Current Time in Bangkok
Thailand has one of the more unique histories in Southeast Asia. Famously the only Southeast Asian country never to be conquered or colonized by a European nation, it has been a constitutional monarchy since the 1930s and has played various roles in the politics of the region.
Though it has a strong independent streak, Thailand remains a vital part of several Southeast Asian and Pacific alliances, and its economy is the second-largest in Southeast Asia. Though the politics of the country itself has been volatile over the last few decades, Thailand remains a power to be reckoned with in the region.
Quick Facts about Thailand
- Thailand is called Prathet Thai in the native language, which means "land of the free".
- Thailand's monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej was the longest-reigning monarch in the world, sitting on the throne for seventy years.
- Thailand was previously known as Siam and yes - it is where Siamese cats originated.
- About 94.6% of all Thai people are Buddhist, and the Thai monarch is required to be Buddhist.
- Thailand's capital has the longest place-name in the world - Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit. Fortunately, it's generally just referred to as Bangkok.
Thailand has two countries on its northern border - Myanmar and Laos. Cambodia is located to the country's east. Thailand also shares a maritime border with Vietnam, Indonesia, and India. To the south is the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea is to the east.
The Kingdom of Thailand encompasses about 198,120 square miles, making it the fiftieth largest country in the world. Unlike many of its close neighbors, the entirety of Thailand's holdings are contiguous. Though relatively small by international standards, the country nonetheless has the twenty-second largest population in the world.
The official language of Thailand is Thai, but only about thirty percent of the people in Thailand speak it as their first language. Other dialects of Thai are also spoken in the country, as well as sixty-one other languages. Lao is spoken by about fifteen million people, while Yawi is spoken by about 1.4 million. Khmer is also a rapidly-growing language in Thailand.
Weather & Climate
Thailand's weather tends to vary by what part of the country in which a person is located. The weather in the north has three seasons, while there are only two in the south. Both halves of Thailand, however, have their weather dominated by the monsoon winds.
The monsoons cause the country to largely switch between wet and dry seasons - the northern half of the country simply has more breaks between the wet seasons. The temperature of both parts of the country tends to be warm, with temperatures even during the cooler season reaching as high as ninety degrees Fahrenheit.
Type of Government
Thailand's government is a constitutional parliamentary democracy. While the king's power is limited, he does play a more active role in the government and in the daily functioning of Thailand that monarchs in many other nations. The head of the government, however, is the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister is chosen from among the ruling party of Thailand's legislature, the bicameral Parliament of Thailand. The Parliament itself is split into two chambers - the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Thailand's government is structured through its constitution. The Thai constitution has been revised many times, with its latest iteration in 2017. Despite this ever-changing framework, the real power in Thailand is currently held by a military junta.