+66 is the dialing code for Thailand.
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.
- Abbreviationfinder: 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 tropical climate.
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 expansive beaches.
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.
|Cultivated land||41.2 %|
|Land area||513120 km 2|
Population and health
|Population development||0.34 ‰|
|Urban population (Urbanization)||50.4 %|
|Death rate||7.18 per 1000 residents|
|Life expectancy: Women||77.78 years|
|Life expectancy: Men||71.24 years|
|Birth rate||11.19 births per 1000 residents|
|Infant mortality||9.63 deaths / 1000 births|
Population Graph Source: Countryaah.com
|Electricity, production||156400 million kWh|
|Energy consumption per inhabitant||1884.3 kg. oil per resident|
|Natural gas, production||41800 million cubic meters|
|Crude oil, production||17 million tons|
|Internet users||28.8 per 100 residents|
|Mobile subscriptions||143 per 100 residents|
|Passenger cars||206 per 1000 residents|
Business and economics
|Unemployment||1% of the workforce|
|GDP||16100 per resident|
|Primary occupations||38.2 %|
|Secondary profession||13.6 %|
|Tertiary professions||48.2 %|
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 winter months.
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, Sources: Allcitypopulation.com)
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 guerrillas ended.
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 surveillance.
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 demonstrate.
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 charges.
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 harvest.
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 from voting.
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, northern Thailand.
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.