Thailand Travel Information

Photo A unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century. Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. In alliance with Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US ally following the conflict.

PEOPLE

Thailand's population is relatively homogeneous. More than 85% speak a dialect of Thai and share a common culture. This core population includes the central Thai (33.7% of the population, including Bangkok), Northeastern Thai (34.2%), northern Thai (18.8%), and southern Thai (13.3%). The language of the central Thai population is the language taught in schools and used in government. Several other small Thai-speaking groups include the Shan, Lue, and Phutai.

HISTORY

Southeast Asia has been inhabited for more than half a million years. Recent archaeological studies suggest that by 4000 BC, communities in what is now Thailand had emerged as centers of early bronze metallurgy. This development, along with the cultivation of wet rice, provided the impetus for social and political organization. Research suggests that these innovations may actually have been transmitted from there to the rest of Asia, including to China.

ECONOMY

The Thai economy is export-dependent, with exports accounting for 60% of GDP. Thailand's recovery from the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis relied largely on external demand from the United States and other foreign markets. The Thaksin government took office in February 2001 with the intention of stimulating domestic demand and reducing.

U.S.-THAI RELATIONS

Since World War II, the United States and Thailand have developed close relations, as reflected in several bilateral treaties and by both countries' participation in UN multilateral activities and agreements. The principal bilateral arrangement is the 1966 Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations, which facilitates U.S. and Thai companies' economic access.

Important: Travel to Thailand may require a travel visa. Whether a visa is required for travel depends on citizenship and purpose of journey. Please be sure to review Travisa's Thailand visa instructions for details. Visa instructions for other countries are available on our do I need a visa page.

Country Statistics

Full country name: Kingdom of Thailand
Capital city: Bangkok
Area: 513,120 sq km
Population: 67,091,089
Ethnic groups: Thai 75%, Chinese 14%, other 11%
Languages: Thai, English
Religions: Buddhist
Government: constitutional monarchy
Chief of State: King PHUMIPHON Adunyadet, also spelled BHUMIBOL Adulyadej
Head of Government: Prime Minister YINGLAK Chinnawat, also spelled YINGLUCK Shinawatra
GDP: 602.2 billion
GDP per captia: 9,400
Annual growth rate: 0.1%
Inflation: 3.8%
Agriculture: rice, cassava
Major industries: tourism, textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing such as jewelry and electric appliances, computers and parts, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics, automobiles and automotive parts
Natural resources: tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite, arable land
Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma
Trade Partners - exports: China 12%, Japan 10.5%, US 9.6%, Hong Kong 7.2%, Malaysia 5.4%, Singapore 5%, Indonesia 4.4%
Trade Partners - imports: Japan 18.4%, China 13.4%, UAE 6.3%, US 5.9%, Malaysia 5.4%, South Korea 4%