World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of countries
Map of South East Asia

Thailand Travelling Guide
Thailand Travelling Guide

General background: A unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century. 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.

Area comparative: Slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming.

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.

Population: 62,354,402

Ethnic groups: Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%

Religions: Buddhism 95%, Muslim 3.8%, Christianity 0.5%, Hinduism 0.1%, other 0.6% (1991)

Language: Thai, English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects.

Government type: Constitutional monarchy

Capital: Bangkok

Legal system: Based on civil law system, with influences of common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.

Economic 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 4.4% 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, however, slowed growth in 2001 to 1.4%.

Communication/Telephone system: Service to general public adequate, but investment in technological upgrades reduced by recession; bulk of service to government activities provided by multi-channel cable and microwave radio relay network.

Places of interest: Thailand's islands and beaches are breathtakingly beautiful.

Travel tips: Travelers should steer well clear of the borders or contact their embassy to receive the latest reports on the security situation.