Thailand

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GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Population


Total population (millions): 62.4
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 32%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: 0.6%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km˛) : 513 120


Population origin

Origin of the population% Of the population
Thai (80 %),
Chinese (10 %),
Malay (4 %),
Indian, Pakistani and other minorities.



Main Cities Population
Bangkok 6 355 144
Samut Prakan 378 741
Nonthanburi 291 555
Udon Thani 222 425
Nakhon Ratchasima 204 641
Hat Yai 187 920



Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Bangkok (GMT+7 ).



Languages
Official language: Thai
If you can speak a few words in Thai, you will impress very much the person you are speaking to... Note that the royal family assumes the use of a range of words that are exclusively reserved to it. The Thai alphabet has 44 consonants

Free translation tools





Religion
Religious practises : 95% of the population is buddhist (Theravaca) and 4% is Muslim


Political context

Thailand is a constitutional monarchy based on parliamentary democracy. Thailand (official name: Kingdom of Thailand) has a history of being governed, off and on, by military; the most recent being the army coup of September 2006. Thus an environment of political instability prevails in the country.
The King is the chief of the state. The monarch is hereditary. King has little direct power but commands enormous popular respect and moral authority which he has used on occasion to resolve political crises that have threatened national stability. Following national elections for the lower house of the parliament, the leader of the party that can organize a majority coalition is appointed as Prime Minister by the King for a four-year term. Prime Minister is the head of the government and holds all the executive powers including implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs. The cabinet is appointed by the King on recommendation of the Prime Minister.
The legislature in Thailand is bicameral. The parliament called National Assembly consists of: Senate (the upper house) having 200 seats with its members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms and the House of Representatives (the lower house) having 500 seats with its members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms. The executive branch of government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. Government cannot veto the acts passed by the parliament.
When not under military rule, the people of Thailand enjoy considerable political rights. The coup of September 2006 has taken place after 15 years of civilian and democratically-elected governments.
When under civilian rule, judiciary is generally regarded as independent though it is subject to corruption and heavy backlog of cases. The main source of law in the country is the new constitution of October 1997. The legal system is based on civil law system. Thailand has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. Thai is the judicial language used in Thailand, though English is widely used. When under civilian rule, Thailand is largely ruled by law. Foreign nationals can normally expect impartial trial from the country’s judicial system. Official corruption is widespread in the country. It is also alleged that the nexus between politics and big business is strong and growing.


Major political parties

Thailand has a multi-party system. The major political parties in the country are:
- TRT (Thai Rak Thai Party) – has no clear ideological platform, but is commonly described as a ‘populist’ party;
- DP (Democratic Party) – the oldest party in the country, opposes any kind of military dictatorship, pro-democracy;
- TNP (Thai Nation Party) – a conservative nationalist party;
- Great People's Party – advocates left-wing ideology.


Major political leaders

King: PHUMIPHON Adunyadet (since June 1946) – hereditary
Interim Prime Minister: Surayud Chulanont – retired army General
On September 19, 2006, the military led by the army commander-in-chief, General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, seized power in a bloodless coup while the then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was attending the UN General Assembly. An interim constitution was introduced which gave army the power to hire and fire the government as well as the acting parliament. Retired General Surayud Chulanont was appointed as the interim Prime Minister. He will govern until elections which are expected in October 2007.


Next political election dates

Senate: April 2012
House of Representatives: Year 2011




Climate

 

 

 


Tourism


Number of visitors in Thailand 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 11,651 11,567 138,821 1
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005

 

Tourist sites
-In Bangkok: Wat Po (the oldest temple of Bangkok and the biggest convent of Thailand) and the Great Palace
-In Phuket: the Chinese and Buddhist temples.
-In the Northeast: the Khmer temples and the Thai silk manufacture.
-Islands and beaches located in the Bay of Thailand

For more information about tourism in Thailand , check out the following web site(s) :
Tourism Authority of Thailand



Food


Traditional dishes
Soups with roasted garlic: poultry soup, flavoured with garlic, ginger and soya sauce.
Chicken spiced up with Thai basil
Khao phad sapparod: rice with pineapple
Fried rice with chicken and basil.


Food-related taboos
Culinary taboos vary with the religion.

Last modified on December 2006

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