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East & Southeast Asia :: THAILAND Page last updated on May 03, 2018 The World Factbook East & Southeast Asia ::THAILAND 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 The World Factbook East & Southeast Asia ::THAILAND View 68 photos of
THAILAND The World Factbook East & Southeast Asia ::THAILAND 1 / 68 Caption

View of the Bangkok skyline from the Chao Phraya River.

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Fishing boats on the Chao Phraya River with the skyline of Bangkok in the background.

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Bhumibol Bridge over the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok.

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Detail of one of the support arches of the Bhumibol Bridge over the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok.

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Sleek and colorful boats along a Bangkok canal.

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A Bangkok ferry.

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The Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) in Bangkok is the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand.

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A Yaksha demon guards the Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) in the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

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Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) in Bangkok.

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Statuary at the Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) in Bangkok.

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A golden Asura Paksi (half bird, half demon) at Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) in Bangkok.

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A mythological giant supports a golden chedi at the Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) in Bangkok.

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Buddhist offerings at Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) in Bangkok.

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View of the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

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View within the Grand Palace in Bangkok showing the golden Phra Siratana Chedi. A chedi, or stupa, is a mound-like reliquary containing Buddhist relics. The chedi is on the grounds of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

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The Grand Palace is a complex of buildings in central Bangkok on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Construction of the Grand Palace began in 1782 and it served as the official residence of the king and the royal family until 1925. It is still used for official events. Several royal offices are housed on the palace grounds. This view shows Phra Mondop, the royal library.

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Phra Mondop (library) at the Royal Palace.

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Prasat Phra Debidorn on the left and Phra Mondop (library) on the right at the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

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Head of a mythological giant at one of the exits at the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

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The Grand Palace is a complex of buildings in central Bangkok on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Construction of the Grand Palace began in 1782 and it served as the official residence of the king and the royal family until 1925. It is still used for official events. Several royal offices are housed on the palace grounds. Shown in this view is the amazingly detailed floral roof of Chakri Maha Prasat Hall.

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A roof detail from the Royal Palace in Bangkok.

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Decorated building in the Grand Palace Complex in Bangkok.

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At the Grand Palace in Bangkok; the Palace complex features brightly colored buildings, golden spires, and glittering mosaics. This close-up highlights the widespread and effective use of mirrored tiles in the construction process.

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View within the Grand Palace in Bangkok showing the golden Phra Siratana Chedi. A chedi, or stupa, is a mound-like reliquary containing Buddhist relics. The chedi is on the grounds of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

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View within the Grand Palace in Bangkok showing the golden Phra Siratana Chedi. A chedi, or stupa, is a mound-like reliquary containing Buddhist relics. The chedi is on the grounds of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

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Phra Thian Sanam Chan is a traditional Thai pavilion with a raised platform. Originally portable, it was given a marble base in 1963. It is on the grounds of the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

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The Loha Prasat - a multi-tiered (36 m high) structure with 37 spires signifying the 37 virtues toward enlightenment - at the Wat Ratchanaddaram temple complex in Bangkok.

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A Buddhist altar in Bangkok.

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Traditional Thai dancer performing at the Silom Village Trade Center in Bangkok.

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Traditional Thai dancer performing at the Silom Village Trade Center in Bangkok.

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The new Traimit Witthayaram Temple (Wat Traimit) in Bangkok built in 2010 to house the Sukhotahai Traimit Golden Buddha. It replaced a temple that had housed the Golden Buddha since 1955.

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The Suhhthai Traimit Golden Buddha image is the largest Golden Buddha image in the world. Made of pure gold, it is 3 m (9.8 ft) tall and weighs 5.5 tons. The Buddha was probably constructed in the 13th or 14th centuries. At some point it was covered in plaster and painted to prevent its theft. Its origins were forgotten and it was brought to Bangkok from a ruined temple in Ayutthaya in the early 19th century. In 1955, the Buddha was dropped while being moved and part of its plaster covering broke revealing the gold underneath. In 2010, a new building was erected at the Wat Traimit Temple to house the Golden Buddha, which is valued at close to $300 million dollars.

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33 / 68 Caption

The Suhhthai Traimit Golden Buddha image is the largest Golden Buddha image in the world. Made of pure gold, it is 3 m (9.8 ft) tall and weighs 5.5 tons. The Buddha was probably constructed in the 13th or 14th centuries. At some point it was covered in plaster and painted to prevent its theft. Its origins were forgotten and it was brought to Bangkok from a ruined temple in Ayutthaya in the early 19th century. In 1955, the Buddha was dropped while being moved and part of its plaster covering broke revealing the gold underneath. In 2010, a new building was erected at the Wat Traimit Temple to house the Golden Buddha, which is valued at close to $300 million dollars.

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The Prasart Museum in Bangkok houses the extensive private collection of historic Thai culture amassed by a wealthy Thai businessman. The museum features a collection of buildings from various parts of Thailand placed along pathways in a Garden of Serenity. It also has an extensive art collection, including various images of Buddha, Thai paintings, porcelain, pottery, gold, silver, and Chinese and Thai furnishings. Shown here is a pathway in the Garden of Serenity on the museum grounds; a chapel appears in the background.

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Shrine on a pathway in the Garden of Serenity at the Prasart Museum in Bangkok.

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Buddha in one of the chapels on the grounds of the Prasart Museum in Bangkok.

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A chapel in the Burmese style in the Garden of Serenity on the grounds of the Prasart Museum in Bangkok.

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Statues of monks in the Prasart Museum in Bangkok. Monks can be found in many Buddhist temples.

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A statue of Thai King Rama IV in Lumphini Park, Bangkok.

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A shrine to Thai King Rama IV in Lumphini Park, Bangkok.

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A spirit house in front of Central World Plaza, Bangkok.

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A sculpture depicting the Churning of the Sea of Milk in Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok.

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A view of downtown Bangkok from the roof of the Chateau de Bangkok Hotel.

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A view of downtown Bangkok from the roof of the Chateau de Bangkok Hotel.

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A view of downtown Bangkok from the roof of the Chateau de Bangkok Hotel.

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A spirit house in front of the Chateau de Bangkok Hotel.

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Standing Buddha at Wat (Temple) Ubtgarawugan in Bangkok.

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Barom Piman Hall is a neoclassical residence in Bangkok constructed between 1897 and 1903. The exterior is Western, but the interior is entirely Thai. The structure was sometimes used as a royal residence, but it is now the official guest house for visiting heads of state and their staffs.

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Gateway at Wat Pho in Bangkok.

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Guardian figures at the Wat Pho in Bangkok.

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Wat Pho in Bangkok.

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Courtyard at Wat Pho in Bangkok.

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Head of the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho in Bangkok.

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Waterfront property on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok.

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Canal view in Bangkok.

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Antiquities on sale at a marketplace in Bangkok.

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A water lily in Bangkok.

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Wat Surhatt in Bangkok.

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A spirit house in Bangkok.

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Burma Railway bridge over the Khwae Yai River at Kanchanaburi (the original "Bridge Over the River Kwai").

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Cemetery at Kanchanaburi of some of the World War II POWs who died constructing the Burma Railway bridge over the Khwae Yai River ("The Bridge Over the River Kwai").

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Ayutthaya Buddha head lodged in tree.

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Chiang Mai is the capital of Chiang Mai Province. The city is considering applying for UNESCO Creative City status and is vying with two other cities in Thailand to host the 2020 World Expo.

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Buddahs saying "sawatdee" or hello in Chiang Mai, which has over 300 Buddhist temples.

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Monkey retrieving coconuts on Ko Samui, an island in the Gulf of Thailand off the East Coast of the Kra Isthmus. Ko Samui is Thailand's third largest island with a population of 62,000; it attracts 1.5 million visitors annually, who are drawn to its pleasant climate and sandy beaches.

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Riding elephants on the island of Ko Samui.

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Wat Phra Yai (Big Buddha Temple) in the town of Buphut on the island of Ko Samui. The statue is 12 meters (39 ft) tall. Visitors must ascend and descend the stone stairs without shoes.

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Na Muang Waterfall on Ko Samui. The water cascades some 30 meters (98 ft) down purple-hued rocks.

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Previous Next The World Factbook East & Southeast Asia ::THAILAND
  • Introduction :: THAILAND

  • 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. After the Japanese invaded Thailand in 1941, the government split into a pro-Japan faction and a pro-Ally faction backed by the King. Following the war, 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 Shinawatra, 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. In early May 2014, after months of large-scale anti-government protests in Bangkok beginning in November 2013, YINGLAK was removed from office by the Constitutional Court and in late May 2014 the Royal Thai Army, led by Royal Thai Army Gen. PRAYUT Chan-ocha, staged a coup against the caretaker government. PRAYUT was appointed prime minister in August 2014. The interim military government created several interim institutions to promote reform and draft a new constitution, which was passed in a national referendum in August 2016. In late 2017, PRAYUT announced elections would be held by November 2018; he has subsequently suggested they might occur in February 2019. 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. He signed the new constitution in April 2017. 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 :: THAILAND

  • 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 country comparison to the world: 52 Area - comparative: about three times the size of Florida; slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming Area comparison map: The World Factbook East & Southeast Asia ::THAILAND Area Comparison 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 2,565 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) Population - distribution: highest population density is found in and around Bangkok; significant population clusters found throughout large parts of the country, particularly north and northeast of Bangkok and in the extreme southern region of the country 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; ideas for the construction of a canal across the Kra Isthmus that would create a bypass to the Strait of Malacca and shorten shipping times around Asia continue to be discussed
  • People and Society :: THAILAND

  • Population: 68,414,135 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 2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 20 Nationality: noun: Thai (singular and plural) adjective: Thai Ethnic groups: Thai 97.5%, Burmese 1.3%, other 1.1%, unspecified <.1% (2015 est.) Languages: Thai (official) 90.7%, Burmese 1.3%, other 8% note: English is a secondary language of the elite (2010 est.) Religions: Buddhist 94.6%, Muslim 4.3%, Christian 1%, other <.1%, none <.1% (2015 est.) Age structure: 0-14 years: 16.93% (male 5,933,269/female 5,649,864) 15-24 years: 14.17% (male 4,943,583/female 4,752,038) 25-54 years: 46.32% (male 15,677,322/female 16,009,399) 55-64 years: 12% (male 3,851,575/female 4,358,837) 65 years and over: 10.58% (male 3,165,799/female 4,072,449) (2017 est.) population pyramid: The World Factbook East & Southeast Asia ::THAILAND Population Pyramid A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends.

    For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page under the References tab. Dependency ratios: total dependency ratio: 40 youth dependency ratio: 25.2 elderly dependency ratio: 14.8 potential support ratio: 6.8 (2015 est.) Median age: total: 37.7 years male: 36.6 years female: 38.7 years (2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 65 Population growth rate: 0.3% (2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 171 Birth rate: 11 births/1,000 population (2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 179 Death rate: 8 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 91 Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 98 Population distribution: highest population density is found in and around Bangkok; significant population clusters found througout large parts of the country, particularly north and northeast of Bangkok and in the extreme southern region of the country Urbanization: urban population: 52.7% of total population (2017) rate of urbanization: 2.2% annual rate of change (2015-20 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 (2017 est.) Mother's mean age at first birth: 23.3 years (2009 est.) Maternal mortality ratio: 20 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 129 Infant mortality rate: total: 9.2 deaths/1,000 live births male: 10.1 deaths/1,000 live births female: 8.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 146 Life expectancy at birth: total population: 74.9 years male: 71.7 years female: 78.3 years (2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 116 Total fertility rate: 1.52 children born/woman (2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 194 Contraceptive prevalence rate: 79.3% (2012) Health expenditures: 6.5% of GDP (2014) country comparison to the world: 92 Physicians density: 0.47 physicians/1,000 population (2015) 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: 1.1% (2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 40 HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 450,000 (2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 16 HIV/AIDS - deaths: 16,000 (2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 16 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: 10% (2016) country comparison to the world: 140 Children under the age of 5 years underweight: 9.2% (2012) country comparison to the world: 71 Education expenditures: 4.1% of GDP (2013) country comparison to the world: 47 Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 92.9% male: 94.7% female: 91.2% (2015 est.) School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 16 years male: 16 years female: 16 years (2015) Unemployment, youth ages 15-24: total: 0.9% male: 0.8% female: 1.1% (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 159
  • Government :: THAILAND

  • 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," "people," or "free 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, Buri Ram, 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, Saraburi, Satun, Sing Buri, Si Sa Ket, 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 WACHIRALONGKON, 28 July (1952) Constitution: history: many previous; latest completed 29 March 2016, approved by referendum 7 August 2016, signed into law by the king 6 April 2017 amendments: proposed as a joint resolution by the Council of Ministers and the National Council for Peace and Order (the junta that has ruled Thailand since the 2014 coup) and submitted as a draft to the National Legislative Assembly; passage requires majority vote of the existing Assembly members and presentation to the monarch for assent and countersignature by the prime minister (2017) 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, also spelled Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun (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), WISSANU Kruea-ngam (since 31 August 2014), SOMKHIT Chatusiphithak (since 20 August 2015), PRACHIN Chantong, Air Chief Mar. (since 20 August 2015), CHATCHAI Sarikan, Gen. (since 23 November 2017) 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; the House of Representatives approves a person for Prime Minister who must then be appointed by the King (as stated in the transitory provision of the 2017 constitution); the office of prime minister can be held for up to a total of 8 years note: Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha was appointed interim prime minister in August 2014, three months after he staged the coup that removed the previously elected government of Prime Minister YINGLAK Chinnawat Legislative branch: description: in transition; following the May 2014 military coup, a junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly or Sapha Nitibanyat Haeng Chat of no more than 220 members replaced the bicameral National Assembly; expanded to 250 members in September 2016; elections for a permanent legislative body were announced for November 2018; the 2017 constitution calls for a 250-member military-appointed Senate with 5-year terms and a 500-member elected House of Representatives with 4-year terms elections: Senate - last held on 30 March 2014 but invalidated by the coup (in future, members will be appointed); House of Representatives - last held on 2 February 2014 but later declared invalid by the Constitutional Court (next to be held no later than February 2019) 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: note: as of 5 April 2018, 98 new parties applied to be registered with the Election Commission, in accordance with the provisions of the new organic law on political parties Chat Thai Phatthana Party or CTP (Thai Nation Development Party) Phumchai (Bhumjai) Thai Party or PJT (Thai Pride) [ANUTHIN Chanwirakun] Puea Thai Party (For Thais Party) or PTP [acting leader WIROT Paoin] Prachathipat Party or DP (Democrat Party) [ABHISIT Wechachiwa, also spelled ABHISIT Vejjajiva] Political pressure groups and leaders: Democracy Restoration Group (formerly the New Democracy Movement) People's Democratic Reform Committee or PDRC 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 (vacant); Charge d'Affaires PHATTHARAWAN Wetchasat (since 27 October 2017) 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 28 November 2015) embassy: 95 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 Sanlasoen 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 :: THAILAND

  • Economy - overview: With a relatively well-developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, and generally pro-investment policies, Thailand is highly dependent on international trade, with exports accounting for about two-thirds of GDP. Thailand’s exports include electronics, agricultural commodities, automobiles and parts, and processed foods. The industry and service sectors produce about 90% of GDP. The agricultural sector, comprised mostly of small-scale farms, contributes only 10% of GDP but employs about one-third of the labor force. Thailand has attracted an estimated 3.0-4.5 million migrant workers, mostly from neighboring countries. Over the last few decades, Thailand has reduced poverty substantially. In 2013, the Thai Government 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. Thailand’s economy is recovering from slow growth during the years since the 2014 coup. Thailand’s economic fundamentals are sound, with low inflation, low unemployment, and reasonable public and external debt levels. Tourism and government spending - mostly on infrastructure and short-term stimulus measures – have helped to boost the economy, and The Bank of Thailand has been supportive, with several interest rate reductions. Over the longer-term, household debt levels, political uncertainty, and an aging population pose risks to growth. GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.229 trillion (2017 est.) $1.185 trillion (2016 est.) $1.148 trillion (2015 est.) note: data are in 2017 dollars country comparison to the world: 21 GDP (official exchange rate): $437.8 billion (2017 est.) GDP - real growth rate: 3.7% (2017 est.) 3.2% (2016 est.) 2.9% (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 84 GDP - per capita (PPP): $17,800 (2017 est.) $17,200 (2016 est.) $16,700 (2015 est.) note: data are in 2017 dollars country comparison to the world: 97 Gross national saving: 32.8% of GDP (2017 est.) 33.5% of GDP (2016 est.) 30.3% of GDP (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 19 GDP - composition, by end use: household consumption: 50.1% government consumption: 17% investment in fixed capital: 24.2% investment in inventories: -7% exports of goods and services: 70.4% imports of goods and services: -54.7% (2017 est.) GDP - composition, by sector of origin: agriculture: 8.2% industry: 36.2% services: 55.6% (2017 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 machinery, air conditioning and refrigeration, ceramics, aluminum, chemical, environmental management, glass, granite and marble, leather, machinery and metal work, petrochemical, petroleum refining, pharmaceuticals, printing, pulp and paper, rubber, sugar, rice, fishing, cassava, world's second-largest tungsten producer and third-largest tin producer Industrial production growth rate: 3.6% (2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 79 Labor force: 38.37 million (2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 17 Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 31.8% industry: 16.7% services: 51.5% (2015 est.) Unemployment rate: 0.7% (2017 est.) 0.8% (2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 4 Population below poverty line: 7.2% (2015 est.) Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.8% highest 10%: 31.5% (2009 est.) Distribution of family income - Gini index: 44.5 (2015 est.) 48.4 (2011 est.) country comparison to the world: 44 Budget: revenues: $79.6 billion expenditures: $90.56 billion (2017 est.) Taxes and other revenues: 18.2% of GDP (2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 166 Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-): -2.5% of GDP (2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 99 Public debt: 44.1% of GDP (2017 est.) 41.2% of GDP (2016 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 intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are sold at public auctions country comparison to the world: 121 Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.6% (2017 est.) 0.2% (2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 21 Central bank discount rate: 1.5% (31 December 2016 est.) 1.5% (31 December 2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 121 Commercial bank prime lending rate: 6.2% (31 December 2017 est.) 6.31% (31 December 2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 125 Stock of narrow money: $56.36 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $52.03 billion (31 December 2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 51 Stock of broad money: $546.1 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $510.4 billion (31 December 2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 22 Stock of domestic credit: $537.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $507.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 26 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.) country comparison to the world: 28 Current account balance: $44 billion (2017 est.) $46.83 billion (2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 11 Exports: $228.2 billion (2017 est.) $214.3 billion (2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 23 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 parts, iron and steel and their products Exports - partners: US 11.4%, China 11.1%, Japan 9.6%, Hong Kong 5.3%, Australia 4.8%, Malaysia 4.5%, Vietnam 4.4% (2016) Imports: $190 billion (2017 est.) $177.7 billion (2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 26 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, soybean meal, wheat, cotton, dairy products Imports - partners: China 21.6%, Japan 15.8%, US 6.2%, Malaysia 5.6% (2016) Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $193.5 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $171.9 billion (31 December 2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 13 Debt - external: $135.5 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $130.6 billion (31 December 2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 44 Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $205.5 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $193.5 billion (31 December 2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 30 Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $112.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.) $96.27 billion (31 December 2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 34 Exchange rates: baht per US dollar - 34.34 (2017 est.) 35.3 (2016 est.) 35.3 (2015 est.) 34.25 (2014 est.) 32.48 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: THAILAND

  • Electricity access: population without electricity: 700,000 electrification - total population: 99% electrification - urban areas: 99.7% electrification - rural areas: 98.3% (2013) Electricity - production: 167.9 billion kWh (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 24 Electricity - consumption: 168.3 billion kWh (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 23 Electricity - exports: 2.267 billion kWh (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 43 Electricity - imports: 14.41 billion kWh (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 16 Electricity - installed generating capacity: 40.97 million kW (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 24 Electricity - from fossil fuels: 76.7% of total installed capacity (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 94 Electricity - from nuclear fuels: 0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 188 Electricity - from hydroelectric plants: 8.9% of total installed capacity (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 121 Electricity - from other renewable sources: 14.2% of total installed capacity (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 51 Crude oil - production: 257,500 bbl/day (2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 34 Crude oil - exports: 12,200 bbl/day (2014 est.) country comparison to the world: 57 Crude oil - imports: 830,500 bbl/day (2014 est.) country comparison to the world: 14 Crude oil - proved reserves: 396.4 million bbl (1 January 2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 52 Refined petroleum products - production: 1.213 million bbl/day (2014 est.) country comparison to the world: 18 Refined petroleum products - consumption: 1.272 million bbl/day (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 19 Refined petroleum products - exports: 238,800 bbl/day (2014 est.) country comparison to the world: 31 Refined petroleum products - imports: 162,800 bbl/day (2014 est.) country comparison to the world: 42 Natural gas - production: 39.82 billion cu m (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 22 Natural gas - consumption: 114.8 billion cu m (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 11 Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2013 est.) country comparison to the world: 190 Natural gas - imports: 13.33 billion cu m (2015 est.) country comparison to the world: 23 Natural gas - proved reserves: 206.8 billion cu m (1 January 2017 est.) country comparison to the world: 44 Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy: 301 million Mt (2013 est.) country comparison to the world: 21
  • Communications :: THAILAND

  • Telephones - fixed lines: total subscriptions: 4.706 million subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 7 (July 2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 32 Telephones - mobile cellular: total: 119.669 million subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 175 (July 2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 13 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) (2016) Broadcast media: 26 digital TV stations in Bangkok broadcast nationally, 6 terrestrial TV stations in Bangkok broadcast nationally via relay stations - 2 of the stations 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 news programs twice a day; multi-channel satellite and cable TV subscription services are available; radio frequencies have been allotted for more than 500 government and commercial radio stations; many small community radio stations operate with low-power transmitters (2017) Internet country code: .th Internet users: total: 32,398,778 percent of population: 47.5% (July 2016 est.) country comparison to the world: 22
  • Transportation :: THAILAND

  • 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) country comparison to the world: 56 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: 4,127 km standard gauge: 84 km 1.435-m gauge (84 km electrified) narrow gauge: 4,043 km 1.000-m gauge (2017) country comparison to the world: 45 Roadways: total: 180,053 km (includes 450 km of expressways) (2006) country comparison to the world: 30 Waterways: 4,000 km (3,701 km navigable by boats with drafts up to 0.9 m) (2011) country comparison to the world: 26 Merchant marine: total: 781 by type: bulk carrier 25, container ship 23, general cargo 94, oil tanker 240, other 399 (2017) country comparison to the world: 27 Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Bangkok, Laem Chabang, Map Ta Phut, Prachuap Port, Si Racha container port(s) (TEUs): Bangkok (1,559,000), Laem Chabang (6,780,000) (2015) LNG terminal(s) (import): Map Ta Phut
  • Military and Security :: THAILAND

  • Military expenditures: 1.5% of GDP (2017) 1.45% of GDP (2016) 1.44% of GDP (2015) 1.41% of GDP (2014) 1.4% of GDP (2013) country comparison to the world: 73 Military branches: Royal Thai Armed Forces (Kongthap Thai, RTARF): 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) (2017) 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)
  • Transnational Issues :: THAILAND

  • 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; approximately 105,000 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): 102,633 (Burma) (2016) IDPs: 35,000 (resurgence in ethno-nationalist violence in south of country since 2004) (2016) stateless persons: 487,741 (2016); 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
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