Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand (Prathet Thai, or “Land of the Free”), country in Southeast Asia. Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been occupied by any European or other foreign power, except in war. The country was an absolute monarchy from 1782 until 1932, when rebels seized power in a coup and established a constitutional monarchy. Since then, Thailand has come under the rule of many governments, both civil and military. The country was known as Siam until 24 June 1939 when it was renamed Thailand. The country's name was changed to Siam from 1946 to 1948, after which it was changed back to Thailand. Central Thailand is dominated by a large fertile plain, formed by the country’s chief river, the Chao Phraya, and its tributaries. Much of the country’s rice and other crops are grown in this region. Mountains and plateaus surround the central plain on the west, north, and east. The western mountain ranges extend south onto the Malay Peninsula (Malaya). Bangkok, located on the Chao Phraya near the Gulf of Thailand, is Thailand’s capital and largest city.
Thailand - an introduction
Bangkok is the capital and most populous city of the Kingdom of Thailand. It is on the eastern bank of Chao Phraya River and has a population of over 8 million. It was known as Thonburi ("city of treasures") before King Rama I made it his new capital. Today, the city is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon ("City of angels, great city of immortals") Its full ceremonial name is Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit (City of angels, great city of immortals, magnificent city of the nine gems, seat of the king, city of royal palaces, home of gods incarnate, erected by Vishvakarman at Indra's behest)
City of Angels
Thailand is home to the world’s ninth tallest statue, The Great Buddha of Thailand, at the Wat Muang Monastery in Ang Thong province. It also has the world's highest stupa - Phra Pathom Chedi at 127 metres. The country's tallest building is the Baiyoke Tower II in Bangkok - it is the world's 80th tallest at 304 metres.
Land of Buddha
Muay Thai boxing is the national sport of Thailand. It is known as “the art of eight limbs” as it uses punches, kicks, elbows and knees. Thailand has won just seven gold medals at the Olympic Games - three in weightlifting and four in boxing.
Muay Thai boxing
Thailand has 1,430 islands, among the most famous of which is Koh Phi Phi Lee – it featured in Danny Boyle’s film The Beach. Some clusters have numerous individual islands: Phang Nga Bay has 67, the Mu Ko Chang National Park has 52, Tarutao National Marine Park has 51, and Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park has 42.
Land of 1,430 islands
The town of Kanchanburi is home to the famous “Bridge Over the River Kwai”, part of the Burma-Siam railway. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 people died in the course of the project.
Bridge Over the River Kwai
Suvarnabhumi Airport (code:BKK) in Bangkok is the busiest airport in Thailand. It covers an area of 3,240 hectares (8,000 acres) The airport has the world's second-tallest free-standing control tower (Tower West of Kuala Lumpur International Airport is the tallest ATC tower in the world)
Baht (code: THB) is the currency of Thailand. It is subdivided into 100 satang. The issuance of currency is the responsibility of the Bank of Thailand. It is illegal in Thailand to step on the Baht notes as they feature portraits of the Kings of Thailand.
The national emblem of Thailand is called the Phra Khrut Pha ("Garuda as the vehicle"). The Garuda was officially adopted as the national emblem by King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) in 1911. According to Hindu mythology, the Garuda is the vahana (vehicle) of the god Vishnu (Vishnu is also known as Narayana).
The King of Thailand is the head of state and head of the ruling Royal House of Chakri. Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun is the King of Thailand since 2016. As the tenth monarch of the Chakri Dynasty, he is also styled as Rama X. At age 64, Vajiralongkorn became the oldest Thai monarch to ascend to the throne.
|Nickname||The land of White Elephants|
|Population||69 million (rank: 21)|
|Area||513,120 km2 / 198,120 miles2 (rank: 50)|
|Population density||132 per km2 / 342 per mile2 (rank: 88)|
|Anthem||"Phleng Chat Thai"|
|Motto (unofficial)||(Chat, Satsana, Phra Mahakasat ()"Nation, Religion, King")|
|Highest point||Doi Inthanon 2,565 m (8,415 ft)|
|Mean elevation||287 m (942 ft|
|Longest river flowing wholly within Thailand||Chi River 765 kilometres (475 mi)|
|Longest river flowing through Thailand||Chao Phraya River|
|Border||Myanmar 1,800 km, Cambodia 803 km, Laos 1,754 km, Malaysia 506 km|
|Coastline||3,219 km (2000 miles)|
|Religions||Buddhist 94%, Muslim 4%, Others/None 2%|
|Median age||38 years|
|Population data||Growth rate: 0.3% | Birth rate: 1.1% | Death rate: 0.8%|
|Life expectancy||75 years (Males: 72 years | Female: 79 years)|
|Literacy rate||93% (Male: 95% | Female: 91%)|
|GDP (PPP)||$1.2 trillion (Per capita: $17,800)|
|Flag carrier||Thai Airways|
|Busiest airport||Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok (BKK)|
|Head of the state||King Maha Vajiralongkorn|
|Prime Minister||Prayut Chan-o-cha|
|Time in Thailand|