Regional Geography of Thailand


Outline

  1. Physical Characteristics
  2. Human Characteristics
  3. Economic Characteristics
  4. References

Physical Characteristics

Thailand (previously called Siam) is in southeast Asia. It shares borders with Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Myanmar. It is close to Vietnam and China. Thailand is about 678,052 square kilometers, a little bit smaller than Texas. Thailand breaks into 4 main regions. Northern, Northeastern, Central and Southern Thailand. Southern Thailand contains a long tail, about 1000 miles long that runs down the gulf of Thailand and the Andaman sea.

 

Thailand has a variety of landscapes. It contains rugged mountains, dense forests, arid plateau, river valleys, tropical rain forests, and sand covered coastlines. (Thailand: a global studies handbook). The Chao Phraya is the main river in Thailand, and it branches off into many other rivers and streams that nourish the land. The rivers are also the main transportation method for produce and natural resources. 

 

The climate in Thailand consists of 3 main seasons, hot, hotter, and hottest (just kidding, but this is a typical response a local might give you if you ask.) The technical seasons are dry/cool (December- February), hot (March-June) and rainy (June-November).   In the dry season temperatures can reach freezing level, in the hot season they’re steady in the 90’s. The rainy season is full of hot humid air. It is the Asian Monsoons that determine the seasons of Thailand (Hoare).

Human Characteristics

Thailand’s population is 66.2 million according to the World Population Bureau . Compared to other Southeast asia countries, Thailand is on the higher end of population. Vietnam is the only country in the region  with more people. 97% of Thailand consist of Thai descent. The other 3% of the population comes from bordering countries such as Burma. Thailand’s population pyramid is fairly well balanced, with an about equal level of girls to boys in each age group. There are .97 males per female. The birth rate is 1.52,

 

Thai is the official language of Thailand. English is a secondary language of the well-educated, approximately 1/3 of Thai speaks English. Buddhism is the primary religion in Thailand, 95% identify with it. 4.3% identify as Muslim, and 1% Christian, according to the CIA. All Thai males must become a monk for some period before the age of 20, which promotes the Buddhist religion.

 

Thongchai Winichakul in Siam Mapped states that “Thailand has a widespread assumption that there is a common Thai nature or identity: khwampenthai (thainess). It is believed to have existed for a long time, and all thai are supposed to be well aware of its virtue.” It has been well preserved even today despite the modernization of the country. The monarch have stated they can adopt good things from the west, but only while preserving their traditional values at their best. (Mapped) What is “good” wasn’t clearly defined. As it would be hard to do so. A lot of the things marked as no years ago have now been adopted into thainess.

 

Northern Thailand is home to many cultures and belief rituals. The hill tribes are known for their handicraft goods throughout the world. They’re also big opium growers. The 6 tribes officially recognized by the government are Karen, Lisu, Ahka, Lahu, Mien, and Hmong. These tribes are migrants from other areas.

Economic Characteristics

Thailand’s economy relies heavily on 4 main areas. Agriculture, natural resources, manufacturing, and tourism. Thailand’s agriculture is mainly rice, which leaves it vulnerable to the international fluctuations of market price (Hoare). Thailand is the second biggest exporter of rice, after India.

 

According to the CIA, Thailand did 235 billion in exports in 2017 and 203 billion in imports. It’s biggest export partners in order are china, the us, and japan. It exports automobiles and parts, computers and parts, jewelry and stones, refined fuels, rice, fish, rubber, sugar and more. Its imports include machinery and parts, crude oil, chemicals, iron & steel, auto parts, silver and gold bars, and more.  Its big import partners in order are China, Japan, U.S., and Malaysia (The World Factbook.)

 

The gross national income per capita is $6,330 according to the 2018 world population data sheet. They didn’t list the GNP but 6330x 66.2 million is 419 billion. Their GNP has increased greatly over the past 40 years. Thailand moved from being a low-income country to an upper-income country in less than 10 years, according to the world bank. They are known for their economic success story.

References

2018 WORLD POPULATION DATA SHEET .” Population Reference Bureau, 2018, www.prb.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/2018_WPDS.pdf.

Hoare, Timothy D. Thailand: A Global Studies Handbook. ABC-CLIO, 2004, books.google.com/books?id=XtQ4_Ye3R5sC&pg=PT24&dq=thailand+geography&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiwkJb_kcnhAhWGlp4KHThhDTY4ChDoAQhdMAk#v=onepage&q=thailand%20geography&f=false.

“Overview.” World Bank, www.worldbank.org/en/country/thailand/overview.

“The World Factbook: Thailand.” Central Intelligence Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, 1 Feb. 2018, www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/th.html.

Winichakul, Thongchai. Siam Mapped . University of Hawaii Press , 1994, books.google.com/books?id=TJEK4sHPlUsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=inauthor:%22Thongchai+Winichakul%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjBt5j7jcnhAhXRop4KHQvSC2cQ6AEIKjAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

 


Submitted by Taylor Kocina on 4/11/2019.