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THAILAND

Thailand, in long form the kingdom of Thailand (in Thai Prathet Thai3, ประเทศไทย or Ratcha Anachak Thai, ราช อาณาจักร ไทย), is a country in Southeast Asia. Before 1939, it was called the kingdom of Siam. It is bordered to the southwest and northwest by Burma, to the south by Malaysia, to the southeast by Cambodia and to the northeast by Laos. Its capital is Bangkok (in Thai: Krung Thep, กรุงเทพฯ, the City of Angels). The official language is Thai and the currency is Baht. It has been a constitutional monarchy since 1932 in which the king is officially the head of state, head of the armed forces, supporter of the Buddhist religion and defender of all faiths. Since 1946, several generations of Thai people have known only one sovereign, Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), whose reign lasted seventy years, until his death on October 13, 2016. His son Vajiralongkorn (Rama X) succeeded him on December 1, 2016. He is the 10th sovereign of the Chakri dynasty which has reigned since 1782.

 

The country is ranked 51st country in order of area (514,000 km2) and 21st most populous country in the world with 68,299,099 inhabitants in January 2017, an area and a population very close to those of metropolitan France. It consists of a large mainland extended to the south for nearly 1,000 kilometers by the Malaysian peninsula which it shares on the west side with Burma and in its south with Malaysia. About 75% of the population is of Thai ethnicity, 14% are Chinese, and 3% are Malays, the rest being made up of minority groups: the Mon, the Khmers and the various hill tribes. The main religion is Buddhism, practiced by about 95% of Thais.

 

Thailand experienced rapid economic growth between 1985 and 1995. It is one of the new industrialized countries, one of the Asian Tigers. Its economy is based in particular on tourism, with well-known tourist destinations such as the region of Chiang Mai, the park of Ayutthaya, the seaside resort of Pattaya, the capital Bangkok, the southern provinces of Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi and many islands in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, such as those of Ko Samui and Koh Phi Phi. Exports also contribute significantly to the economy.

 

Over the years, Thailand has grown from a purely tourist destination to a popular retirement destination. Many people decide to retire in Thailand. In addition, the Thai healthcare system has modernized its infrastructure, trained world-class surgeons and trained countless nurses and caregivers. It has become a popular vacation destination for plastic and orthopedic surgery, cancer treatment and assisted retirement.

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