Sources: U.N. Human Development Report 2006, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Population Reference Bureau, Asian Development Bank Key Indicators Report, Yunnan Government.
Location: Thailand is situated in the heart of the Southeast Asian mainland, covering an area of 513,115 sq.km and extends about 1,620 kilometers from north to south and 775 kilometers from east to west. Thailand borders the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Union of Myanmar to the North, the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Gulf of Thailand to the East, the Union of Myanmar and the Indian Ocean to the West, and Malaysia to the south.
Major Cities: North : Chiangmai, South: Songkla, Central region : Ayutthaya and Chonburi, North Eastern : Nakhon Ratchasima and Khon Kaen
Thailand is a warm and rather humid tropical country with monsoonal climate. Temperatures are highest in March and April with average temperature of 28 degree Celsius to 38 degrees Celsius and humidity averaging between 82.8 percent to 73 percents.
Dry: March to May, Rainy: June to October, Cool: November to February.
The population in Thailand is approximately 62 million, of which around 6 million live in the capital city, Bangkok.
Thailand’s population can be generally categorized into the Central Thai, the Northeastern Thai or Isan, the Northern Thai, and the Southern Thai. The Central Thai have long dominated the nation politically, economically, and culturally, even though they make up only about one-third of Thailand’s population and are slightly outnumbered by the Northeastern Thai. Due to the education system and the forging of a national identity, many people are now able to speak Central Thai as well as their own local dialects.
The largest group of non-Thai people is the Chinese who have historically played a disproportionately significant role in the economy. Many have assimilated into mainstream Thai society, and do not live in Bangkok’s Chinatown on Yaowarat Road. Other dominant ethnic groups include Malays in the south, Mon, Khmer and various hill tribes. After the end of the Vietnam War, many Vietnamese refugees settled in Thailand, mainly in the northeastern region.
The Thai language is Thailand’s national language, written in its own alphabet, but many ethnic and regional dialects exist as well as areas where people speak predominantly Isan or Mon-Khmer languages. Although English is widely taught in schools, its use is not widespread throughout the country.
According to the last census (2000) 95% of Thais are Buddhists of the Theravada tradition. Muslims are the second largest religious group in Thailand at 4.6%. Thailand’s southernmost provinces – Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and part of Songkhla Chumphon have dominant Muslim populations, consisting of both ethnic Thai and Malay. Most often Muslims live in separate communities from non-Muslims. The southern tip of Thailand is mostly ethnic Malays. Christians, mainly Catholics, represent 0.75% of the population.
A tiny but influential community of Sikhs in Thailand and some Hindus also live in the country’s cities, and are heavily engaged in retail commerce. There is also a small Jewish community in Thailand, dating back to the 17th century. Since 2001, Muslim activists, generally described by the Thai government as terrorists or separatists, have rallied against the central government because of alleged corruption and ethnic bias on the part of officials.
The traditional Thai greeting, the wai, is generally offered first by the youngest of the two people meeting, with their hands pressed together, fingertips pointing upwards as the head is bowed to touch their face to the hands, usually coinciding with the spoken word “Sawat-dii khrap” for male speakers, and “Sawat-dii ka” for females. The elder then is to respond afterwards in the same way.
Social status and position, such as in government, will also have an influence on who performs the wai first. For example, although one may be considerably older than a provincial governor, when meeting it is usually the visitor who pays respect first. When children leave to go to school, they are taught to wai to their parents to represent their respect for them. They do the same when they come back. The wai is a sign of respect and reverence for another, similar to the namaste greeting of India.
Business Hours: Government and business offices are open from 8:30 to 16:30 hours, Monday to Friday.
Electricity: 220 volts 50 cycles throughout the country
Banks: The country’s central bank is the Bank of Thailand. Major Thai commercial banks include the Bangkok Bank, Siam Commercial Bank, Krung Thai Bank, Thai Farmers Bank and Thai Military Bank. Business hours are 08:30 – 15:30 hours, Monday to Friday. Several international banks also have offices in Thailand.
Currency: The Baht is the standard currency unit.
Bank Notes: 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000 baht
Coins: 1, 2, 5, and 10 baht
Health and Medical Facilities
Bangkok has numerous clinics and hospitals catering to a variety of needs. Major public and private hospitals are equipped with the latest medical technology and internationally qualified specialists. Almost all pharmaceuticals are widely available. Drinking of tap water should be avoided.
Direct Assistance: 1133 (Bangkok) and 183 (upcountry)
Long Distance Service: 100
IDD: 001+country code+area code+phone number
AT&T USA Direct Service: 001-999-11111
Health policies and strategies:
The MOPH is authorized and responsible for the strengthening of the public health and hygiene, preventing and controlling diseases and recovering the energy-level of the population. It has established its goals and a 3-year strategy for pursuing the goals so that the subordinating agencies adhere to the principal goals and their strategy is in operation according to estimates of the public health budget required for achieving the goals.
The followings are the target of MOPH’s policies:
The middle-term goals of the MOPH’s services are following:
The MOPH’s strategies in pursuing the goals according to the policies are:
The devising of the public health strategic plan:
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