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FAQ's About Thailand
Section 1 - Basic Biodata

Official Name:                     Kingdom of Thailand
Political System:                Constitutional Monarcy since 1932.
Head of State:                     King Bhumipol Adulyadej, Rama IX, from 1946.
Prime Minister:                   Pol.Lt.Col. Thaksin Shinawatra (26th PM)
Legislature:                         Bi-Cameral.  Both Houses by election.
Government Parties:        Thai Rak Thai, NAP & Chart Thai.
Land Area:                          513,115 Square Kilometers.
Population:                         62.5 Million
Labour Force:                    33.5 Million
Capital City:                        Bangkok (Krung Thep)
Bangkok Population:       6.5 Million (+/- 1.5 Million Seasonal workers)
Time Difference:                GMT +7hrs
Currency Unit:                   Thai Baht
Exchange Rate:                 Floating (40 -45 to US$ in Early 2002)
International Telephone Code: +66-
GDP:                                     4,901,000 Million
GDP Growth:                      4.3%
Inflation:                              1.6%
Unemployment Rate:       3.6%
Value of Exports:               2,777,700 Million Baht
Main Export Customers: USA (22%), Japan (14%), Singapore (9%).
Value of Imports:               2,494,200 Million Baht
Main Import Providers:    Japan (25%), USA (13%), Singapore (6%)
Tourist Arrivals:                  8.5 Million per year.

*Note all figures are based on year to end official Thai Government statistics for the Yr 2000.

Section 2 - Geography & Demography

Land Area:                            513,115 Square Kilometers
Dimensions:                        1,640 Kms North-South, 800 Kms East-West
Population Yr. 2000:           62.5 Million
Ethnic Grouping:                Tai 75%, Chinese 14%, Mons, Hill tribes, Malays.
Main Rivers:                         Chaopraya (Central) & Mekong (North border)
Natural Resources:            Tin, Rubber, Natural Gas, Tungsten, Lignite.
Climate:
Hot Season:                         Feb-May, 30°-40°C & 75% humidity
Wet Season:                      June-Oct, 20°-35°C, 87% humidity, SW Monsoon.
Cool Season:                      Nov-Jan,  15°-30°C & 60% humidity, NE winds.
Elevations:  Doi Inthanon near Chiang Mai 2,600 m., Korat Plateau 200m., Songkhla 4m., and Bangkok 2m. above sea level.
Provinces:                           76 provinces
Land Utilisation:                 Forrest 25%, 42% Farmland, 33% unclassified.
Deforestation Rate:           0.7% per year.  (E.G. In 1960 51% forested.)



Administrative Regions:    North, North-East, South, East, West & Central (includes Bangkok)
Urban Population:              21.6% of total population lives in urban areas.
Labour Force:                     36.5 Million
Agricultural Sector:           13% of GDP and 51% of labour force.
Manufacturing Sector:      53% of GDP and 18% of labour force.
Services Sector:                 36% of GDP and 31% of the labour force.
Tourist Arrivals:                  8.5 Million per year
Union Membership:           10% of Labour force.
Area & % of Population by Region:
North:                                 169,644 Sq.kms.,  19.8%
North-East:                       168,854 Sq.kms.,  34.7%
South:                                  70,715 Sq.kms.,  13.1%
West:                                    43,046 Sq.kms.,    5.8%
East:                                     36,502 Sq.kms.,    6.7%
Central                                 16,593 Sq.Kms.,   4.8%
Bangkok & Vicinity:           7,765 Sq.kms.,  15.1%

Section 3 - Society & Culture

Religion:                           95% Buddhist, 4% Muslim & 1% Christian.
Thai Calendar: Days and Months as per Western practice (7 day week & 12 Month year).  Years as per the Buddhist Era (BE) calendar, which began 543 years BC. (i.e. Yr 2000 is BE 2543).
Currency:                       Thai Baht divided into 100 Satang.
Measurement:               Metric with some exceptions.  1 Wa = 2 meters.
Area Measurement:     1 Rai = 400 Talang Wa = 1,600 Square Meters.
Weights:  Metric with 100 gms called 1 “Keet”.  Also gold measured in “Baht”.  1
Literacy Rate:                     93%
No of School Teachers:   570,000
No School Students:       12 Million (approx)
Secondary School rate:  56% of children attend High School.
University Graduates:     75,000 per year. (aprox)
Minimum Daily Wage:   
Percentage of Cars, Motorcycles & Telephones by Region
North:                9.3%,         22.9%,           11.8%
North-East:      6.8%,         22.2%,              8.7%
South:               6.1%,         18.2%,              8.2%
West:                 2.7%,           7.1%,              3.9%
East:                  4.7%,           7.7%,              6.8%
Central              2.5%,           5.2%,              3.6%
Bangkok:        67.9%,       16.8%,             57.1%
Government Spending:
Education:                        222,416 Million Baht
General Services:           109,531 Million Baht
Social welfare:                   92,994 Million Baht
Defence:                              88,690 Million Baht
Debt Services:                   79,006 Million Baht
Agriculture:                        67,008 Million Baht
Public Health:                    65,744 Million Baht
Communications:             60,165 Million Baht
Total:                                  860,000 Million Baht
Public Holidays:
New Years Day:                1st January
Chinese New Year:           Early to mid Feb
Mahabucha Day:               mid Feb
Chakri Day:                        6th April (Foundation day of current Chakri Dynasty)
Songkran:                         12th - 14th April (Thai New Year)
Labour Day:                      1st May
Coronation Day:              5th May
Visakabucha Day:           May (Birthday/enlightenment of the Buddha)
Asalabucha Day:             July (Marks the Buddha's first sermon)
Khao Phansar (Lent):    July (A three month period of abstinence)
HM Queen Sirikit's Birthday:         12th August
Chulalongkorn Day:         23rd October ( In honour of King Rama V)
Loy Kratong:     mid November (Candle light festival of the Water Spirits)
HM King Bhumiphol's Birthday:        5th December
Constitution Day:                            10th December