Thailand Facts & Figures
Thailand is a developing nation in Southeast Asia with a population of approximately 67 million. Thailand is bordered by Myanmar (Burma) on the West and Northwest; Laos on the northeast and east; Cambodia to the east; and Malaysia to the south.
About the size of France, Thailand (513,120 sq km) has long coastlines (total of 3,200 km) on the Andaman Sea to the west; with the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea to the east.
Thailand's capitol city is Bangkok and commonly called "Krung Thep" by the Thais.
Government of Thailand
Thailand is a Constitutional Monarchy with Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches. A bloodless coup in 1932 ended centuries of absolute monarchies. The King of Thailand sits as titular head of state.
The present king of Thailand, HM Bhumibol Adulyadej, ascended the the throne June 9, 1946. He is revered as a God King by the Thai people.
Thailand's Climate & Weather
Thailand varies from sub-tropical in the north to tropical in the south. Temperatures can reach freezing in the mountains of the north, especially on Doi Intanon (2,576 m) in Chiang Mai Province. The Southern regions are always hot and humid.
Generally, the southwest monsoon (mid-May to September) ushers in the rainy season in Thailand but varies somewhat depending on the region. The northeast monsoon brings the cooling effect for "high-season" (November to mid-March). However, recent years have seen un seasonal rainfall and drought.
Thailand normally swelters from mid-March to mid-May. Un seasonal rainfall and cold weather often occurs during the Thai New Year aka Songkran.
Depending on one's health, behavior and travels; Thailand has some significant health risks. Major infectious diseases with high degrees of risk for that population are
- Recent: 2012, drug resistant strains of Malaria along the Thai/Burma border.
- HIV/AIDS: 2009 statistics suggest 600,000 living with HIV/AIDS
- Food or waterborne: bacterial diarrhea
- Vector borne: dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria
- Animal contact: rabies
- Water contact: leptospirosis
- Note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in Thailand; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among those who have close contact with birds (2009)
Thailand serves as a hub for regional travel in Southeast Asia. Popular destinations include Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya, Krabi, Cha am, Hua Hin and Koh Samui.