Thailand in Brief
Official Name: Kingdom of Thailand
Short Form: Thailand (meaning Land of the Free)
Term of Citizenship: Thai
Capital: Bangkok (or Krung Thep, in Thai, which means City of Angel)
Located in the heart of mainland Southeast Asia, Thailand is a country of mountains, hills, plains and a long coastline along the Gulf of Thailand (1,875 km) and the Andaman Sea (740 km), not including the coastlines of some 400 islands, most of them in the Andaman Sea. To the north Thailand borders the Lao PDR and Myanmar; to the east the Lao PDR and Cambodia; to the south Malaysia; and to the west Myanmar.
The land area amounts to approximately 514,000 sq. km. The maritime economic zones cover 72,200 sq. km. in the Andaman Sea and 140,000 sq. km. in the Gulf of Thailand, totaling 212,200 sq. km
Population: Thailand is a multi-ethnic nation with a population of 64.1 million.
Thailand’s climate ranges from the sub-tropical to the tropical zones, with three distinct seasons: a hot and dry season from February to May, a monsoon season from June to October, and a cooler, dry season from November to January. Average seasonal temperatures vary between a low of 23 °C and a high of 32.2 °C.
Thai is the national and official language. It is a tonal language with different dialects. Its script was created in 1283 by King Ramkhamhaeng the Great of the Sukhothai Kingdom. Other languages spoken include Chinese and Malay. English, a compulsory subject of secondary school curricula, is widely spoken and understood throughout the country.
Thailand’s currency unit is the Baht, which is divided into 100 satangs. Notes are in 20 baht (green), 50 baht (blue), 100 baht (red), 500 baht (purple), and 1,000 baht (brown) denominations. Coins are valued at 25 and 50 satangs (brass-colored), 1 baht (nickel), 2 baht (brass/nickel), 5 baht (nickel with copper rim), and 10 baht (nickel with a brass center).
Five horizontal bands of red, white and blue represent unity of the nation, purity of religion, and the monarchy, respectively.
The majority of Thais (over 90 per cent) are Buddhists, although other major religions are practiced. These include Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism. The Constitution makes no mention of any religion or sect as a national religion and grants complete freedom of worship for all Thai citizens.
The Sala Thai (Thai Pavilion) is the country’s architectural symbol reflecting the skill of Thai craftsmen. Chang Thai (Thai elephant or Elephas maximus indicus) is a symbol historically and traditionally associated with Thailand. The national plant is the Rachaphruek (Cassia fistula Linn), known as the Piper Tree or Indian Laburnum in English.