Area : approximately 514,000sq. km. (198,000 sq. miles)
Capital : Bangkok
Population : approximately 62 millions
Language : Thai
Religion : Buddhism
Time Zone : GMT plus 7 hours
Currency : Baht
Weight and Measures : Metric
Electricity : 220 volts, 50 cycles. Used either flat-pronged
or round-pronged plugs.
International dialing code : 00 66
Lying between 7 degrees and 21 degrees latitude, Thailand has
a total area almost the size of France, and is said to resemble
an elephant's head with its trunk forming the southern peninsula.
Bangkok is sited at its geographic center, approximately at
the elephant's mouth. The country is bordered by Malaysia to
the south, Burma to the west, Laos across the Mekong river to
the northeast and Cambodia to the east.
The north is marked by low hills and contains the country's
tallest peak, Doi Intanon, standing 2,590 meters ( 8,500 ft.
) tall. A range of hills divides Thailand from Burma and forms
the western boundary of the broad alluvial central plains, the
country's principal growing rice area. To the east, the plains
rise to the Khorat Plateau, which covers much of the northeast.
The spine of the southern peninsula is the same range of hills
that separate Thailand from Burma, sloping down to the Andaman
Sea on the west and the Gulf of Thailand on the east. Thailand
has a total of 2,600 km (1,600 miles) of coastline.
Bangkok is situated at 14 degrees north latitude. It is a city
divided into halves by a river, the Chao Phraya, which separates
central Bangkok and Thonburi. The city covers a total area of
1,565 sq. km. (605 sq.miles) of delta land, of which there is
no natural area is more than 2 meters (7ft) above any other.
Chiang Mai lies 700 km (435 miles) north of Bangkok. It sits
300 meters (1,000 ft) above sea level, and is crowned by Doi
Suthep, which rises to a height of 1,675 meters (5,495 ft).
The city is home to over 150,000 people.
Phuket, an island in the Andaman Sea, lies 890 km (550 miles)
or a 70 minutes flight south of Bangkok. Measuring 50 km (30
miles) long by 20 km (13 miles) wide, it is approximately the
size of Singapore.
There are three seasons Thailand : hot, rainy and cool. But
to the tourist winging in from anywhere north or south of the
30th parallel, Thailand has only one temperature - hot. The
temperature drops only a few degrees during the night and is
accompanied 24 hours by humidity above 70 percent. Only air
conditioned only make Bangkok and other major towns tolerable
during hot season. The countryside is somewhat cooler, but surprisingly,
the northern regions can be hotter in March and April than in
Adding together the yearly daytime highs and the nighttime lows
for major world cities, the World Meteorological Organization
has declared Bangkok to be the world hottest city. When the
monsoon rains fall, the country swelters.
Chiang Mai enjoys a cooler climate. In the cool season, temperatures
range between 13C and 28C (55F and 82F) and are lower in the
hills. As in Bangkok, the heaviest rain falls in September.
In Phuket, the monsoon begins in early May, and generally ends
in late October. Temperatures range from 34C (93F) in the hot
season to night time temperature of 21C (70F) in the cool season.
The water temperature never drops below 20C (67F).
Nearly 70 percent of the population are farmers, who still alluvial
land so rich that Thailand is the world leader in the export
of tapioca, rice, rubber and canned pineapple. The country is
also a major exporter of tuna, shrimp, sugar, maize and tin.
Increasingly, Thailand is turning to manufacturing, especially
in clothing, machinery and electronics.
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy headed by His Majesty,
King Bhumibol. The royalty's power has been reduced considerably
since the period before the 1932 revolution. However, the present
King can, by the force of his moral authority, influence important
decisions. Although he no longer rules as did the absolute monarchs
of previous centuries, he is still regarded as one of the three
pillars of the society - monarchy, religion, and the nation.
This concept is represented by the five-banded national flags
: the outer red bands symbolizing the nation; the inner white
bands the purity of the Buddhist religion ; and the thick blue
band at the center, the monarchy.
Along with Her Majesty Queen Sirikit and other members of the
royal family, the King has long been active in promoting the
interests of Thais in the lower economic strata, earning the
royal family genuine respect from their people.
The structure of the government is defined by the constitution
and its enabling ordinances. A new constitution, designed to
place power in the hand of people, was passed in 1997. Despite
its frequent revisions, it has remained true to the spirit of
The Thai government consists of three branches : legislative,
executive and judiciary, each in theory acting independently
of the others in a system of checks and balances.