The Buddhist monarchy Thailand is the only
Southeast Asian country that has never been colonized.
In recent decades, Thailand has been transformed from an
agricultural country into an export-oriented industrial
nation. Thailand is not a democratic country, not even
on paper. The constitution adopted in 2017 gives the
military great political influence.
Brief profiles of Thailand, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Thailand in Southeast Asia is roughly the
same size as Spain. The country is mostly in the
interior of Indochina, but a narrow strip of land
stretches down the Malacca peninsula. Thailand has a
From the border with Malaysia in the south to the
northern part where Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Laos
meet, it is 170 kilometers.
In northern Thailand, the landscape is dominated by
north-south chains of mountains or hills, intersected by
fertile river valleys. There are the country's highest
peaks of over 2,000 meters. The north-eastern region is
made up of the low-lying Korat Plateau, which is bounded
by low mountain ranges in the west and south, and by the
Mekong River in the north and east.
The most fertile soil covers the central parts,
"Thailand's rice bowl," which is irrigated by the
country's most important river, Chao Phraya. Before the
river flows out of the capital Bangkok, it forms a
delta, where rice has been cultivated for centuries. The
long narrow southern region consists of tropical lush
mountains and hills, bordered by coastal plains with
In the past, Thailand was covered by tropical forest,
but hard harvesting has reduced the forest population.
In the country there are wild elephants, tigers, tapirs
and bantenges (the world's largest ox animals), but many
mammals and bird species are endangered.
Thailand is located in the tropical climate zone,
which means high temperatures all year round and
relatively high humidity. Most of the rain falls during
the summer monsoon between June and October.
The coolest is between December and January. In
southern Thailand, the rain falls more evenly over the
year. It also does not get noticeably cooler during the
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
513 115 km2 (2018)
Swedish +6 hours
Adjacent country (s)
Myanmar (formerly Burma), Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia
Capital with number of residents
Bangkok 8,800,000 (without suburbs, estimated 2018)
Other major cities
Nakhon Ratchasima 2,500,000, Samut Prakan 2,000,000,
Khon Kaen 1,700,000, Ubon Ratchathani 1,700,000, Chiang
Mai 1,700,000, Chon Buri 1,700,000 (Estimated 2018)
Doi Inthanon (2,576 m asl)
Chao Phraya, Mekong
Average Precipitation / month
Bangkok 306 mm (sept), 7 mm (dec)
Average / day
Bangkok 30 °C (April), 25 °C (Dec)
The Crown Prince is different
Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn differs from his wife Sriramsi, who is deprived
of her royal title and royal name after several of her relatives were arrested
on suspicion of corruption. The couple married in 2001 and have a son together.
The couple had been separated for some time.
Sick King is celebrating years
King Bhumibol is setting a planned public appearance at the Palace in Bangkok
in connection with the celebration of his 87th birthday. It is the King's doctor
who discourages him from appearing to the public. Bhumibol has been hospitalized
in recent months.
Rice subsidies are more expensive than expected
The Ministry of Finance states that the Yingluck government's rice subsidy
program resulted in a loss of 518 billion baht ($ 15.7 billion), more than twice
as much as previously estimated.
The army distributes weapons in the south
According to official sources, in September and October, the Army distributed
2,700 small arms to voluntary civilian civil guards in villages in southern
Thailand to protect themselves from guerrilla attacks. During the summer and
autumn, the conflict in the south (see Southern Thailand) has worsened as a
result of the coup in Bangkok in May, when talks between the government and
Prayuth visits Myanmar
Prime Minister Prayuth visits Myanmar (formerly Burma) as the first country
since he became head of government. The leaders of the two countries will
discuss cooperation in port development, the energy sector and border
Criticism from human rights organization
Amnesty International in a new report accuses the military council of
"systematic, arbitrary arrests" in connection with the arrest of hundreds of
civilians in May, including Yingluck Shinawatra.
New government with many generals
Prime Minister Prayuth presents a new government, which gets the king's
approval. Generals, both active and retired, are appointed to just over a third
of ministerial posts. For example, soldiers sit on the Defense, Home Affairs,
Foreign Affairs and Justice Minister posts.
The murder charges against Abhisit are closed down
The murder charges against former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of the
Democratic Party are closed (see December 2013).
The dome leader becomes prime minister
The Temporary Legislative Assembly appoints Army Chief and Deputy Chief
Prayuth Chan-ocha as Temporary Prime Minister. The choice of head of government
gets the king's approval.
Weak economic upturn
The economy showed a slight increase during the second quarter of 2014.
Growth is 0.9 percent compared to the first quarter of the same year. Thus,
Thailand avoids a continued recession (economic downturn).
Militarily dominated "parliament" is added
The Military Council appoints a temporary legislative assembly with 200
members, including more than 100 military and 11 police officers. Other members
are academics, business leaders and politicians who have been opposed to the
deposed Yingluck government.
Temporary constitution gives the military great power
The Military Council states that the King has accepted a temporary
constitution, which gives the Council great powers of power even after the
establishment of a transitional government and a temporary parliament.
Yingluck is allowed to travel abroad
Yingluck is allowed to travel abroad for the first time since the coup. The
Military Council announces that the permit is granted for Yingluck "kept a low
profile" since she was deposed. According to media, Yingluck will travel to
France to celebrate Thaksin's 65th birthday.
The EU breaks off contacts
The EU's foreign ministers decide to suspend official visits to and from
Thailand, thus severing contacts with the now militarily controlled country.
Cambodian workers leave the country
About a quarter of a million Cambodian guest workers leave Thailand for fear
of reprisals since the military council said it will act against foreign
nationals working illegally in the country. Cambodia criticizes the junta for
not discussing the matter with them first. Tensions are rising between the two
countries. Entrepreneurs in Thailand warn that acute labor shortages may occur.
Calm situation, curfew lifted
Demonstrations against the coup continue on a small scale, but the military
does not intervene. The Military Council is lifting the nightly curfew across
the country, as they believe "the situation has improved".
The military launches economic program
The Military Council is presenting an economic program for the coming year
with a series of measures aimed at increasing the external and investor
confidence in the Thai economy. The Military Council emphasizes the importance
of keeping the budget in balance and having coverage for all expenses.
The military provides rice subsidies
The Military Council pays $ 2.8 billion in subsidies to rice farmers in an
attempt to appease the rural population, which is largely Thaksin-friendly. At
the same time, the Council is lifting the nightly curfew in Pattaya, Phuket and
Koh Samui so as not to adversely affect tourism.
Dozens of opposition detained
An Army spokesman says that 124 of a total of 253 opposition politicians,
redshirts, journalists and academics called for interrogation by the military
have been released. 53 never appeared and 76 were arrested. Yingluck shall be
conditionally released. According to the British BBC, the condition for release
is that you promise not to be politically active and that you do not travel
anywhere without informing the army.
The coup gets the king's approval
The military coup gets the king's approval, with the demand that the country
return to democracy as soon as possible.
Small protests against the coup
Despite demonstration bans, protest actions against the coup are starting on
a small scale in central Bangkok. The military and the police do not intervene.
Protests against the coup are held almost daily.
Political actors are collected by the military
The Military Council brings together more than a hundred political actors and
journalists and academics at a military location in Bangkok. Among them is
Yingluck Shinawatra. 155 politicians are banned from leaving the country.
The government is set aside in a military coup
After two days of unsuccessful attempts by the military to mediate between
government representatives and leaders of the two demonstration camps, Army
Chief Prayuth Chan-ocha announces in a televised speech to the nation that the
military has taken over government power. Thailand is now ruled by a group
consisting of the military's weapons division chiefs and police under the
leadership of Army Chief Chan-ocha. Media censorship and nightly curfews are
introduced. Ether media only transmits information from the military council.
Demonstration leaders from both sides are removed, it is unclear if they are
arrested. Soldiers lock up demonstration camps. The army chief announces that
the constitution has been repealed and the parliament dissolved. No elections
will be held until political reforms have been implemented. What these reforms
will mean is unclear. The coup is condemned by a number of countries, including
the United States and European countries.
State of emergency throughout the country
The army faces a nationwide emergency with the justification that the order
must be restored. Media censorship is also introduced and the military takes
control of several TV and radio stations, both government-friendly and critical.
Soldiers enter the government building in Bangkok, which has been empty for some
time because protesters have made it impossible for ministers to work from
there. Tanks block off streets in the capital and people are urged not to
Three dead in continued demonstrations
Demonstrations are being held in Bangkok in protest of the government being
left behind, while government supporters are protesting that Yingluck has been
deposed. Three people are killed and about 20 injured when one of the
government-critical protesters' camp at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok is
attacked by unknown perpetrators. In the past, the protesters have entered an
air base and stopped a meeting between the government and the electoral
commission. The army commander warns that the military may be forced to act if
political violence continues to escalate.
Yingluck is forced to step down
The Constitutional Court orders Yingluck and nine other ministers to resign
due to abuse of power. According to the court, Yingluck favored a relative in
connection with the appointment of the country's national security chief in
2011. For Thailand, Commerce Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan appoints a new
interim prime minister.
New elections are announced again
The Election Commission and Yingluck agree to hold new elections on July 20.
The Democratic Party announces that it will boycott the election.
The red shirts warn of civil war
The Red Shirts are conducting the first demonstration near Bangkok since the
hostile demonstrations began in the fall of 2013. The Red Warnings of a civil
war if Yingluck is forced out of power.
The choice is invalidated
The Constitutional Court cancels the new election on February 2 because it
could not be held on the same day throughout the country, as required by law.
The state of emergency is lifted
The state of emergency in Bangkok and its environs is repealed and replaced
by a special law on internal security.
Some filling choices are held
Election elections are held in five of the provinces where the elections in
February had to be postponed due to unrest. The elections are going well, but
participation seems to be very low, which is interpreted as voters do not think
that the election elections will solve the country's political problems. In
several other provinces, the Election Commission considers that tensions are
still so great that electoral elections cannot be carried out.
Yingluck is charged with corruption
Thailand's anti-corruption unit is suing Yingluck for neglect and corruption
in connection with the disputed rice subsidy program. Yingluck denies the
Mass arrests and several dead
Police are trying to break up the protests that protesters have built at a
number of locations in central Bangkok, including at the Prime Minister's
Office. The police action is carried out since attempts to dialogue with the
protesters have failed. Violent clashes erupt between riot police and
protesters. At least three people - one policeman and two protesters - are
killed and dozens of others injured in the riots. About 100 people are arrested.
The police had hitherto been ordered by the government not to strike at the
protesters. At least three people are killed and dozens injured when an
explosive charge detonates near the demonstrators' camp in Bangkok. No person or
group is to blame for the attack.
The rice subsidies are being abolished
The government is abolishing rice subsidies for the time being. The decision
is justified by the fact that the government no longer considers itself
empowered to continue with the program as a result of the unclear situation
regarding the election results.
China withdraws from important risk purchases
China withdraws from a planned purchase of 1.2 million tonnes of rice from
Thailand. The reason for China's decision is that an investigation has been
initiated against the government's program to buy rice from the country's
farmers. The program means that the government buys the farmers' rice at a price
that is up to 50 percent higher than the price on the world market. Some critics
believe this is a way for the government to buy political support from the
peasants, others criticize the program for costing the state large sums. One
estimate claims that rice subsidies cost Thai taxpayers $ 6 billion a year. An
urgent problem for the government is that it now has to get the rice sold in
order to pay the farmers, many of whom have not yet been paid for their autumn
Unusually low turnout
As expected, turnout is unusually low, 46 percent according to the Election
Commission. This can be compared to the 2011 election when 75 percent of the
eligible voters participated. The reason for the low turnout is partly the
Democratic Party's boycott, and partly that millions of voters are prevented
Fill choices should be held
The Election Commission announces that electoral elections must be held in
the districts where voters are prevented from voting. About six million Thais
have been barred from voting. 95% of Parliament's seats must be filled before it
can sit. Demonstrations against the government continue in Bangkok.
Deficiencies in the election process
The new election is held as planned. The election day is relatively calm, but
several people are killed in an exchange of fire between red and yellow shirts
in Bangkok. The anti-government protesters are preventing voters from voting,
among other things by stopping election workers from entering ballot boxes in
the polling stations. The Election Commission says that the electoral process
has only worked at 90 percent of the polling stations. The polling stations that
are blocked are mainly located in Bangkok and in southern Thailand. In the north
and northeast, the choice has flown on well.
Voters are prevented from voting in advance
Anti-government protesters are preventing voters from voting in advance by
surrounding a number of polling stations in Bangkok. A demonstration leader is
shot dead in Bangkok by unknown perpetrators in connection with riots between
supporters and opponents of the government.
Emergency state in Bangkok
The government faces an emergency in Bangkok and three nearby provinces where
protesters block important buildings and roads. At the same time, one of the top
leaders of the Red Shirts protests in 2010, Kwanchai Praipana, is shot in the
leg and shoulder by unknown perpetrators outside his residence in Udon Thani,
Probable murder trial against Suthep
About 30 people are injured when an explosive charge, likely a grenade, is
thrown in among participants in a government-critical demonstration in central
Bangkok. The explosive charge lands about 30 meters from demonstration leader
Suthep, who is believed to have been the target of the attack.
The protesters form tent camps
The hostile demonstrations are increasing as elections approach. Large tent
camps are being created in parts of Bangkok's center and the demonstration
leaders announce that the goal is to cripple the capital in order to put further
pressure on the Yingluck government to resign. The protesters can take several
important street intersections without the police intervening.