Thailand is a country on Southeast Asia’s Indochina peninsula. The Kingdom of Thailand share borders with Myanmar to the West and North, and Laos to the North and Northeast, Cambodia to the East, and Malaysia to the South. It is divided into 4 distinct natural regions: the mountains and forests of the North; the vast rice fields of the Central Plains; and semi-arid farm lands of the Northeast plateau; and the tropical islands and long coastline of the peninsula South. It has 77 provinces that are further divided into districts, sub-districts and villages with Bangkok as the capital city and centre of political, commercial, industrial and cultural activities.Population
Thailand has a population of 67 million. Its population is largely rural, concentrated in the rice-growing areas of the central, northeastern, and northern regions. Thailand has an urban population of 48.4%, concentrated mostly in and around the Bangkok Metropolitan Area. Thai nationals make up the majority (96%) of Thailand's population.
The Thailand climate is controlled by tropical monsoons and the weather in Thailand is generally hot and humid across most of the country throughout most of the year. While Thailand’s seasons are generally divided into the hot season, cool season, and rainy season, in reality it’s relatively hot most of the year. The weather in central, northern, and northeastern Thailand (the landlocked provinces) is determined by three seasons: the hot season (March to April), the rainy season (May to October) and the cool season (November to February) whereas the southern, coastal regions of Thailand feature only two: the wet season (April to October for the west coast and September to December for the east coast) and the dry season. Average temperatures, in Bangkok, ranging between 25 °C in December to 36 °C in April.
The main language spoken is Thai. However, English is widely understood, particularly in Bangkok where it is almost the second commercial language. English is spoken in most hotels, shops, and restaurants, in major tourist destinations, and Thai/English road and street signs are found nationwide. Currency The Thai unit of currency is the Baht. One US dollar is approx. 35 Baht. One Euro is approx. 39 Baht. One British pound is approx. 46 Baht. (as of August, 2016)
Time in Thailand is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+7).
Thailand was one of the countries hardest hit by the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami. Due to proximity of the Andaman coasts of Thailand situated just approximately 500 km east of the earthquake epicentre, the tsunami took just 2 hours to reach and strike the western coastline of the country. The Thai government reported 4,812 confirmed deaths, 8,457 injuries, and 4,499 missing after the country was hit by a tsunami caused by the Indian Ocean earthquake on the 26 of December 2004. The Thai authorities estimate that at least 8,150 are likely to have died.
The economic impact of the tsunami on Thailand was considerable, though not as great as in poorer countries such as Indonesia or Sri Lanka. Thailand of mild econism has a liberalised, flexible and robust economy, which has shown powers of rapid recuperation after previous setbacks. The sectors most badly damaged have been tourism and fishing. The beach resorts along the Andaman Sea coast have been extensively damaged. Many Thai-owned hotels and other small businesses have been ruined, and the Thai government provided large amounts of capital to enable the recovery of the private sector.
The confidence of European tourists in travelling to places such as Phuket also took some time to recover, which is one reason why Thailand has strongly backed the installed tsunami warning system. Thousands of Thais dependent on tourism-related industries have lost their jobs, not just in the south but also in the poorest part of Thailand, Isan in the north-east, where many workers in the tourism industry come from. By 12 January some of the affected resorts in the south had re-opened, and the Thai government had begun an advertising campaign to bring visitors back to the area as quickly as possible, though everyone knew it would be quite a while before Thailand was in a state of normalcy, professionals guessed around ten years.
The fishing industry has been damaged by the extensive destruction of fishing boats and tackle, which individual fishing families couldn't afford to replace, particularly since many have lost their homes as well. According to one report, more than 500 fishing boats and ten trawlers have been destroyed, as
well as many piers, boatsheds and fish-processing facilities. Again, grants or loans from the government have been essential to enable the industry to re-equip itself. In the long run the tsunami disaster has brought considerable benefits to Thailand, especially the southern tourist areas. European governments have pledged large sums of money to rebuild infrastructure and to fund new schools and orphanages for the Thai communities affected, as a gesture of thanks for the assistance given to their citizens by the Thai people. The destruction of many second-rate structures along the beaches have provided opportunities to rebuild popular tourist areas such as Patong Beach at Phuket in a more aesthetically and environmentally suitable way.
Thailand is one of the many countries in the world that has a tropical climate. Monsoons are normal during the rainy months and, because of this, floods are common throughout Thailand. Cities like Chiang Mai have had severe floods in the last few years. Bangkok also experienced severe floods, particularly the one that occurred during the 2011 monsoon season.
The 2011 flooding began at the end of July and soon spread through the provinces in the North, Northeast, and Cethailntral Thailand along the Mekong and Chao Phraya river basins. In October, it reached the mouth of the Chao Phraya and inundated parts of the capital city of Bangkok. Flooding persisted in some areas until January 2012 and resulted in a total of 815 deaths (with 3 missing) and 13.6 million people affected. Sixty-five of Thailand’s 77 provinces were declared flood disaster zones, and over 20,000 square kilometres of farmland was damaged.
The disaster has been described as “the worst flooding yet in terms of the amount of water and people affected”. The World Bank has estimated 45.7 billion US dollars in economic damages and losses due to
flooding (as of December 2011). Most of this was due to the manufacturing industry, as 7 major industrial estates were inundated in water as much as 3 metres deep during the floods. Disruptions to manufacturing supply chains affected regional automobile production and caused a global shortage of hard disk drives which lasted throughout 2012. In addition, the World Bank had ranked this disaster (as of 2011) as the world’s fourth costliest disaster surpassed only by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, 1995 Kobe earthquake, and 2005 Katrina Hurricane.
Thailand sits on the Eurasian tectonic plate, which is flanked by the Indo-Australian and Pacific plates. While the country is located in a region that is relatively safe from earthquakes, but historical records show that the area has previously been affected by a number of tremors. A survey conducted by the Department of Mineral Resources revealed 14 groups of active faults spread across 22 provinces in Thailand as of March 2012.
The 2014 Mae Lao earthquake occurred in May. The epicenter was located at a point 9 km south of Mae Lao District, 27 km southwest of Chiang Rai Province, Thailand. Although only one person was killed, it was the strongest earthquake ever recorded in Thailand.
In Bangkok, tall buildings swayed as the earthquake occurred. Tremors were felt as far away as in Yangon, Myanmar. Approximately one hundred repeated aftershocks were reported by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center. Occasionally, Thailand has been affected and felted by the earthquakes epicenter in Myanmar, especially in tall buildings in Chiang Mai and Bangkok.
Thailand also experience droughts, particularly inthe North and Northeast of Thailand. According to data from the Land Development Department, areas of permanent droughts in Thailand still covers as much as 40% of total agricultural areas, suggesting that apart from the decline in rainfall, there are the other factors that contribute importantly to droughts in Thailand as well, such as water consumption behaviors, agricultural and industrial land development, and population growth.
To make matters worse, in 2014 and 2015, annual accumulated rainfall in Thailand dipped below the 30-year average (1981-2010) for two consecutive years, causing a significant depletion of water supply across various reservoirs in 2016.