadership Fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.[94][95] Demographics Main article: Demographics of Thailand

Thailand
Thailand
had a population of 68,863,514[8] as of 2016[update]. Thailand's population is largely rural, concentrated in the rice-growing areas of the central, northeastern, and northern regions. Thailand
Thailand
had an urban population of 45.7% as of 2010[update], concentrated mostly in and around the Bangkok
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 people. Ethnic groups Further information: Ethnic groups
Ethnic groups
in Thailand

A procession during the Hae Pha Khuen That festival of 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%.[1] 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]:3 62 ethnic communities are officially recognised in Thailand. Twenty million Central Thai (together with approximately 650,000 Khorat Thai) make up approximately 20,650,000 (34.1 percent) of the nation's population of 60,544,937[96] at the time of completion of the Mahidol University Ethnolinguistic Maps of Thailand
Thailand
data (1997).[97] The 2011 Thailand
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
Thailand
data.[97] 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
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[2] (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 million Khon
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).[3]:7–13 Thai Chinese, those of significant Chinese heritage, are 14% of the population,[6] while Thais with partial Chinese ancestry comprise up to 40% of the population.[98] Thai Malays
Thai Malays
represent 3% of the population, with the remainder consisting of Mons, Khmers
Khmers
and various "hill tribes". The country's official language is Thai and the primary religion is Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism, which is practised by around 95% of the population. Increasing numbers of migrants from neighbouring Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia, as well as from Nepal
Nepal
and India, have pushed the total number of non-national residents to around 3.5 million as of 2009[update], up from an estimated 2 million in 2008, and about 1.3 million in 2000.[99] Some 41,000 Britons live in Thailand.[100] Population centres Further information: List of cities in Thailand

 

v t e

Largest municipalities in Thailand See template

Rank Name Province Pop. Rank Name Province Pop.

Bangkok

Nonthaburi City 1 Bangkok Bangkok 5,686,646 11 Pattaya
Pattaya
City Chonburi 117,371

Pak Kret
Pak Kret
City

Hat Yai
Hat Yai
City

2 Nonthaburi City Nonthaburi 255,793 12 Nakhon Si Thammarat
Nakhon Si Thammarat
City Nakhon Si Thammarat 104,948

3 Pak Kret
Pak Kret
City Nonthaburi 189,258 13 Nakhon Sawan
Nakhon Sawan
City Nakhon Sawan 84,122

4 Hat Yai
Hat Yai
City Songkhla 159,627 14 Laem Chabang
Laem Chabang
City Chonburi 82,960

5 Chaophraya Surasak City Chonburi 132,172 15 Rangsit City Pathum Thani 81,084

6 Nakhon Ratchasima
Nakhon Ratchasima
City Nakhon Ratchasima 131,286 16 Phuket City Phuket 78,923

7 Udon Thani
Udon Thani
City Udon Thani 131,192 17 Nakhon Pathom
Nakhon Pathom
City Nakhon Pathom 77,651

8 Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
City Chiang Mai 131,091 18 Ubon Ratchathani
Ubon Ratchathani
City Ubon Ratchathani 77,306

9 Surat Thani
Surat Thani
City Surat Thani 130,114 19 Chiang Rai City Chiang Rai 74,226

10 Khon Kaen
Khon Kaen
City Khon
Khon
Kaen 120,045 20 Phitsanulok
Phitsanulok
City Phitsanulok 68,898

Language Main article: Languages of Thailand

Population, Thailand

Year Pop. ±%

1910 8,131,247 —    

1919 9,207,355 +13.2%

1929 11,506,207 +25.0%

1937 14,464,105 +25.7%

1947 17,442,689 +20.6%

1960 26,257,916 +50.5%

1970 34,397,371 +31.0%

1980 44,824,540 +30.3%

1990 54,548,530 +21.7%

2000 60,916,441 +11.7%

2010 65,926,261 +8.2%

Source: [1] National Statistical Office of Thailand

The official language of Thailand
Thailand
is Thai, a Tai–Kadai language closely related to Lao, Shan in Myanmar, and numerous smaller languages spoken in an arc from Hainan
Hainan
and Yunnan
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]: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
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.[citation needed] In the far south, Kelantan-Pattani Malay is the primary language of Malay Muslims. Varieties of Chinese are also spoken by the large Thai Chinese
Thai Chinese
population, with the Teochew dialect best-represented. Numerous tribal languages are also spoken, including many Austroasiatic languages
Austroasiatic languages
such as Mon, Khmer, Viet, Mlabri and Orang Asli; Austronesian languages
Austronesian languages
such as Cham and Moken; Sino-Tibetan languages like Lawa, Akha, and Karen; and other Tai languages
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 its own. English is a mandatory school subject, but the number of fluent speakers remains low, especially outside cities. Religion Main article: Religion in Thailand

Religion in Thailand
Religion in Thailand
(2015)[7]

Religion

Percent

Buddhism

94.50%

Islam

4.29%

Christianity

1.17%

Hinduism

0.03%

Unaffiliated/Others

0.01%

Thailand's prevalent religion is Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism, which is an integral part of Thai identity and culture. Active participation in Buddhism
Buddhism
is among the highest in the world. According to the 2000 census, 94.6% and 93.58% in 2010 of the country's population self-identified as Buddhists of the Theravada
Theravada
tradition. Muslims constitute the second largest religious group in Thailand, comprising 4.9% of the population.[1][101] Islam
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% (2000) and 1.17% (2015) of the population, with the remaining population consisting of Hindus and Sikhs, who live mostly in the country's cities. There is also a small but historically significant Jewish community in Thailand
Thailand
dating back to the 17th century. According to the 2015 census,[7] 67,328,562 Thailand
Thailand
residents belonged to the following religious groups:

Religion Number (2010),[102] Percentage Number (2016) Percentage

Buddhism 61,746,429 93.58% 63,620,298 94.50%

Islam 3,259,340 4.94% 2,892,311 4.29%

Christianity 789,376 1.20% 787,589 1.17%

Hinduism 41,808 0.06% 22,110 0.03%

No religion 46.122 0.07% 2,925 0.005%

Other religions 70.742 0.11% 1,583 0.002%

Sikhism 11,124 0.02% 1,030 0.001%

Confucianism 16,718 0.02% 716 0.001%

According to the 2015 census,[7] 67,328,562 Thailand
Thailand
residents by Region belonged to the following religious groups:

Religion Bangkok % Central Region % Northern Region % Northeastern Region % Southern Region %

Buddhism 8,197,188 93.95% 18,771,520 97.57% 11,044,018 96.23% 18,698,599 99.83% 6,908,973 75.45%

Islam 364,855 4.18% 247,430 1.29% 35,561 0.31% 16,851 0.09% 2,227,613 24.33%

Christianity 146,592 1.68% 214,444 1.11% 393,969 3.43% 13,825 0.07% 18,759 0.21%

Hinduism 16,306 0.19% 5,280 0.03% 207 0.002% 318 0.001% -

Sikhism - 0.00% - 0.00% 378 0.003% - 0.00% 491 0.005%

No religion 289 0.00% 473 0.002% 1,001 0.01% 436 0.002% 726 0.008%

Other religions - 0.00% 294 0.00% 1,808 0.16% - 0.00% 359 0.004%

Culture Main article: Culture of Thailand See also: Music of Thailand, Isan, and Cinema of Thailand

Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism, highly practised in Thailand

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 religion, Theravada
Theravada
Buddhism, is central to modern Thai identity. Thai Buddhism
Buddhism
has evolved over time to include many regional beliefs originating from Hinduism, animism, as well as ancestor worship. The official calendar in Thailand
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, Cambodia
Cambodia
and Malaysia
Malaysia
and have mediated change between their traditional local culture, national Thai, and global cultural influences. Overseas Chinese
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
Thai Chinese
businesses prosper as part of the larger bamboo network, a network of overseas Chinese businesses operating in the markets of Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
that share common family and cultural ties.[103]

Khon
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 and Nepal. 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. Taboos in Thailand
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 Further information: Cuisine of Thailand Thai cuisine
Thai cuisine
blends five fundamental tastes: sweet, spicy, sour, bitter, and salty. Common ingredients used in Thai cuisine
Thai cuisine
include garlic, chillies, lime juice, lemon grass, coriander, galangal, palm sugar, and fish sauce (nam pla). The staple food in Thailand
Thailand
is rice, particularly jasmine variety rice (also known as "hom Mali" rice) which forms a part of almost every meal. Thailand
Thailand
was long[when?] the world's largest exporter of rice, and Thais domestically consume over 100 kg of milled rice per person per year.[92] Over 5,000 varieties of rice from Thailand
Thailand
are preserved in the rice gene bank of the International Rice Research Institute
International Rice Research Institute
(IRRI), based in the Philippines. The king of Thailand
Thailand
is the official patron of IRRI.[104] Media Further information: 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 businesses in Bangkok
Bangkok
operate in English as well as other languages. Thailand
Thailand
is the largest newspaper market in Southeast Asia
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 Further information: Thai units of measurement Thailand
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, civil service, government, contracts, and newspaper datelines. However, in banking, and increasingly in industry and commerce, standard Western year (Christian or Common Era) counting is the standard practice.[105] Sports See also: Thailand
Thailand
at the Olympics, Rugby union in Thailand, Golf in Thailand, Football in Thailand, and List of sporting events held in Thailand

Muay Thai, Thailand's signature sport

Muay Thai
Muay Thai
(Thai: มวยไทย, RTGS: Muai Thai,  [muaj tʰaj], 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 led to Thailand
Thailand
gaining medals at the Olympic Games in boxing. Association football
Association football
has overtaken muay Thai as the most widely followed sport in contemporary Thai society. Thailand
Thailand
national football team has played the AFC Asian Cup
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 Indonesia, Malaysia
Malaysia
and 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.

Rajamangala National Stadium

Volleyball
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
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
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
Snooker
has enjoyed increasing popularity in Thailand
Thailand
in recent years, with interest in the game being stimulated by the success of Thai snooker player James Wattana
James Wattana
in the 1990s.[106] Other notable players produced by the country include Ratchayothin Yotharuck, Noppon Saengkham and Dechawat Poomjaeng.[107] Rugby is also a growing sport in Thailand
Thailand
with the Thailand
Thailand
national rugby union team rising to be ranked 61st in the world.[108] Thailand became the first country in the world to host an international 80 welterweight rugby tournament in 2005.[109] The national domestic Thailand
Thailand
Rugby Union (TRU) competition includes several universities and services teams such as Chulalongkorn
Chulalongkorn
University, Mahasarakham University, Kasetsart University, Prince of Songkla University, Thammasat University, Rangsit University, the Thai Police, the Thai Army, the Thai Navy
Thai Navy
and the 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
Bangkok
Sports Club. Thailand
Thailand
has been called the golf capital of Asia[110] 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
Thailand
every year.[111] 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,[112] 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
Thailand
Slammers won the 2011 ASEAN
ASEAN
Basketball League Championship.[113] The Thailand
Thailand
national basketball team had its most successful year at the 1966 Asian Games where it won the silver medal.[114] Other sports in Thailand
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. Sporting venues 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 National Stadium
Rajamangala National 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
Thailand
national football team. The well-known Lumpini Boxing
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.[115] International rankings Main article: International rankings of Thailand

Organisation Survey Ranking

The Heritage Foundation Indices of Economic Freedom 60 of 179

A.T. Kearney/ Foreign Policy magazine Global Services Location Index 2011[116] 7 of 50

Reporters Without Borders Worldwide Press Freedom Index, 2014 130 of 180

Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 80 of 179

United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index 89 of 187

World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report (2008) 34 of 134[117]

World Gold Council Gold reserve
Gold reserve
(2010) 24 of 111

HSBC
HSBC
International Expat Explorer Survey (2012) 2 of 30[118]

See also

Thailand
Thailand
portal Asia
Asia
portal

Index of Thailand-related articles Outline of Thailand

References

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Thailand
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Bibliography

Cœdès, George (1968). Walter F. Vella, ed. The Indianized States of Southeast Asia. trans.Susan Brown Cowing. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-0368-1. 

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