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Flag of Thailand

Country Profile

Capital City: Bangkok

Other Cities: Nakhon Ratchasima (2.5 million), Chiangmai (1.6 million), Songkla (1.2 million).

Local Time: UTC +7

Location: Southeastern Asia mainland, bordering the Andaman Sea (West) and the Gulf of Thailand (East), southeast of Burma (Myanmar)
Area: 513 115 sq. km. (198 114 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Densely populated central plain; northeastern plateau; mountain range in the west; southern isthmus joins the land mass with Malaysia.

Border countries
: Cambodia, Lao P.D.R., Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma)

Thailand is a warm and rather humid tropical country with monsoonal climate. Seasons--Dry: March to May, Rainy: June to October, Cool: November to February.

Type: Constitutional monarchy.
Constitution: New constitution promulgated 11 October 1997.
Independence: Never colonized; traditional founding date 1238.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Thai(s)
Population (1999): 62 million
Ethnic groups: Thai 89%, other 11%.
Religions: Theravada Buddhist 95%, Muslim 4%, Christian, Hindu, other
Languages: Thai (official language); English is the second language of the elite; regional dialects.
Education: Literacy: 96% male, 92% female.


Currency: Baht (THB)

Natural resources: Tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, gypsum, lignite, fluorite; fish, arable land.

Agriculture products: Rice, cassava (tapioca), rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, soybeans.

Industries: Tourism, textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing such as jewelry, electric appliances and components, computers and parts, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics, world's second-largest tungsten producer, and third-largest tin producer.

Exports partners:
USA 17%, Japan 14.2%, Singapore 7.3%, China 7.1%, Hong Kong 5.4%, Malaysia 4.8% (2003)

Imports partners: Japan 24.1%, USA 9.5%, China 8%, Malaysia 6%, Singapore 4.3%, Taiwan 4.2% (2003)  

Internet Links

Official Sites

The Royal Court of Thailand

Palaces of the King

Royal Thai Government

Thai Parliament

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Diplomatic Missions
Royal Thai Embassy

Foreign Missions in Thailand

Thailand's Missions Abroad

National Statistical Office

Thai Meteorological Department

Maps of Thailand
Map of Thailand



Background:  A unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th
century. Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian
country never to have been taken over by a European power. A bloodless
revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. In alliance with
Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US ally following the

Geography Thailand

Location:  Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of
Thailand, southeast of Burma

Geographic coordinates:  15 00 N, 100 00 E

Map references:  Southeast Asia

Area:  total: 514,000 sq km water: 2,230 sq km land: 511,770 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming

Land boundaries:  total: 4,863 km border countries: Burma 1,800 km,
Cambodia 803 km, Laos 1,754 km, Malaysia 506 km

Coastline:  3,219 km

Maritime claims:  continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of
exploitation exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM

Climate:  tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May
to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March);
southern isthmus always hot and humid

Terrain:  central plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m highest point:
Doi Inthanon 2,576 m

Natural resources:  tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber,
lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite, arable land

Land use:  arable land: 33% permanent crops: 7% other: 60% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  47,490 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:  land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the
depletion of the water table; droughts

Environment - current issues:  air pollution from vehicle emissions;
water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil
erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Climate Change,
Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life
Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber
83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity,
Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Law of the Sea

Geography - note:  controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and

People Thailand

Population:  62,354,402 note: estimates for this country explicitly take
into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result
in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower
population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population
by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:   23.3% (male 7,404,227; female 7,121,083) 15-64 years:
(male 1,868,632; female 2,400,754) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  0.88% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  16.39 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  7.55 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.78 male(s)/female total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  29.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   72.51 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  1.86 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  2.15% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  755,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  66,000 (1999 est.)

Nationality:  noun: Thai (singular and plural) adjective: Thai

Ethnic groups:  Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%

Religions:  Buddhism 95%, Muslim 3.8%, Christianity 0.5%, Hinduism 0.1%,
other 0.6% (1991)

Languages:  Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and
regional dialects

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 93.8% male: 96% female: 91.6% (1995 est.)

Government Thailand

Country name:   Kingdom of Thailand conventional short form: Government
type:  constitutional monarchy

Capital:  Bangkok

Administrative divisions:  76 provinces (changwat, singular and plural);
Amnat Charoen, Ang Thong, Buriram, Chachoengsao, Chai Nat, Chaiyaphum,
Chanthaburi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chon Buri, Chumphon, Kalasin,
Kamphaeng Phet, Kanchanaburi, Khon Kaen, Krabi, Krung Thep Mahanakhon
(Bangkok), Lampang, Lamphun, Loei, Lop Buri, Mae Hong Son, Maha Sarakham,
Mukdahan, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima,
Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nan, Narathiwat, Nong Bua Lamphu, Nong
Khai, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Pattani, Phangnga, Phatthalung, Phayao,
Phetchabun, Phetchaburi, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya,
Phrae, Phuket, Prachin Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ranong, Ratchaburi,
Rayong, Roi Et, Sa Kaeo, Sakon Nakhon, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut
Songkhram, Sara Buri, Satun, Sing Buri, Sisaket, Songkhla, Sukhothai,
Suphan Buri, Surat Thani, Surin, Tak, Trang, Trat, Ubon Ratchathani,
Udon Thani, Uthai Thani, Uttaradit, Yala, Yasothon

Independence:  1238 (traditional founding date; never colonized)

National holiday:  Birthday of King PHUMIPHON, 5 December (1927)

Constitution:  new constitution signed by King PHUMIPHON on 11 October

Legal system:  based on civil law system, with influences of common law;
has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:   King PHUMIPHON Adunyadet (since 9 June 1946) note:
THAKSIN Chinnawat (since NA January 2001) and Deputy Prime Ministers
Gen. (Ret.) CHAWALIT Yongchaiyut (since NA), DET Bunlong (since NA),
PHITHAK Intharawithayanan (since NA), PONGPHON Adireksan (since NA), and
 Council of Ministers elections:  members of the House of Representatives;
 following a national election for
the House of Representatives, the leader of the party that can organize
a majority coalition usually becomes prime minister

Legislative branch:  bicameral National Assembly or Rathasapha consists
of the Senate or Wuthisapha (200 seats; members elected by popular
vote to serve four-year terms) and the House of Representatives or
Sapha Phuthaen Ratsadon (500 seats; members elected by popular vote to
serve four-year terms) elections: Senate - last held 4 March, 29 April,
4 June, 9 July, and 22 July 2000 (next to be held NA March 2004); House
of Representatives - last held 6 January 2001 (next to be held NA January
2005) election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats
by party - NA; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party -
NA%; seats by party - TRT 248, DP 128, TNP 41, NAP 36, NDP 29, other 18

Judicial branch:  Supreme Court or Sandika (judges appointed by the

Political parties and leaders:  Democratic Party or DP (Prachathipat
Party) [CHUAN Likphai]; Mass Party or MP [CHALERM Yoobamrung, SOPHON
Petchsavang]; National Development Party or NDP (Chat Phattana)
[KORN Dabbaransi]; Phalang Dharma Party or PDP (Phalang Tham) [CHAIWAT
Sinsuwong]; Solidarity Party or SP (Ekkaphap Party) [CHAIYOT Sasomsap];
Thai Citizen's Party or TCP (Prachakon Thai) [SAMAK Sunthonwet]; Thai
Nation Party or TNP (Chat Thai Party) [BANHAN Sinlapa-acha]; Thai Rak
Thai Party or TRT [THAKSIN Chinnawat] note: the Liberal Democratic Party
or LDP (Seri Tham) and the New Aspiration Party or NAP (Khwamwang Mai)
no longer exist as separate parties; elements of the two parties joined
the Thai Rak Thai Party or TRT

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  APEC, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN, BIS,
(observer), OIC (observer), OPCW (signatory), OSCE (partner), PCA, UN,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador SAKTHIP
Krairiksh chancery: 1024 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007 FAX:
[1] (202) 944-3611 consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New
York telephone: [1] (202) 944-3600

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Darryl N. JOHNSON embassy: 120/22 Wireless Road, Bangkok mailing address:
APO AP 96546 telephone: [66] (2) 205-4000 FAX: [66] (2) 254-1171
consulate(s) general: Chiang Mai

Flag description:  five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue
(double width), white, and red

Economy Thailand

Economy - overview:  After enjoying the world's highest growth rate
from 1985 to 1995 - averaging almost 9% annually - increased speculative
pressure on Thailand's currency in 1997 led to a crisis that uncovered
financial sector weaknesses and forced the government to float the
baht. Long pegged at 25 to the dollar, the baht reached its lowest
point of 56 to the dollar in January 1998 and the economy contracted
by 10.2% that same year.  Thailand entered a recovery stage in 1999,
expanding 4.2% and grew 4.4% in 2000, largely due to strong exports -
which increased about 20% in 2000. An ailing financial sector and the
slow pace of corporate debt restructuring, combined with a softening of
global demand, however, slowed growth in 2001 to 1.4%.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $410 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  1.4% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $6,600 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 11% industry: 40% services:
49% (2001)

Population below poverty line:  12.5% (1998 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 32.4% (1998)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:  41.4 (1998)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  1.6% (2001)

Labor force:  33.4 million (2001 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 54%, industry 15%, services 31%
(1996 est.)

Unemployment rate:  3.9% (2001 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $19 billion expenditures: $21 billion, including
capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)

Industries:  tourism; textiles and garments, agricultural processing,
beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing, such as jewelry;
electric appliances and components, computers and parts, integrated
circuits, furniture, plastics; world's second-largest tungsten producer
and third-largest tin producer

Industrial production growth rate:  3% (2000 est.)

Electricity - production:  94.314 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 92.26% hydro: 6.33%
other: 1.41% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  90.261 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  151 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  2.7 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  rice, cassava (tapioca), rubber, corn, sugarcane,
coconuts, soybeans

Exports:  $65.3 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Exports - commodities:  computers, transistors, seafood, clothing, rice

Exports - partners:  US 23%, Japan 14%, Singapore 8%, China 6%, Hong
Kong 5%, Malaysia 4% (2000)

Imports:  $62.3 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Imports - commodities:  capital goods, intermediate goods and raw
materials, consumer goods, fuels

Imports - partners:  Japan 24%, US 11%, Singapore 10%, Malaysia 6%,
China 4%, Taiwan 4% (2000)

Debt - external:  $69.4 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $131.5 million (1998 est.)

Currency:  baht (THB)

Currency code:  THB

Exchange rates:  baht per US dollar - 43.982 (January 2002), 43.432
(2001), 40.112 (2000), 37.814 (1999), 41.359 (1998), 31.364 (1997)

Fiscal year:  1 October - 30 September

Communications Thailand

Telephones - main lines in use:  5.6 million (2000)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  3.1 million (2002)

Telephone system:  general assessment: service to general public adequate,
but investment in technological upgrades reduced by recession; bulk
of service to government activities provided by multichannel cable
and microwave radio relay network domestic: microwave radio relay
and multichannel cable; domestic satellite system being developed
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean
and 1 Pacific Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 204, FM 334, shortwave 6 (1999)

Radios:  13.96 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  5 (all in Bangkok; plus 131 repeaters)

Televisions:  15.19 million (1997)

Internet country code:  .th

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  15 (2000)

Internet users:  2.3 million (2000)

Transportation Thailand

Railways:  total: 4,071 km narrow gauge: 4,071 km 1.000-m gauge (`2001)

Highways:  total: 64,600 km paved: 62,985 km unpaved: 1,615 km (1996)

Waterways:  4,000 km note: 3,701 km are navigable throughout the year
by boats with drafts up to 0.9 meters; numerous minor waterways serve
shallow-draft native craft

Pipelines:  petroleum products 67 km; natural gas 350 km

Ports and harbors:  Bangkok, Laem Chabang, Pattani, Phuket, Sattahip,
Si Racha, Songkhla

Merchant marine:  total: 297 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,661,314
GRT/2,564,820 DWT note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered
here as a flag of convenience: Germany 1, Greece 1, Indonesia 1, Japan
1, Norway 24, Panama 1, Singapore 1 (2002 est.)  ships by type: bulk
34, cargo 133, chemical tanker 3, combination bulk 1, container 14,
liquefied gas 20, multi-functional large-load carrier 2, passenger 1,
petroleum tanker 65, refrigerated cargo 16, roll on/roll off 2, short-sea
passenger 2, specialized tanker 4

Airports:  110 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 59 over 3,047 m: 7 2,438 to 3,047
m: 10 914 to 1,523 m: 16 under 914 m: 4 (2001) 1,524 to 2,437 m: 22

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 51 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 914 to
1,523 m: 19 under 914 m: 31 (2001)

Heliports:  2 (2001)

Military Thailand

Military branches:  Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Navy (includes Royal
Thai Marine Corps), Royal Thai Air Force, paramilitary forces (includes
the Border Patrol Police [including Police Aerial Reinforcement Unit],
Thahan Phran, Special Action Forces, Police Aviation Division, Thai
Marine Police, and the Volunteer Defense Corps)

Military manpower - military age:  18 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 17,766,501 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 10,660,530
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 567,659
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $1.775 billion (FY00)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  1.4% (FY00)

Transnational Issues Thailand

Disputes - international:  a one km stretch of Malaysia-Thailand
territory at the mouth of the Kolok river remains in dispute, despite
overall success in boundary redemarcation; Cambodia accuses Thailand of
moving or destroying boundary markers and encroachment, of not respecting
its claims, and of sealing off access to the Preah Vihear temple ruin
awarded to Cambodia by the ICJ in 1962; demarcation of boundary with Laos
is nearing completion, but Mekong River islets remain in dispute; Laos
also protests Thai squatters; despite renewed border committee talks,
significant differences remain with Burma over boundary alignment and
the handling of ethnic guerrilla rebels, refugees, smuggling, and drug
trafficking in cross-border region

Illicit drugs:  a minor producer of opium, heroin, and marijuana; illicit
transit point for heroin en route to the international drug market from
Burma and Laos; eradication efforts have reduced the area of cannabis
cultivation and shifted some production to neighboring countries; opium
poppy cultivation has been reduced by eradication efforts; also a drug
money-laundering center; minor role in amphetamine production for regional
consumption; increasing indigenous abuse of methamphetamine

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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