Thailand Fast Facts
CountryThailand, the only Southeast Asian nation never to have been colonized by European powers, is a constitutional monarchy whose current head of state is HM Bhumibol Adulyadej. A unified Thai kingdom has existed since the mid-14th century, and Thailand was known as Siam until 1939 when it officially became the Kingdom of Thailand.
GeographyThailand is the 50th largest country in the world; most nearly equal in size to Spain. Thailand’s largest peak, Doi Inthanon, is 2,565 meters (8,415 ft) tall. Thailand covers 510,890 sq km of land and 2,230 sq km of water. The coastline of Thailand is 3,219 km long. Thailand’s longest shared border is with Myanmar (Burma), stretching 1,800 km.
ClimateLocated just 15 degrees north of the equator, Thailand has a tropical climate and temperatures typically range from 19 to 38 C (66-100 F).
PopulationThe population of Thailand comprises of roughly 65 million citizens, the majority of whom are ethnically Thai, though peoples of Chinese, Indian, Malay, Mon, Khmer, Burmese, and Lao origin are also represented to varying degrees. Approximately 7 million citizens live in Bangkok.
AreaThailand has a rough geographical area of 514, 000 sq km (200,000 sq mi). This makes Thailand roughly equivalent in size to Texas.
PeopleThe vast majority (roughly 80%) of Thailand’s nearly 65 million citizens are ethnically Thai. The remainder consists primarily of peoples of Chinese, Indian, Malay, Mon, Khmer, Burmese, and Lao decent. Of the 7 million citizens who live in the capital city, Bangkok, there is a greater diversity of ethnicities, including a large number of expatriate residents from across the globe. Other geographic distinctions of the population include a Muslim majority in the south near the Malaysian border, and hill tribe ethnic groups, such as the Hmong and Karen, who live in the northern mountains.
LanguageMore than 92% of the population speaks Thai or one of it’s regional dialects. While the Thai language is the official language of Thailand, as a result of its cosmopolitan capital city and established tourism infrastructure, English is spoken and understood throughout much of Thailand.
Religion94.6% of Thais are Buddhist, 4.6% of Thais are Muslim, and 0.7% of Thais are Christian.
GovernmentThailand is a constitutional monarchy, not dissimilar to England’s, whereby an elected Prime Minister is authorized to be the head of government and a hereditary Thai King is head of state. The constitution of Thailand allows for the people of Thailand to democratically elect their leaders in the form of a parliament, with a bicameral legislature consisting of a Senate and House of Representatives, and executive authority in the hands of the Prime Minister. A Judiciary, overseen by the Supreme Court, was designed to act independently of the executive and the legislature.
EconomyThe economy of Thailand is reliant on exports, which account for 60% of Thailand’s approximately US$ 200 billion GDP. The economy of Thailand is the 2nd largest in Southeast Asia. Thailand’s exports consist primarily of agricultural products including fish and rice, of which it is the largest exporter in the world, as well as textiles, rubber, automobiles, computers and other electronic appliances, and jewelry. While one of the premier tourist destinations in the world, Thailand relies on tourism to provide only 7 % of its GDP.
CurrencyThe currency of Thailand is the Thai Baht. Baht come in both coin and banknote form. The size of Thai currency, both coins and bills increases with value and varies in color.
TimeThailand Standard time is GMT +7. Thailand does not observe daylight savings.
Weights & MeasuresThailand uses the metric system for all weights and measurements, with the exception for area, which Thais divide into wa and rai.
ElectricityElectrical outlets in Thailand are charged to 220v at 50 cycles per second, which is compatible with appliances from the U.K. but not those from the US and many other nations. While most computer cables have adaptors for voltage, visitors from the U.S. and those not on the 220/50 v. will have to bring adapters to run most other appliances. Outlets in Thailand generally feature flat, two pronged plugs, though some feature holes for round plug ends. Few outlets feature three holes (grounded outlets) so it is often necessary to have a three to two prong adapter for using notebook computers in Thailand.