Archaeologist studied unearthed bronze utensils and dated civilization in Thailand back to 3600 B.C. The study places the country as one of the earliest civilization known in the world. The history on stone scriptures was recorded in the 13th Century when King Intradit established Sukotai as the capital of the Thai Kingdom.
With the respect commanded by the Monarchy and Buddhism act as symbols of unity, enabling the country to develop and maintain a homogeneous culture. The king acts as the Head of State and the Protector of Buddhism, the national religion, which is followed by 94% of the Thai whereas 6% is mixed of other religions.
Thailand is situated in mainland Southeast Asia in the Central Pacific Basin . It is bounded by Malaysia to the south, Laos and Cambodia to the northeast, and Myanmar to the west and north. Its shape on the map has been likened to the head of an elephant, with its trunk extending down the Malay peninsula. The center of Thailand, Bangkok, is at about 14’ north latitude, putting it on a level with Madras, Manila,Guatemala and Khartoum. The country’s longest north-south distance is about 1860 km. Central Thailand is a vast fertile plain; the north is mountainous (with peaks reaching 2,000 meters); the northeast is semiarid; and the south is tropical.
Average temperature is ranging from 29.5 C to 38 C (85 F to 100 F) . The hottest and coolest months are in April and January respectively. The official seasons are classified into summer (March to May), rainy (June to October) and winter (November to February).
Thailand covers 517,000 square kilometers of land mass and its coastlines stretches to a total distance of 2,400 kilometers, making it slightly smaller than the state of Texas in the USA, or about the size of France. The population of Thailand is about 62 million and its currently growing at a rate of 1-1.5% per annum. About 75% of citizens are ethnic Thais, who can divided into the central Thais, the Thai Lao of North-Eastern Thailand, the Thai Pak Tai of Southern Thailand, and the Northern Thais. Each group speaks its own Thai dialect and to a certain extent practises customs unique to its region. People of Chinese ancestry make up 11% of the population, most of whom are second or third-generation Hakka, Chao Zhou, Hainanese or Cantonese.
Bangkok is the commercial hub of the nation with all governmental offices and business and industrial headquarters heavily clustered in the inner city. Centers of transportation and communications are also located within. Population in Bangkok is growing rapidly toward 8 millions figure as more people are moving in to look for works. Like many capital cities, it suffers from traffic congestion. During the rainy season, parts of it are also flooded.
Thailand’s north-east has the lowest inflation rate and cost of living. This region is poorer than the rest of the country. In the South the economy is kept fairly stable with fishing, tin mining, palm-oil and rubber production. Central Thailand grows fruit, sugar cane and rice for country consumption and export. Northern Thailand produces tea, maize, various fruits and flowers. Raw average per capita income by 2000 was usd1949 per year and economy is growing at a rate of 4.5 per annum. The minimum daily wage in Bangkok and surroundings provinces is usd4.05 (local currency baht162).
Thailand, like all countries with very high population densities, has put enormous pressure on the ecosystems within its borders. Fifty years ago the countryside was around 70% of the natural forest ; as of 2000 an estimated 20% of the natural forest cover remained. In response to environmental degradation the Thai government has created a large number of protected parks, reserves and sanctuaries since the 1970s, and has enacted legislation to protect specific plant and animal species. The government hopes to raise the total forest cover to 40% by the middle of this century. Marine resources are also threatened by a lack of long-range conservation goals. The upper portion of the Gulf of Thailand, between Rayong and Prachuap Khiri Khan, was once one of the most fertile marine areas in the world. Now it is virtually dead due to overfishing and the release of mainland pollutants. One encouraging move by the Thai Government was the passing of the 1992 environmental Act, which provides for environmental quality standards and the establishment of national authority to designate conservation and pollution control areas.
Government and its involvement economy
The country is ruled by an elected civilian coalition government, with strong, bureaucratic government and military institutions. Thailand has been a Constitutional Monarchy since 1928.
Government keeps its intervention in industry and commerce to a minimal level. Government’s major roles are to subsidize and provide necessary infrastructure and education to accommodate growth of business sectors. In fact, the Government has maintained an open policy for private sector participation in the development of the country’s major infrastructure projects.
The export and import data of pre-last and last fiscal years are summerized below:
|Top 10 Countries||Amount in Million Baht|
|(FY 2000/01)||(First seven month of 2001/02)|
Baht, the official currency, is internationally accepted and traded with other major currencies. It is strongly weighed to the US dollar (Exchange rate about Baht 40.00 to 1 US dollar).
Transportation and Communication
AIRPORT: Over fifty international carriers transit at the Bangkok International Airport. Local citizens or tourists can easily arrange flights or connections to almost anyplace in the world. Thai Airways International, a national carrier offers flights from Bangkok to 71 cities in 36 countries. Local services are also provided to 23 domestic airports and five neighboring countries: Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. Other domestic international airports are located at Chiangmai. Phuket,and Hat Yai.
SEAPORTS: port of Bangkok (Klongtoey Harbor) is the country’s major port, capable of handling vessels up to 10,000 gross tons. Deep sea ports such as Laem Chabeng and Map Ta Phut will become eminent in near future as their full potential have yet to be realized.
RAILWAYS: The railway system of Thailand was developed in the reign of King Rama the fifth and expanded later to link the whole country together. At present a total of 4,500 kilometers of railway tracks connect the principal cities in Thailand, and rail links have been established with neighboring countries including Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. More importantly, railways plays crucial parts in International transportation as there are daily services from Bangkok to Laem Chabang Eastern Seaport, the most sophisticated and modernized seaport of Thailand.