Area and geographical features
Thailand covers an area of over 513,115 square kilometres/200,000
square miles. (It is situated in South-East Asia between
Burma to the west and north, Laos to the north and east
and Cambodia to the east. Southern Thailand consists of
a long peninsula bounded on the west by the Indian Ocean
and on the east by the South China Sea and the Gulf of
Thailand, while to the extreme south lies Malaysia.
Population - 63.1 million (2003 preliminary)
Capital - Bangkok (5.7 million)
Government - Constitution and monarchy with a multi-party
Ethnic Groups - 80% Thai, 12% Chinese, 4% Malay, 3% Khmer
Languages - Thai (official), Chinese, Malay
Religions - Buddhist 95%, Muslim 4%, Christian 1%
Population Density - 111 per sq km (289 per sq ml)
Life Expectancy - Female 69, male 65
Adult Literacy - 91%
Major Business cities and Bangkok - 5.7 million
Najhon Ratchasima (second largest city with 2.5 million)
and Khon Khaen in the North East
Chiang Mai (third city, population 151,000) and Chiang
Rai in the North
Suratthani and Songkhla in the south
Chantaburi and Rayong in the East
Thailand is tropical with three distinct seasons: the
wet (monsoon) season, from about June to October, the
cool season from November to February; and the hot season,
from March to June.
In the southern peninsula west of the mountain range,
the wet season is from the end of August to the middle
of November, but east of the mountain range the wet season
is later, beginning in August and ending in January to
February. In the south there is no distinct cool season.
The average annual rainfall in Bangkok is 142 cm (56 inches)
and the annual mean temperature is about 28C (82F), varying
between a night temperature as low as 11C (52F) in the
cold season and a maximum day shade temperature of 41C
(106F) in the hot season. The humidity is relatively high.
Climatically, the best time for a business visit is during
the months of November to February, but air-conditioning
and other modern facilities now tend to alleviate climatic
extremes. April and May are the hottest months.
Light-weight tropical suits are worn all year round, but
light worsted is comfortable in the cool season and in
many air-conditioned hotels, restaurants and offices.
Hats are rare but acceptable, especially in strong sunshine.
Much entertaining is informal and 'shirt and tie' are
widely accepted. Suits are required for the more formal
occasions and when calling on senior government officials.
Women wear linen or cotton dresses during the daytime
and silk or cotton dresses in the evening. Light wraps
are popular in highly efficient air-conditioned premises.
Stockings or tights are rarely worn.