Form of Government: Constitutional monarchy (currently administered by a military junta)
Area: 513 139 sq km
Population: 67 656 900 inhab. (estimate 2017)
Density: 131.85 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 20° - 5° N; long. 97° - 105° E
Capital: Bangkok=Krung Thep (capital) 5 692 284 inhab. (2015); Bangkok=Krung Thep 8 750 600 inhab. (2017), urban agglomeration
Currency: baht (100 satang)
Human development index: 0.74 (rank: 87)
Sovereign: King Vajiralongkorn (Rama X), since 1 December 2016
Prime Minister: Prayuth Chan-ocha, since 25 August 2014
Internet: web.nso.go.th (National Statistical Office)
Member of APEC, ASEAN, OAS observer, OIC observer, UN, WTO
International license plate code THA
International dialling code 0066
Travel vaccinations requirement yellow fever (required only if traveling from a country with risk of transmission, including travelers having transited more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with risk of transmission); malaria prophylaxis (recommended for some areas)
Electricity (Voltage) 220
Driving side left
Internet code .th
DST not applied
Annual average temperature (°C) Bangkok 28.3
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Bangkok 26.5/28.5
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Bangkok 5/9
Annual average precipitation (mm) Bangkok 1547
Days of rainfall (annual average) Bangkok 136
Politics and current affairs
On 27 February 2018, Prayuth Chan-ocha, leader of the military junta, announced that the elections scheduled for November will be postponed to 2019.
Thailand is bordered to the NE by Laos, to the SE by Cambodia, to the S by Malaysia and to the W and NW by Myanmar. To the S it has a coast on the Gulf of Siam and to the SW on the Andaman Sea. In the W and the NW there are highlands with peaks of over 2500 m covered by vast forests. Towards the E, the flood plains of the River Chao Phraya are separated from a series of mountain ranges by the large plain of the Mekong delta. To the SW the country is connected by the Isthmus of Kra to the Malay peninsula. The climate is warm and humid, with monsoon rainfall in the summer.
Thailand (which was known as Siam until 1939) has been a parliamentary monarchy since 1932. The armed forces, closely linked to the monarchy, have always exercised control over the democracy in order to maintain it and to intervene frequently in moments of national crisis that have marked the country’s recent political history. The current period of instability dates to the military coup in September 2006, when the populist government of Thaksin Shinawatra’s People’s Power Party (PPP) was toppled. Having won the elections (23 December 2007) again, Thaksin formed a new government, but he was accused of abuse of office and fled overseas (October 2008). After the PPP was dissolved on the orders of the judicial authorities, a government was formed, led by the Democratic Party, which had to deal with a series of demonstrations staged by Thaksin’s supporters. These erupted into violent clashes with police in May 2010, during which dozens of people were killed. In the early elections of 3 July 2011, the Party for Thai, led by Yingluck Shinawatra, the sister of Thaksin, obtained the majority, but in December 2013 the parliament was dissolved after new protests broke out against the government.
The elections of 2 February 2014 were boycotted by the opposition, which interrupted the elections in certain regions. On 21 March the Constitutional Court nullified the results and on 7 May it ordered Y. Shinawatra and other members of the government to step down for having illegally transferred the head of national security to another position. On 22 May the army responded with a coup d’état, suspending the Constitution. On 22 July a temporary constitutional law was approved, which allowed for the formation of a legislative assembly (for not more than 220 members chosen by the military junta). The military junta drafted a new constitution, approved through a referendum on 7 August 2016 and ratified by the King on 6 April 2017, which establishes a House of Representatives with 500 elected members holding a term of 4 years and a Senate with 250 members from military positions holding a term of 5 years. In the southern provinces of Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala, where there is a Muslim majority and the Malay language is dominant, numerous Islamic extremist guerrilla groups are present, including the Malayan Revolutionary Front.
|Bangkok=Krung Thep||5 692 284||inhab.||2015|
|Samut Prakan||378 694||inhab.||2000|
|Bangkok=Krung Thep||8 750 600||inhab.||2017|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2017)|
In 2017-18, the positive trend of the growth rate continued, already in progress since 2015, supported also by government investments in public works and interest cuts by the central bank.
The country is highly reliant on exports from the manufacturing sector. Rapid development and the low unemployment rate attract many foreign workers.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||118.3||index||2016|
|Balance of trade||13 931||M US$||2017|
|Active population||39 136 448||units||2017|
|Active population, Females||45.7||%||2017|
|Unemployment rate, Females||47.9||%||2017|
|Expenses||2 707 363||M LCU||2016|
|Revenues||2 686 483||M LCU||2016|
|Currency in circulation||1 734.1||BN LCU||2017|
|International reserves||202 538.3||M US$||2017|
The country is among the largest exporters of rice, which is the national staple and is mostly grown in the floodplain of the Menam. Maize and cassava are also important crops. There are also plantations for sugar cane, pineapples, bananas and other tropical fruits, as well as oil palm.
The forests provide rubber, of which the country is the largest exporter, and various valuable timbers, such as teak, yang, sandalwood, sapan and ebony. In the north-western part of the country and near the border with Laos, there are opium poppy plantations.
There are many different animal species in Thailand and livestock includes buffaloes, cattle and pigs.
Elephants are also widely used for transporting timber.
Sea fishing is quite well developed (herring, anchovy and mackerel), even if fishing reserves in the Gulf of Siam are depleting. Thailand is also one of the world’s largest producers of prawns. Freshwater fish is fundamental for meeting food demand in the country. Contribution from aquaculture is also relevant.
|cereals, total||30 420.758||1000 t||2016|
|cassava||31 161||1000 t||2016|
|beans, dry||75.501||1000 t||2016|
|beans, green||314.625||1000 t||2016|
|castor oil seed||0.697||1000 t||2016|
|oil palm fruits||12 081.855||1000 t||2016|
|sugar cane||87 468.496||1000 t||2016|
|seed cotton||4.192||1000 t||2016|
|fruits, total||10 814.9||1000 t||2016|
|cashew nuts||21.933||1000 t||2016|
|citrus fruits||984.679||1000 t||2016|
|citrus fruits, nes||14.045||1000 t||2016|
|bananas||1 075.251||1000 t||2016|
|mangoes||3 432.129||1000 t||2016|
|maize||1 138.095||1000 ha||2016|
|cassava||1 461.827||1000 ha||2016|
|beans, dry||96.63||1000 ha||2016|
|beans, green||165.174||1000 ha||2016|
|castor oil seed||0.743||1000 ha||2016|
|oil palm fruit||650.625||1000 ha||2016|
|sugar cane||1 336.575||1000 ha||2016|
|seed cotton||19.297||1000 ha||2016|
|cashew nuts||15.699||1000 ha||2016|
|citrus fruits||75.996||1000 ha||2016|
|citrus fruits, nes||3.217||1000 ha||2016|
|natural rubber||4 476 636||t||2016|
|timber||33 302 765||m³||2016|
|cattle||5 466.839||1000 heads||2016|
|cattle and buffaloes||6 353.635||1000 heads||2016|
|pigs||7 940.843||1000 heads||2016|
|asses and mules||0.083||1000 heads||2016|
|birds||286 131||1000 heads||2016|
|silk, raw||1.6||1000 t||2014|
|condensed milk||101 075||t||2014|
|crustaceans and molluscs||752 524||t||2016|
|freshwater fishes||584 697||t||2016|
For several decades tin has been the main mineral resource. The country is still one of the world’s main tin producers of foundry tin. Other important minerals include tungsten, lead and zinc, gypsum and feldspar. The country also has deposits of salt, manganese, lignite, fluorspar, phosphates, gold, silver and iron ore. Amongst the precious stones worthy of note are yellow and green sapphires (Chanthaburi) and blue sapphires (Kanchanaburi). There are also natural gas deposits (in the Gulf of Thailand) and crude oil (at Mae Sot, Nang Nuan and Sirikit) which supply the refineries at Bangkok and Ban Si Racha.
Energy and industry.
The most developed industries are textiles (at Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chonnabot, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon and Lampang), food-processing (sugar refineries at Lampang and Chon Buri; distilleries at Ayutthaya and tobacco manufacturing plants), cement works (especially near Saraburi), tin works and the petrochemical industry (refineries in Bangkok, Rayong, Si Racha and Laem Chabang). Other relevant industries include iron and steel, rubber manufacture, car assembly, the production of integrated circuits, and electronic appliances.
|coal, total||16 258.6||1000 t||2017|
|lignite||16 258.6||1000 t||2017|
|iron ore||16.5||1000 t||2015|
|feldspar||1 300||1000 t||2017|
|dolomite||2 302.6||1000 t||2015|
|precious stones||30||1000 ct||2011|
|- thermal||152 827.08||M kWh||2015|
|- other renew.||10 442||M kWh||2015|
|- thermal||31 427||1000 kW||2015|
|- other renew.||4 875.3||1000 kW||2015|
|total net generation||167 961.08||M kWh||2015|
|total installed capacity||40 973.3||1000 kW||2015|
|commercial vehicles||1 170 383||no.||2017|
|air conditioners||17 874 500||no.||2015|
|fridges||6 521 200||no.||2015|
|bitumen||1 420||1000 t||2015|
|petrol||13 012||1000 t||2014|
|nitrogen fertilizers||108.8||1000 t||2016|
|synth. rubber||185||1000 t||2008|
|cotton fabrics - m||84.2||M m||2015|
|cotton yarn||0.002||1000 t||2008|
|beer of barley||2 237.9||1000 t||2014|
|coconut oil||29.3||1000 t||2014|
|cigarettes||27 867||M units||2009|
|cigars and cigarettes||27 867||M units||2009|
|chemical pulp||1 028||1000 t||2016|
|chemi-mechanical pulp||1 028||1000 t||2016|
|cement||42 371.5||1000 t||2015|
|chemicals production||6 104.2||M US$||2011|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||21 571.3||M US$||2011|
The country mainly imports fuel and raw materials, semi-finished products and consumer goods.
Main exports (M US$ - 2017) electric and electronic equipment 21 584, machinery and home appliances 20 639, vehicles and parts thereof 17 624, computers and accessories 14 769, plastics 12 710, cars 10 874, electronic integrated circuits 8 252, jewels and precious stones 7 113, chemicals 6 361, petroleum products 6 241, natural rubber 6 024
Finance and banking.
The central bank is the Bank of Thailand. There is a stock exchange in Bangkok.
|manufactures||78.240||% of goods exports||2016|
|food products||13.892||% of goods exports||2016|
|China||29 365||M US$||2017|
|United States||26 547||M US$||2017|
|China||44 708||M US$||2017|
|Japan||32 377||M US$||2017|
It is an important source of revenue, the main destinations being the coasts of the Malay peninsula, some areas in the centre-north (Chiang Mai) and the capital, Bangkok.
|Expenditures||11 267||M US$||2016|
|Number of arrivals||32 530 000||units||2016|
|Civil aviation, km flown||223 100 000||km flown||2004|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||71 191.5||1000 units||2017|
|Broadband subscribers||118.891||per 1000 pop.||2017|
|Computers||66.8||per 1000 pop.||2005|
Social and welfare
Education and health.
Primary education (6 years) is compulsory as well as at least three years of secondary education (6 years).
|Expected years of schooling||15.5||years||2015|
|Teachers, primary level||300 968||units||2015|
|Teachers, secondary level||240 005||units||2015|
|Social protection spending||13.6||% of total expenses||2016|
|Hospital beds||2.1||per 1000 pop.||2010|
|Physicians||0.5||per 1000 pop.||2015|
|HIV||1.1||% of adults||2016|
|Research and development spending||0.62||% of GDP||2015|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||74.43||%||2016|
|Access to electricity||100||%||2016|