Thailand Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Thailand > Map Economy History

Bangkok 
Chiang Mai
Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex
Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries

Facts About Thailand

Background: A unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century; it was 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 conflict.
Government type: constitutional monarchy
Capital: Bangkok
Currency: 1 baht (B) = 100 satang

Geography of Thailand

Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma
Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N, 100 00 E
Area:
total: 514,000 sq km
land: 511,770 sq km
water: 2,230 sq km
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: 34%
permanent crops: 6%
permanent pastures: 2%
forests and woodland: 26%
other: 32% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 44,000 sq km (1993 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, 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 Singapore

More Geography

People of Thailand

Thailand's population is relatively homogeneous. More than 85% speak a dialect of Thai and share a common culture. This core population includes the central Thai (36% of the population), Thai-Lao (32%), northern Thai (8%), and southern Thai (8%).

The language of the central Thai population is the language taught in schools and used in government. Several other small Thai-speaking groups include the Shan, Lue, and Phutai.

The largest minorities are the Chinese--about 12% of the population--and the Malay-speaking Muslims of the south (3%). Other groups include the Khmer; the Mon, who are substantially assimilated with the Thai; and the Vietnamese. Smaller, predominantly mountain-dwelling tribes, such as the Hmong, Karen, and Mein, number about 500,000.

The population is mostly rural, concentrated in the rice-growing areas of the central, northeastern, and northern regions. However, as Thailand continues to industrialize, its urban population--18% of total population, principally in the Bangkok area--is growing.

Thailand's highly successful government-sponsored family planning program has resulted in a dramatic decline in population growth from 3.1% in 1960 to around 1% today. Life expectancy also has risen, a positive reflection of Thailand's efforts at public health education. However, the AIDS epidemic has had a major impact on the Thai population. Thai Government officials estimate that Thailand has between 200,000 and 400,000 HIV carriers. Chiang Rai Province in the north may have an infection rate as high as 15%. In recent years, the Thai Government has devoted substantial resources toward AIDS education and awareness.

Universal, free public education is compulsory for a period of 6 years. Education accounts for 25% of total government expenditures.

Theravada Buddhism is the official religion of Thailand and is the religion of more than 90% of its people. The government permits religious diversity, and other major religions are represented. Spirit worship and animism are widely practiced.

Population: 65,444,371 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  23.43% 
15-64 years:  69.95%
65 years and over:  6.62%
Population growth rate: 0.91% 
Birth rate: 16.63 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 7.54 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 30.49 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  68.86 years
male:  65.64 years
female:  72.24 years
Total fertility rate: 1.87 children born/woman 
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.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Thailand > Map Economy History