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Kingdom of Thailand Ratcha Anajak Thai is an independent
country that lies in the heart of Southeast Asia.
It is bordered to the north by Laos and Myanmar,
to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south
by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the
west by the Andaman Sea and Myanmar. By the maritime
boundary, the country is bordered to the southeast
by Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand, to the southwest
by Indonesia and India in the Andaman Sea.
The capital and largest city of Thailand is Bangkok.
It is also the country's center of political,
commercial, industrial and cultural activities.
Bangkok is known in Thai as "Krung Thep Mahanakorn,"
or, more colloquially, "Krung Thep",
meaning "City of Angels".
Thailand is the world's 51st-largest country in
terms of total area, roughly equal in size to
Spain, with a surface area of approximately 513,000
km2 (198,000 sq mi), and the 20th most-populous
country, with approximately 63 million people.
About 75% of the population is ethnically Thais,
14% is of Chinese origin, and 3% is ethnically
Malay, the rest belong to minority groups including
Mons, Khmers, and various hill tribes. The country's
official language is Thai.
Thailand is one of the most devoutly Buddhist
countries in the world. The national religion
is Theravada Buddhism which is practiced by more
than 95% of all Thais.The cultures and traditions
in Thailand are significantly influenced by those
of India, China and many western countries.
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy with King
Bhumibol Adulyadej, the ninth king of the House
of Chakri, as the ruling monarch. The King has
reigned for more than half a century, making him
the longest reigning Thai monarch and the longest
reigning current monarch in the world. The King
is recognized as the Head of State, the Head of
the Armed Forces, the Upholder of the Buddhist
religion, and Defender of the Faith. Thailand
is the only country in Southeast Asia that has
never been ruled by a European power. However,
during the Second World War, and while claiming
neutrality, Thailand was occupied by the armed
forces of the Empire of Japan who built the infamous
'Death Railway' using captured Allied Prisoners
of War and slave Asian labourers.
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