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Thailand :: East & Southeast Asia

Introduction

Background:

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 colonized by a European power. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy. In alliance with Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US treaty ally in 1954 after sending troops to Korea and later fighting alongside the US in Vietnam. Thailand since 2005 has experienced several rounds of political turmoil including a military coup in 2006 that ousted then Prime Minister THAKSIN Chinnawat, followed by large-scale street protests by competing political factions in 2008, 2009, and 2010. THAKSIN's youngest sister, YINGLAK Chinnawat, in 2011 led the Puea Thai Party to an electoral win and assumed control of the government. A blanket amnesty bill for individuals involved in street protests, altered at the last minute to include all political crimes - including all convictions against THAKSIN - triggered months of large-scale anti-government protests in Bangkok beginning in November 2013. In early May 2014 YINGLAK was removed from office by the Constitutional Court and in late May 2014 the Royal Thai Army staged a coup against the caretaker government. Then head of the Royal Thai Army, Gen. PRAYUT Chan-ocha, was appointed prime minister in August 2014. The interim military government created several interim institutions to promote reform and draft a new constitution. Elections are tentatively set for mid-2017. King PHUMIPHON Adunyadet passed away in October 2016 after 70 years on the throne; his only son, WACHIRALONGKON Bodinthrathepphayawarangkun, ascended the throne in December 2016. Thailand has also experienced violence associated with the ethno-nationalist insurgency in its southern Malay-Muslim majority provinces. Since January 2004, thousands have been killed and wounded in the insurgency.

Geography

Location:

Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma

Geographic coordinates:

15 00 N, 100 00 E

Map references:

Southeast Asia

Area:

total: 513,120 sq km
land: 510,890 sq km
water: 2,230 sq km

Area - comparative:

about three times the size of Florida; slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming

Land boundaries:

total: 5,673 km
border countries (4): Burma 2,416 km, Cambodia 817 km, Laos 1,845 km, Malaysia 595 km

Coastline:

3,219 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation

Climate:

tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid

Terrain:

central plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere

Elevation:

mean elevation: 287 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
highest point: Doi Inthanon 2,576 m

Natural resources:

tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite, arable land

Land use:

agricultural land: 41.2%
arable land 30.8%; permanent crops 8.8%; permanent pasture 1.6%
forest: 37.2%
other: 21.6% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land:

64,150 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards:

land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts

Environment - current issues:

air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note:

controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore

People and Society

Population:

68,200,824
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2016 est.)

Nationality:

noun: Thai (singular and plural)
adjective: Thai

Ethnic groups:

Thai 95.9%, Burmese 2%, other 1.3%, unspecified 0.9% (2010 est.)

Languages:

Thai (official) 90.7%, Burmese 1.3%, other 8%
note: English is a secondary language of the elite (2010 est.)

Religions:

Buddhist (official) 93.6%, Muslim 4.9%, Christian 1.2%, other 0.2%, none 0.1% (2010 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 17.18% (male 6,000,434/female 5,714,464)
15-24 years: 14.47% (male 5,030,930/female 4,839,931)
25-54 years: 46.5% (male 15,678,250/female 16,038,155)
55-64 years: 11.64% (male 3,728,028/female 4,208,624)
65 years and over: 10.21% (male 3,047,938/female 3,914,070) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios:

total dependency ratio: 39.2%
youth dependency ratio: 24.7%
elderly dependency ratio: 14.6%
potential support ratio: 6.9% (2015 est.)

Median age:

total: 37.2 years
male: 36.2 years
female: 38.2 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.32% (2016 est.)

Birth rate:

11.1 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate:

7.9 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Urbanization:

urban population: 50.4% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.97% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population:

BANGKOK (capital) 9.27 million; Samut Prakan 1.814 million (2015)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.89 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth:

23.3 (2009 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:

20 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 9.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 10.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.4 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 74.7 years
male: 71.5 years
female: 78 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.51 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate:

79.3% (2012)

Health expenditures:

6.5% of GDP (2014)

Physicians density:

0.39 physicians/1,000 population (2010)

Hospital bed density:

2.1 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source:

improved:
urban: 97.6% of population
rural: 98% of population
total: 97.8% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2.4% of population
rural: 2% of population
total: 2.2% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access:

improved:
urban: 89.9% of population
rural: 96.1% of population
total: 93% of population
unimproved:
urban: 10.1% of population
rural: 3.9% of population
total: 7% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

1.12% (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

438,100 (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

14,200 (2015 est.)

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria (2016)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate:

9.2% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:

9.2% (2012)

Education expenditures:

4.1% of GDP (2013)

Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96.7%
male: 96.6%
female: 96.7% (2015 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 14 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2013)

Child labor - children ages 5-14:

total number: 818,399
percentage: 8% (2006 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:

total: 3.4%
male: 2.8%
female: 4.4% (2013 est.)

Government

Country name:

conventional long form: Kingdom of Thailand
conventional short form: Thailand
local long form: Ratcha Anachak Thai
local short form: Prathet Thai
former: Siam
etymology: "Land of the Tai [People]"; the meaning of "tai" is uncertain, but may originally have meant "human beings" or "people"

Government type:

constitutional monarchy; note - interim military-affiliated government since May 2014

Capital:

name: Bangkok
geographic coordinates: 13 45 N, 100 31 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

76 provinces (changwat, singular and plural) and 1 municipality* (maha nakhon); Amnat Charoen, Ang Thong, Bueng Kan, Buriram, Chachoengsao, Chai Nat, Chaiyaphum, Chanthaburi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chon Buri, Chumphon, Kalasin, Kamphaeng Phet, Kanchanaburi, Khon Kaen, Krabi, Krung Thep* (Bangkok), Lampang, Lamphun, Loei, Lop Buri, Mae Hong Son, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nan, Narathiwat, Nong Bua Lamphu, Nong Khai, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Pattani, Phangnga, Phatthalung, Phayao, Phetchabun, Phetchaburi, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Phrae, Phuket, Prachin Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ranong, Ratchaburi, Rayong, Roi Et, Sa Kaeo, Sakon Nakhon, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Sara Buri, Satun, Sing Buri, Sisaket, Songkhla, Sukhothai, Suphan Buri, Surat Thani, Surin, Tak, Trang, Trat, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Uthai Thani, Uttaradit, Yala, Yasothon

Independence:

1238 (traditional founding date; never colonized)

National holiday:

Birthday of King PHUMIPHON (BHUMIBOL), 5 December (1927)

Constitution:

many previous; interim constitution - replacing the 2007 permanent constitution - signed by the king 22 July 2014; first draft of new constitution completed 17 April 2015, rejected by drafting committee 6 September 2015; final draft completed by new drafting committee 29 March 2016, passed by referendum 7 August 2016 (2016)

Legal system:

civil law system with common law influences

International law organization participation:

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship:

citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Thailand
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage:

18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:

chief of state: King WACHIRALONGKON Bodinthrathepphayawarangkun (since 1 December 2016); note - King PHUMIPHON Adunyadet, also spelled BHUMIBOL Adulyadej (since 9 June 1946) died 13 October 2016
head of government: Interim Prime Minister Gen. PRAYUT Chan-ocha (since 25 August 2014) Deputy Prime Ministers PRAWIT Wongsuwan, Gen. (since 31 August 2014), THANASAK Patimaprakon, Gen. (since 31 August 2014), WISSANU Kruea-ngam (since 31 August 2014), SOMKHIT Chatusiphithak (since 20 August 2015), PRACHIN Chantong, Air Chief Mar. (since 20 August 2015), NARONG Phiphatthanasai, Adm. (since 20 August 2015)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister, appointed by the king; a Privy Council advises the king
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch with a resolution of the National Legislative Assembly (as stated in the 2014 interim constitution)
note: Prime Minister YINGLAK Chinnawat, also spelled YINGLUCK Shinawatra, was removed from office on 7 May 2014 after the Constitutional Court ruled she illegally transferred a government official; Thai army declared martial law on 20 May 2014 followed by a coup on 22 May 2014

Legislative branch:

description: in transition; following the May 2014 military coup, a National Legislative Assembly or Sapha Nitibanyat of no more than 220 members replaced the bicameral National Assembly; expanded to 250 members in September 2016; elections for a permanent legislative body are currently unscheduled and probably will not occur until late 2017
elections: Senate - last held on 30 March 2014; House of Representatives - last held on 2 February 2014, but later declared invalid by the Constitutional Court
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA

Judicial branch:

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of court president, 6 vice-presidents, and 60-70 judges, and organized into 10 divisions); Constitutional Court (consists of court president and 8 judges); Supreme Administrative Court (number of judges determined by Judicial Commission of the Administrative Courts)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges selected by the Judicial Commission of the Courts of Justice and approved by the monarch; judge term determined by the monarch; Constitutional Court justices - 3 judges drawn from the Supreme Court, 2 judges drawn from the Administrative Court, and 4 judge candidates selected by the Selective Committee for Judges of the Constitutional Court and confirmed by the Senate; judges appointed by the monarch to serve single 9-year terms; Supreme Administrative Court judges selected by the Judicial Commission of the Administrative Courts and appointed by the monarch; judges appointed for life
subordinate courts: courts of first instance and appeals courts within both the judicial and administrative systems; military courts

Political parties and leaders:

Chat Patthana Party or CPN (National Development Party) [WANNARAT Channukun]
Chat Thai Phatthana Party or CTP (Thai Nation Development Party) [THEERA Wongsamut]
Mahachon Party or Mass Party [APHIRAT Sirinawin]
Matuphum Party (Motherland Party) [Gen. SONTHI Bunyaratkalin]
Phalang Chon Party (People Chonburi Power Party) [SONTHAYA Khunpluem]
Phumchai (Bhumjai) Thai Party or PJT (Thai Pride) [ANUTHIN Chanwirakun]
Prachathipat Party or DP (Democrat Party) [ABHISIT Wechachiwa, also spelled ABHISIT Vejjajiva]
Prachathipatai Mai Party (New Democracy Party) [SURATIN Phichan]
Puea Thai Party (For Thais Party) or PTP [acting leader VIROT Paoin]
Rak Prathet Thai Party (Love Thailand Party) [CHUWIT Kamonwisit]
Rak Santi Party (Peace Conservation Party) [Pol. Lt. Gen. THAWIN Surachetphong]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Multicolor Group
People's Democratic Reform Committee or PDRC
Student and People Network for Thailand's Reform or STR
United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship or UDD

International organization participation:

ADB, APEC, ARF, ASEAN, BIMSTEC, BIS, CD, CICA, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE (partner), PCA, PIF (partner), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMOGIP, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador PHISAN Manawaphat (since 23 February 2015)
chancery: 1024 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 401, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 944-3600
FAX: [1] (202) 944-3611
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Glyn T. DAVIES (since 27 November 2015)
embassy: 120-122 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330
mailing address: APO AP 96546
telephone: [66] (2) 205-4000
FAX: [66] (2) 254-2990, 205-4131
consulate(s) general: Chiang Mai

Flag description:

five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white, and red; the red color symbolizes the nation and the blood of life; white represents religion and the purity of Buddhism; blue stands for the monarchy
note: similar to the flag of Costa Rica but with the blue and red colors reversed

National symbol(s):

garuda (mythical half-man, half-bird figure), elephant; national colors: red, white, blue

National anthem:

name: "Phleng Chat Thai" (National Anthem of Thailand)
lyrics/music: Luang SARANUPRAPAN/Phra JENDURIYANG
note: music adopted 1932, lyrics adopted 1939; by law, people are required to stand for the national anthem at 0800 and 1800 every day; the anthem is played in schools, offices, theaters, and on television and radio during this time; "Phleng Sansoen Phra Barami" (A Salute to the Monarch) serves as the royal anthem and is played in the presence of the royal family and during certain state ceremonies

Economy

Economy - overview:

With a well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, and generally pro-investment policies, Thailand historically has had a strong economy, but it experienced slow growth in 2013-15 as a result of domestic political turmoil and sluggish global demand, which curbed Thailand’s traditionally strong exports - mostly electronics, agricultural commodities, automobiles and parts, and processed foods. Following the May 2014 coup d'etat, tourism decreased 6-7% but is beginning to recover. The Thai baht depreciated more than 8% during 2015.
Thailand faces labor shortages, and has attracted an estimated 2-4 million migrant workers from neighboring countries. The Thai Government in 2013 implemented a nationwide 300 baht (roughly $10) per day minimum wage policy and deployed new tax reforms designed to lower rates on middle-income earners. The household debt to GDP ratio is over 80%.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$1.161 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.125 trillion (2015 est.)
$1.094 trillion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$390.6 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

3.2% (2016 est.)
2.8% (2015 est.)
0.8% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$16,800 (2016 est.)
$16,300 (2015 est.)
$15,900 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving:

34.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
32% of GDP (2015 est.)
27.9% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use:

household consumption: 50.9%
government consumption: 17.9%
investment in fixed capital: 24.1%
investment in inventories: -1.4%
exports of goods and services: 65.4%
imports of goods and services: -56.9% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin:

agriculture: 8.9%
industry: 35.9%
services: 55.3% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products:

rice, cassava (manioc, tapioca), rubber, corn, sugarcane, coconuts, palm oil, pineapple, livestock, fish products

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, agricultural

Industrial production growth rate:

3.1% (2016 est.)

Labor force:

38.45 million (2016 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 32.2%
industry: 16.7%
services: 51.1% (2014 est.)

Unemployment rate:

0.9% (2016 est.)
0.9% (2015 est.)

Population below poverty line:

12.6% (2012 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 31.5% (2009 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

48.4 (2011)
49 (2009)

Budget:

revenues: $76.69 billion
expenditures: $86.94 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:

19.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

-2.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt:

50.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
46% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: data cover general government debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as i

Fiscal year:

1 October - 30 September

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

0.2% (2016 est.)
-0.9% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

2% (31 December 2014)
2.25% (31 December 2013)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

6.4% (31 December 2016 est.)
6.56% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$50.36 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$49.27 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money:

$517.4 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$524.8 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$501.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$486.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$348.8 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$430.4 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$354.4 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Current account balance:

$37.69 billion (2016 est.)
$30.99 billion (2015 est.)

Exports:

$190 billion (2016 est.)
$212.1 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities:

automobiles and parts, computer and parts, jewelry and precious stones, polymers of ethylene in primary forms, refine fuels, electronic integrated circuits, chemical products, rice, fish products, rubber products, sugar, cassava, poultry, machinery and pa

Exports - partners:

US 11.2%, China 11.1%, Japan 9.4%, Hong Kong 5.5%, Malaysia 4.8%, Australia 4.6%, Vietnam 4.2%, Singapore 4.1% (2015)

Imports:

$171.3 billion (2016 est.)
$177.5 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery and parts, crude oil, electrical machinery and parts, chemicals, iron & steel and product, electronic integrated circuit, automobile’s parts, jewelry including silver bars and gold, computers and parts, electrical household appliances, soybean,

Imports - partners:

China 20.3%, Japan 15.4%, US 6.9%, Malaysia 5.9%, UAE 4% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$181.4 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$156.5 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external:

$137.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$134.7 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

$190.6 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$186.1 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

$88.18 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$78.68 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Exchange rates:

baht per US dollar -
35.4 (2016 est.)
34.248 (2015 est.)
34.248 (2014 est.)
32.48 (2013 est.)
31.08 (2012 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production:

164 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption:

164 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports:

1.6 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - imports:

12 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity:

40 million kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels:

90.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels:

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants:

6.5% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources:

3.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production:

248,200 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports:

30,010 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports:

897,800 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves:

400 million bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production:

1.273 million bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption:

1.231 million bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports:

241,800 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports:

75,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production:

42.15 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

53.75 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports:

11.6 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

219.5 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy:

301 million Mt (2013 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines:

total subscriptions: 5.309 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 8 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

total: 84.797 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 125 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system:

general assessment: high quality system, especially in urban areas like Bangkok
domestic: fixed-line system provided by both a government-owned and commercial provider; wireless service expanding rapidly
international: country code - 66; connected to major submarine cable systems providing links throughout Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe, and US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean, 1 Pacific Ocean) (2015)

Broadcast media:

6 terrestrial TV stations in Bangkok broadcast nationally via relay stations - 2 of the networks are owned by the military, the other 4 are government-owned or controlled, leased to private enterprise, and all are required to broadcast government-produced (2008)

Internet country code:

.th

Internet users:

total: 26.726 million
percent of population: 39.3% (July 2015 est.)

Transportation

National air transport system:

number of registered air carriers: 19
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 276
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 54,259,629
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 2,134,149,001 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:

HS (2016)

Airports:

101 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 63
over 3,047 m: 8
2,438 to 3,047 m: 12
1,524 to 2,437 m: 23
914 to 1,523 m: 14
under 914 m: 6 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 38
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 10
under 914 m: 26 (2013)

Heliports:

7 (2013)

Pipelines:

condensate 2 km; gas 5,900 km; liquid petroleum gas 85 km; oil 1 km; refined products 1,097 km (2013)

Railways:

total: 4,070.8 km
standard gauge: 28.8 km 1.435-m gauge (28.8 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 4,042 km 1.000-m gauge (2014)

Roadways:

total: 180,053 km (includes 450 km of expressways) (2006)

Waterways:

4,000 km (3,701 km navigable by boats with drafts up to 0.9 m) (2011)

Merchant marine:

total: 363
by type: bulk carrier 31, cargo 99, chemical tanker 28, container 18, liquefied gas 36, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 10, petroleum tanker 114, refrigerated cargo 24, roll on/roll off 1, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 13 (China 1, Hong Kong 1, Malaysia 3, Singapore 1, Taiwan 1, UK 6)
registered in other countries: 46 (Bahamas 4, Belize 1, Honduras 2, Panama 6, Singapore 33) (2010)

Ports and terminals:

major seaport(s): Bangkok, Laem Chabang, Map Ta Phut, Prachuap Port, Si Racha
container port(s) TEUs): Bangkok (1,305,229), Laem Chabang (5,731,063)
LNG terminal(s) (import): Map Ta Phut

Military and Security

Military branches:

Royal Thai Army (Kongthap Bok Thai, RTA), Royal Thai Navy (Kongthap Ruea Thai, RTN, includes Royal Thai Marine Corps), Royal Thai Air Force (Kongthap Agard Thai, RTAF) (2013)

Military service age and obligation:

21 years of age for compulsory military service; 18 years of age for voluntary military service; males register at 18 years of age; 2-year conscript service obligation (2012)

Military expenditures:

1.5% of GDP (2013)
1.47% of GDP (2012)
1.6% of GDP (2011)
1.47% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:

separatist violence in Thailand's predominantly Malay-Muslim southern provinces prompt border closures and controls with Malaysia to stem insurgent activities; Southeast Asian states have enhanced border surveillance to check the spread of avian flu; talks continue on completion of demarcation with Laos but disputes remain over several islands in the Mekong River; despite continuing border committee talks, Thailand must deal with Karen and other ethnic rebels, refugees, and illegal cross-border activities; Cambodia and Thailand dispute sections of boundary; in 2011 Thailand and Cambodia resorted to arms in the dispute over the location of the boundary on the precipice surmounted by Preah Vihear temple ruins, awarded to Cambodia by ICJ decision in 1962 and part of a planned UN World Heritage site; Thailand is studying the feasibility of jointly constructing the Hatgyi Dam on the Salween river near the border with Burma; in 2004, international environmentalist pressure prompted China to halt construction of 13 dams on the Salween River that flows through China, Burma, and Thailand; 140,000 mostly Karen refugees fleeing civil strife, political upheaval and economic stagnation in Burma live in remote camps in Thailand near the border

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 106,349 (Burma) (2015)
IDPs: 35,000 (resurgence in ethno-nationalist violence in south of country since 2004) (2015)
stateless persons: 443,862 (2015); note - about half of Thailand's northern hill tribe people do not have citizenship and make up the bulk of Thailand's stateless population; most lack documentation showing they or one of their parents were born in Thailand; children born to Burmese refugees are not eligible for Burmese or Thai citizenship and are stateless; most Chao Lay, maritime nomadic peoples, who travel from island to island in the Andaman Sea west of Thailand are also stateless; stateless Rohingya refugees from Burma are considered illegal migrants by Thai authorities and are detained in inhumane conditions or expelled; stateless persons are denied access to voting, property, education, employment, healthcare, and driving
note: Thai nationality was granted to more than 18,000 stateless persons in the last 3 years (2015)

Trafficking in persons:

current situation: Thailand is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; victims from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, China, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, and India, migrate to Thailand in search of jobs but are forced, coerced, or defrauded into labor in commercial fishing, fishing-related industries, factories, domestic work, street begging, or the sex trade; some Thai, Burmese, Cambodian, and Indonesian men forced to work on fishing boats are kept at sea for years; sex trafficking of adults and children from Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Burma remains a significant problem; Thailand is a transit country for victims from China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Burma subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Russia, South Korea, the US, and countries in Western Europe; Thai victims are also trafficked in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Thailand does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, and is not making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, authorities investigated, prosecuted, and convicted fewer traffickers and identified fewer victims; some cases of official complicity were investigated and prosecuted, but trafficking-related corruption continues to hinder progress in combatting trafficking; authorities’ efforts to screen for victims among vulnerable populations remained inadequate due to a poor understanding of trafficking indicators, a failure to recognize non-physical forms of coercion, and a shortage of language interpreters; the government passed new labor laws increasing the minimum age in the fishing industry to 18 years old, guaranteeing the minimum wage, and requiring work contracts, but weak law enforcement and poor coordination among regulatory agencies enabled exploitive labor practices to continue; the government increased efforts to raise public awareness to the dangers of human trafficking and to deny entry to foreign sex tourists (2015)

Illicit drugs:

a minor producer of opium, heroin, and marijuana; transit point for illicit heroin en route to the international drug market from Burma and Laos; eradication efforts have reduced the area of cannabis cultivation and shifted some production to neighboring countries; opium poppy cultivation has been reduced by eradication efforts; also a drug money-laundering center; minor role in methamphetamine production for regional consumption; major consumer of methamphetamine since the 1990s despite a series of government crackdowns