Country File

Understand the basics of Thailand at a glance...

Formerly known as Siam, The Kingdom of Thailand is a country situated in the south east of Asia.

The indigenous population of Thailand is 75 percent ethnically Thai, 14 percent of Chinese decent and three percent of Malay origin. The remaining eight percent are minority groups and tribes.

The official language in Thailand is Thai. There are other unofficial languages and variations such as Northern Thai, Southern Thai, Yawi and Isan. Tribal dialects are also prevalent in small areas of the country. English remains a mandatory subject taught in schools.

The primary religion is Theravada Buddhism and is actively practiced by the overwhelming majority of Thais. Islam is the second largest religion in Thailand, practised by around five percent of the population.

Thailand is the world's 20th most-populous country, home to approximately 66 million inhabitants. With an official population of over eight million, the country's largest city, Bangkok (known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon), is the political, commercial, industrial and cultural centre of the country.

Thailand generally uses the metric system but occasionally the imperial system is used for measuring building materials and land. Years are generally numbered as BE (Buddhist Era). The exceptions to this are in the banking, industry and commerce sectors where AD (Anno Domini) is used.