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Map of Thailand

Thailand    Introduction Top of Page
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.
Thailand    Geography Top of Page
Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma
Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N, 100 00 E
Map references: Southeast Asia
Area: total:  514,000 sq km

land:  511,770 sq km

water:  2,230 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming
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
Thailand    People Top of Page
Population: 61,797,751

note:  estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2001 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years:  23.43% (male 7,380,273; female 7,099,506)

15-64 years:  69.95% (male 21,304,051; female 21,921,383)

65 years and over:  6.62% (male 1,796,325; female 2,296,213) (2001 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.91% (2001 est.)
Birth rate: 16.63 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Death rate: 7.54 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth:  1.05 male(s)/female

under 15 years:  1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years:  0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over:  0.78 male(s)/female

total population:  0.97 male(s)/female (2001 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 30.49 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population:  68.86 years

male:  65.64 years

female:  72.24 years (2001 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.87 children born/woman (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 2.15% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 755,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 66,000 (1999 est.)
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.)
Thailand    Government Top of Page
Country name: conventional long form:  Kingdom of Thailand

conventional short form:  Thailand

former:  Siam
Government type: constitutional monarchy
Capital: Bangkok
Administrative divisions: 76 provinces (changwat, singular and plural); Amnat Charoen, Ang Thong, Buriram, Chachoengsao, Chai Nat, Chaiyaphum, Chanthaburi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chon Buri, Chumphon, Kalasin, Kamphaeng Phet, Kanchanaburi, Khon Kaen, Krabi, Krung Thep Mahanakhon (Bangkok), Lampang, Lamphun, Loei, Lop Buri, Mae Hong Son, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nan, Narathiwat, Nong Bua Lamphu, Nong Khai, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Pattani, Phangnga, Phatthalung, Phayao, Phetchabun, Phetchaburi, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Phrae, Phuket, Prachin Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ranong, Ratchaburi, Rayong, Roi Et, Sa Kaeo, Sakon Nakhon, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Sara Buri, Satun, Sing Buri, Sisaket, Songkhla, Sukhothai, Suphan Buri, Surat Thani, Surin, Tak, Trang, Trat, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Uthai Thani, Uttaradit, Yala, Yasothon
Independence: 1238 (traditional founding date; never colonized)
National holiday: Birthday of King PHUMIPHON, 5 December (1927)
Constitution: new constitution signed by King PHUMIPHON on 11 October 1997
Legal system: based on civil law system, with influences of common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch: chief of state:  King PHUMIPHON Adunyadet (since 9 June 1946)

head of government:  Prime Minister THAKSIN Chinnawat (since NA January 2001)

cabinet:  Council of Ministers

note:  there is also a Privy Council

elections:  none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister designated from among the members of the House of Representatives; following a national election for the House of Representatives, the leader of the party that can organize a majority coalition usually becomes prime minister
Legislative branch: bicameral National Assembly or Rathasapha consists of the Senate or Wuthisapha (200 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Sapha Phuthaen Ratsadon (500 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

elections:  Senate - last held 4 March, 29 April, 4 June, 9 July, and 22 July 2000 (next to be held NA March 2004); House of Representatives - last held 6 January 2001 (next to be held NA January 2005)

election results:  Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - TRT 248, DP 128, TNP 41, NAP 36, NDP 29, other 18
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Sandika (judges appointed by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party or DP (Prachathipat Party) [CHUAN Likphai]; Liberal Democratic Party or LDP (Seri Tham) [PHINIT Charusombat]; Mass Party or MP [CHALERM Yoobamrung, SOPHON Petchsavang]; National Development Party or NDP (Chat Phattana) [KORN Dabbaransi]; New Aspiration Party or NAP (Khwamwang Mai) [Gen. CHAWALIT Yongchaiyut]; Phalang Dharma Party or PDP (Phalang Tham) [CHAIWAT Sinsuwong]; Social Action Party or SAP (Kitsangkhom Party) [leader vacant]; Solidarity Party or SP (Ekkaphap Party) [CHAIYOT Sasomsap]; Thai Citizen's Party or TCP (Prachakon Thai) [SAMAK Sunthonwet]; Thai Nation Party or TNP (Chat Thai Party) [BANHAN Sinlapa-acha]; Thai Rak Thai Party or TRT [THAKSIN Chinnawat]
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: APEC, ARF, AsDB, ASEAN, BIS, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC (observer), OPCW, OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNTAET, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission:  Ambassador TEJ Bunnag

chancery:  1024 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007

telephone:  [1] (202) 944-3600

FAX:  [1] (202) 944-3611

consulate(s) general:  Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission:  Ambassador Richard E. HECKLINGER

embassy:  120/22 Wireless Road, Bangkok

mailing address:  APO AP 96546

telephone:  [66] (2) 205-4000

FAX:  [66] (2) 254-1171

consulate(s) general:  Chiang Mai
Flag description: five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white, and red
Thailand    Economy Top of Page
Economy - overview: After enjoying the world's highest growth rate from 1985 to 1995 - averaging almost 9% annually - increased speculative pressure on Thailand's currency in 1997 led to a crisis that uncovered financial sector weaknesses and forced the government to float the baht. Long pegged at 25 to the dollar, the baht reached its lowest point of 56 to the dollar in January 1998 and the economy contracted by 10.2% that same year. Thailand entered a recovery stage in 1999, expanding 4.2% and grew about the same amount in 2000, largely due to strong exports - which increased about 20% in 2000. An ailing financial sector and the slow pace of corporate debt restructuring, combined with a softening of global demand, is likely to slow growth in 2001.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $413 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.2% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $6,700 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture:  13%

industry:  40%

services:  47% (1999)
Population below poverty line: 12.5% (1998 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%:  2.5%

highest 10%:  37.1% (1992)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.1% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 32.6 million (1997 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 54%, industry 15%, services 31% (1996 est.)
Unemployment rate: 3.7% (2000 est.)
Budget: revenues:  $19 billion

expenditures:  $21 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
Industries: tourism; textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing, such as jewelry; electric appliances and components, computers and parts, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics; world's second-largest tungsten producer and third-largest tin producer
Industrial production growth rate: 3% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production: 89.431 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel:  91.17%

hydro:  3.81%

nuclear:  0%

other:  5.02% (1999)
Electricity - consumption: 83.991 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports: 200 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports: 1.02 billion kWh (1999)
Agriculture - products: rice, cassava (tapioca), rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, soybeans
Exports: $68.2 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities: computers and parts, textiles, integrated circuits, rice
Exports - partners: US 22%, Japan 14%, Singapore 9%, Hong Kong 5%, Netherlands 4%, Malaysia 4%, UK 4% (1999)
Imports: $61.8 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: capital goods, intermediate goods and raw materials, consumer goods, fuels
Imports - partners: Japan 26%, US 14%, Singapore 6%, China 5%, Malaysia 5%, Taiwan 5% (1999)
Debt - external: $90 billion (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $131.5 million (1998 est.)
Currency: baht (THB)
Currency code: THB
Exchange rates: baht per US dollar - 43.078 (January 2001), 40.112 (2000), 37.814 (1999), 41.359 (1998), 31.364 (1997), 25.343 (1996)
Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September
Thailand    Communications Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use: 5.4 million (1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 2.3 million (1998)
Telephone system: general assessment:  service to general public adequate, but investment in technological upgrades reduced by recession; bulk of service to government activities provided by multichannel cable and microwave radio relay network

domestic:  microwave radio relay and multichannel cable; domestic satellite system being developed

international:  satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 204, FM 334, shortwave 6 (1999)
Radios: 13.96 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 5 (all in Bangkok; plus 131 repeaters) (1997)
Televisions: 15.19 million (1997)
Internet country code: .th
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 15 (2000)
Internet users: 1 million (2000)
Thailand    Transportation Top of Page
Railways: total:  3,940 km

narrow gauge:  3,940 km 1.000-m gauge (99 km double track)
Highways: total:  64,600 km

paved:  62,985 km

unpaved:  1,615 km (1996)
Waterways: 4,000 km

note:  3,701 km are navigable throughout the year by boats with drafts up to 0.9 meters; numerous minor waterways serve shallow-draft native craft
Pipelines: petroleum products 67 km; natural gas 350 km
Ports and harbors: Bangkok, Laem Chabang, Pattani, Phuket, Sattahip, Si Racha, Songkhla
Merchant marine: total:  294 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,845,972 GRT/2,923,914 DWT

ships by type:  bulk 36, cargo 133, chemical tanker 3, combination bulk 1, container 14, liquefied gas 20, multi-functional large-load carrier 3, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 61, refrigerated cargo 13, roll on/roll off 2, short-sea passenger 2, specialized tanker 5 (2000 est.)
Airports: 110 (2000 est.)
Airports - with paved runways: total:  59

over 3,047 m:  6

2,438 to 3,047 m:  11

1,524 to 2,437 m:  21

914 to 1,523 m:  17

under 914 m:  4 (2000 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total:  51

1,524 to 2,437 m:  1

914 to 1,523 m:  16

under 914 m:  34 (2000 est.)
Heliports: 2 (2000 est.)
Thailand    Military Top of Page
Military branches: Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Navy (includes Royal Thai Marine Corps), Royal Thai Air Force, Paramilitary Forces
Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49:  17,717,268 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49:  10,646,818 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males:  567,659 (2001 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $1.775 billion (FY00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.4% (FY00)
Thailand    Transnational Issues Top of Page
Disputes - international: parts of the border with Laos are indefinite; parts of border with Cambodia are indefinite; sporadic border hostilities with Burma over border alignment and ethnic Shan rebels operating in cross-border region
Illicit drugs: a minor producer of opium, heroin, and marijuana; illicit transit point for heroin en route to the international drug market from Burma and Laos; eradication efforts have reduced the area of cannabis cultivation and shifted some production to neighboring countries; opium poppy cultivation has been reduced by eradication efforts; also a drug money-laundering center; minor role in amphetamine production for regional consumption; increasing indigenous abuse of methamphetamine