The Kingdom of Thailand is located on the western side of the Indochina Peninsula. It faces the Andaman Sea and the Union of Myanmar to the west, Laos and Cambodia to the north and east, and Malaysia to the south.
Thailand’s four geographical regions make up a total area of 514,000 square kilometers. The mountainous northern region is endowed with natural resources as diverse as forest products, lignite, iron ore, fluoride, tin and gemstones. The northeastern region is a plateau in which cassava, maize, sugarcane, and kenaf are cultivated, and various mineral resources such as potash, rock salt, and copper are exploited. The central region is the most fertile land in the country where vast fields of rice, sugarcane and cassava are grown.
The southern peninsula is an isthmus abounding in tin, monazite, barite and gypsum, and encompassing the major rubber, coconut, coffee and palm oil plantations. The southern region also offers beautiful natural attractions, including the sea beaches and islands, which make tourism one of the major activities.
These four regions share the tropical climate of Southeast Asia. From November to February, the northeast monsoon winds bring cool months with temperatures as low as 13 C. A dry season, with temperatures up to 38 C, prevails from March to May. Then, during the humid months of June to October, the southwest monsoon brings the rains which are so vital to agriculture.
Thailand’s population in January 2009 was approximately 66 million. Bangkok is the largest metropolitan area, with a population of over 10 million. Of a labor force of nearly 38 million people, approximately 43 percent of the labor force is engaged in agriculture, 37 percent in services, and 20 percent in industry. The population of Thailand is relatively homogeneous and largely free of racial tension. Approximately 75 percent of the population are ethnic Thais, and almost 95 percent profess Buddhism. The Chinese form the larger minority community and have remarkably integrated into Thai society.
Thailand’s government is a constitutional monarchy which dates back to 1932 when King Rama VII abolished absolute monarchy. Since then, the country has had a series of constitutions that have refined that concept of a constitutional government, with the King as the Head of State. The executive powers of the King are exercised by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers; his legislative power, by the National Assembly; and his judicial powers by a judicial system composed of the Courts of First Instance, the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
Since 1971, Thailand’s government has experienced numerous changes. Throughout all the changes, policy has remained stable because the bureaucracy has attempted to help maintain continuity in policy formulation and implementation