Flag of Thailand

 Language: Thai

Currency: Baht (THB)

Calling Code: +66


Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is one of the forty-nine countries that make up the Asian continent. Its capital and most populated city is Bangkok, center of political, commercial, and industrial activity. It is located east of the Southeast Asian subregion, bounded on the east by Laos (much of this border forms the Mekong River), on the southeast by Cambodia and the Gulf of Thailand, on the south by Malaysia and on the west by the Andaman Sea and Burma. It has an area of ​​513 120 km² and 65,500,000 inhabitants in 2011 (the 20th most populated country in the world), which means a population density of about 128 inhabitants / km².

The country was previously known as Siam.This name was changed for the first time in 1939 by Prathet Thai (ประเทศไทย) and again in 1949 (having been reverted during World War II) .Prathet means 'country' and the word thai ( ไทย) means 'free' or 'freedom' in the Thai language, which is also the name of the majority ethnic group in Thailand (an ethnic group that found freedom more than two millennia ago, when they arrived in this region fleeing from the Chinese) . This makes Prathet Thai can be translated as 'Country of Free People'. When translated into English, Prathet Thai became Thailand ('Land of the Thai'), and then 'Thailand' in Spanish.

About 75% of the ethnic population is Thai, 14% is of Chinese origin, and 3% is of Malay origin, the rest belongs to minority groups including the Mons, Khmer and several tribes of the Hills. The official language of the country is Thai. The main religion is Buddhism, practiced by 95% of its population.

Thailand experienced rapid economic growth between 1985 and 1996. Today it is a newly industrialized country and a large exporter. Tourism also contributes significantly to the national economy.In Thailand there are 2.2 million immigrants, this land also attracts expatriates from developing countries.



Bangkok - Political, economic and cultural capital of the country and world metropolis
Ayutthaya - historic capital with a variety of historic buildings
Chiang Mai - Largest city in the north and former capital of the Lanna Thai Empire, departure point for trips to the mountains of the north-west
Chiang Rai - city in the extreme north, springboard for tours through the mountains of the "Golden Triangle"
Hat Yai – Big city in the south not far from the Malaysian border
Hua Hin - traditional holiday destination of the Thai high society, still with the flair of earlier heydays. The former bathing paradise is definitely worth a trip.
Kanchanaburi – In the west of the country. With the legendary Bridge on the River Kwai, this place attracts quite a few tourists.
Khon Kaen - Trade and transport center and secret capital of the Northeast region
Nakhon Si Thammarat - historic city in southern Thailand
Pattaya – formerly a small fishing village, became Thailand's tourist boom town in the 1980s; Hotel (concrete) castles and notorious nightlife.
Phuket - capital of the most famous holiday island, old town with interesting Sino-Portuguese architecture
Songkhla - pretty town in southern Thailand on a promontory with a long sea beach.
Sukhothai - the first capital of the Thai Empire, historical park worth seeing with ruins from the 13th and 14th centuries


Travel Destination in Thailand

Bang Pa- in Royal Palace or a Summer Palace is located in Phra Nakhon Si, Ayutthaya Province of Thailand. It is a former residence of Thai kings.

Pha Daeng National Park or Chiang Dao National Park as it is formerly known is located in Chiang Mai Province in Thailand.

Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain in Thailand situated in Chiang Mai Province. Doi Inthanon reaches an elevation of 2565 meters.

 Doi Suthep is a religious complex in Chiang Mai province in Thailand.

Erawan National Park is a nature reserve after a mythical three headed elephant from Hindu religion. It is found in Kanchanaburi Province in Thailand.

Kanchanaburi is an infamous railroad that was built by Allied prisoners of war duting World War II.

Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park is a nature reserve protecting beatiful beaches, picturesque mountains and splendid caves.

Khao Yai National Park is a nature reserve in Nakhon Ratchasima Province in Thailand.

Mae Surin National Park is located 8 km (5 mi) North of Mae Hong Son, Mae Hong Son Province in Thailand.

Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park is a beautiful archipelago of 42 islands that cover and are of roughly 102 km2 in Surat Thani province of Thailand.

Phimai Historical Park are found in Centre of Phimai Town, Khorat province.

Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park is located in Phitsanulok and Phetchabun provinces of Thailand.

Phu Kradueng National Park is a nature reserve in Loei Province in Thailand.

Mueang Sing Historical Park is an ancient city 43 km (27 mi) West of Kanchanaburi, Kanchanaburi Province in Thailand. It was constructed in 857- 1157 AD.

Sai Yok National Park is located in Kanchanaburi Province in Thailand.

Sukhothai Historic Park is situated 13 km (8 mi) West of New Sukhothai, Sukhothai Province in Thailand. This park covers an area of 213.2 km².

Thung Salaeng Luang National Park is located in Phitsanulok and Phetchabun provinces in Thailand.



The word "tai" (ไทย) means "freedom", "land" means country. "Thailand" (Thailand) - the English version of the name of the country, introduced into use in 1939 - means "the country of the Thais", the Thai version sounds like Prathet Thai or Muang Thai.

The name of the country has become an eponym for such names as Thai cat, Siamese cat, Siamese twins, Thai boxing and Thai massage.



Thailand is located in Southeast Asia, on the peninsulas of Indochina and Malacca, from the west it is washed by the Andaman Sea, from the east by the Gulf of Thailand of the South China Sea. The territory of Thailand is stretched from north to south (the distance from the northernmost point to the southernmost point is 1860 km). Due to its central position in Southeast Asia and the longest north-south stretch of any country in the region, Thailand has the most diverse climate in Southeast Asia, so major crops are harvested several times a year and the tourist season continues all year round. Forests occupy 37% of the country's territory: tropical deciduous in the north, tropical evergreen in the wetter southern regions.

The northern part of the country is occupied by the Thai mountains, here is the highest point of the country, Doiinthanon (2565 m). The northeastern part, called Isan, is occupied by the Korat plateau. The main part of the central region of Thailand is occupied by the valley of the Chao Phraya River. The southern part of Thailand shares the Malay Peninsula with Myanmar in the north and Malaysia in the south.



The climate of Thailand is humid tropical in the north of the country, and subequatorial in the central and southern parts, and on the border with Malaysia - equatorial. This is due to the location of most of the country in the tropical and subequatorial belts and the influence of the southwest and northeast monsoons. The distance between the extreme northern and extreme southern points of Thailand is 1860 km, and the latitude difference is about 15 °. This stretch from north to south makes Thailand's climate one of the most diverse in Southeast Asia.

The weather conditions in Thailand are three seasons. The first of them begins in mid-May and continues until mid-October; this is the rainy season brought by the southwest monsoon, with the most precipitation falling in August and September. Tropical cyclones also occur at this time, which sometimes leads to floods. By November, the rains stop and the cool dry season sets in, lasting until mid-February; at this time, the northeast monsoon prevails. After the weakening of the monsoons, in February - May, intense heat sets in, and the humidity of the air gradually increases until the beginning of the new monsoon season.

The closer to the equator (south of the country), the smaller the temperature difference. So, in the mountains in the north, in the coolest months (December to February), the night air temperature can drop to zero, while during the day it reaches +25 ° C. The highest temperature is observed in April and May - then it is above +35 °C, but it can also reach +40 °C.

Precipitation in Thailand averages between 1200 and 1600 mm per year, but in some regions in the south and east, annual precipitation can exceed 4500 mm.

Flora and fauna
Thailand is home to the world's smallest mammal, the pig-nosed bat.



The history of the country originates from the kingdom of Sukhothai, formed in 1238. His successor was the kingdom of Ayutthaya (Ayutthaya), founded in 1350. By the end of the 15th century, Ayutthaya had become the dominant state in the Indochinese Peninsula, subjugating the Khmer Empire (modern Cambodia and southern Vietnam). From the beginning of the 16th century, contacts between Ayutthaya and Europeans began: in 1511, the ambassador of Portugal arrived here, followed by representatives of France, Holland and England. Starting in the second half of the 17th century, Siam's wars with Burma for control of Indochina began with varying success, which were completed in the 1770s in favor of Siam by Taksin and Pra Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke. The latter, after the brutal execution of Taksin in 1782, ascended the throne as king under the name of Rama I, founding the Chakri dynasty, which ruled over most of the peninsula, he is also considered the founder of Bangkok (founded in 1782).

In the first half of the 19th century, several wars between Siam and Vietnam took place, as a result of which Cambodia returned to the control of Bangkok. In the second half of the 19th century, the formation of the colonial system in Southeast Asia began, and Siam turned out to be the only state in this region that retained its independence, mainly because it became a buffer zone between the colonies of Great Britain (Burma, Malaya) and France (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam). ).

A largely peaceful revolution in 1932 saw Thailand become a constitutional monarchy. Formerly known as Siam, Thailand was first given its current name in 1939, and for the second time, definitively, in 1949, after World War II. During this war, Thailand supported Japan, and after its end became an ally of the United States. One of the most famous representatives of Thai culture of that period was Prince Damrong Ratchanubab. He became the founder of the country's modern education system and the provincial government system. He was also a historian and one of the most influential intellectuals in Thailand of his time. Damrong Ratchanubab became the first Thai to be included in the UNESCO list of the most honored people.

Rising labor costs in the 1970s in countries such as Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea led multinational corporations to move production to countries where labor remained cheap, such as Thailand. An influx of foreign investment began (primarily Japanese), in the 1970s and 80s, GDP grew rapidly (about 10% per year) and exports (14% per year). However, this process had little effect on Thailand as a state, the costs of creating infrastructure to create a favorable investment climate were growing, and these costs were paid off only partially. As a result, the balance of payments deficit and external debt grew. By the mid-1990s, the Central Bank of Thailand had exhausted its foreign exchange reserves, the Thai baht began to devalue, and the crisis in the Thai economy was the main cause of the 1997 Asian economic crisis. Thailand received financial assistance (in the form of loans totaling $ 17.2 billion) from the International Monetary Fund and other organizations, provided on the condition of a severe cut in the country's expenditure budget, it was possible to reach the pre-crisis level of real GDP only after 10 years.

On December 26, 2004, a tsunami hit the southwest coast of Thailand. 5,400 people died in Thailand, half of whom were tourists, and about 3,000 more were missing.

Coup in Thailand in 2006
On September 19, 2006, there were reports of a military coup in Thailand. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, while at the session of the UN General Assembly in New York, declared a state of emergency in the country and called on the military to stop illegal maneuvers. Having seized the main government facilities, the putschists declared their loyalty to the king. In January 2008, the military handed over power to a new government led by Prime Minister Samak Sundaraway. In late August - early September 2008, demonstrations and clashes between supporters and opponents of the Sundaraway government took place in the Thai capital. Following the removal of Samak Sundaraway by court order in early September 2008 and his refusal to be re-elected, the King confirmed Somchai Wongsawat as Prime Minister.

Military coup in Thailand in 2014
May 20, 2014 - Martial law declared. On May 22, 2014, the military imposed a curfew throughout the country from 22:00 to 05:00 in order to prevent unrest. In the resort areas it was canceled after 2 weeks, in Bangkok - a little later. The commander of the army of Thailand, General Prayut Chan-Ocha, in a televised address to the nation, announced a military coup in the country. The constitution was also suspended.

2020 protests
In 2020, anti-government protests began in Thailand, at which, for the first time in the history of the country, the issue of reforming the monarchy was raised up to discussion in parliament.


State structure

State symbols
The flag of Thailand is a rectangular panel of five horizontal stripes in the following colors (from top to bottom): red, white, blue, white and red. The ratio of the flag's width to its length is 2:3.

The emblem of Thailand is a red garuda - a figure of Buddhist and Hindu mythology.

The form of government is a constitutional monarchy; in fact, a military dictatorship since 2014.

The head of state is the king. The king has lost absolute power, but remains the Supreme Commander, a symbol of the unity of the nation and the protector of Buddhism. The previous king, Rama IX, who died in 2016, enjoyed the full respect of the nation, which was sometimes used during political crises. After his death, his son Maha Vatchiralongkon Mahidol became King Rama X.

Thai Parliament - Until 2014, it was a bicameral National Assembly, consisting of a 150-seat Senate and a 480-seat House of Representatives. In May 2014, the National Legislative Assembly of 220 members appointed by the military regime became parliament, in 2016 the number of members was increased to 250. The constitution of 2017 assumes the restoration of a bicameral parliament, the Senate with 250 seats will be appointed by the military, the House of Representatives with 500 seats will be be elected by general election for a term of 4 years (elections were scheduled for February 2019).

The Prime Minister is General Prayut Chan-Ocha (since August 25, 2014).

Thailand is an active member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the country in 2018 was classified on the Democracy Index as a hybrid regime.


Administrative division

Geographically, climatically, in terms of natural resources, diversity of landforms and even the ethnic composition of the population, Thailand is divided into five main regions: Central, Eastern, Northern, Northeastern and Southern Thailand.

Thailand is subdivided into 77 provinces (changwat). In 2013, the municipality - the capital of the country Bangkok received the status of an independent 77th province.


Foreign policy

At the end of the XIX century. Thailand (then Siam) saw the Russian Empire as a possible ally, counting on help in defending its independence from the colonial powers of Europe and maintaining political sovereignty. Relations between the two states gradually strengthened. In 1882, under the command of Rear Admiral A. B. Aslanbegov, a squadron arrived in Siam from Russia on the occasion of the centennial anniversary of the establishment of the power of the Chakri dynasty. In 1888, the Russian composer P. A. Shchurovsky wrote the music for the anthem of Siam, which since 1932 became the personal anthem of the royal family. In 1891 the Russian Tsarevich Nicholas visited Bangkok. In the same year, the Siamese Prince Damrong arrived in the Crimea, where he received an audience with the Russian Emperor Alexander III. In 1896 Prince Chira attended the coronation ceremony of Emperor Nicholas II as a guest.

Diplomatic relations between Russia and Siam were officially established during the visit of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) to Russia from July 2 to 10, 1897. On December 4, 1897, Alexander Olarovsky was appointed Charge d'Affaires and Consul General of the Russian Empire in Siam. The Russian Consulate General was opened in Bangkok, and later it was expanded to a mission that lasted until 1917. On June 23, 1899, a Declaration on Jurisdiction, Trade and Navigation was signed in Bangkok. Due to the friendly nature of Russian-Siamese relations and the expansion of cultural ties, the royal guards of Siam until the 70s. wore the uniform of Russian life hussars, some elements of this uniform have survived to this day.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a number of members of the Siamese royal family and dignitaries visited Russia. Many young aristocrats were educated in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The son of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), Prince Chakrabon lived in Russia for several years, studied at the Corps of Pages and the Academy of the Ground Forces, and served in the Russian army. In 1906 he married Ekaterina Desnitskaya, who bore him a son.

After 1917 there was a short break in bilateral relations. Diplomatic relations between the USSR and Thailand were established on March 12, 1941. In 1947, an Agreement on the exchange of diplomatic missions was signed between the two countries, and a year later the embassy began its work in the capital of Thailand. During the Cold War and until the end of the 70s. bilateral relations were neutral.

A new period in relations was the official visit of Thai Prime Minister Kriangsak Chamanan to the USSR in 1979. During this visit, the Soviet-Thai Friendship Society was established. Since the mid 80s. In connection with positive changes in the world political arena, bilateral relations gradually began to strengthen again. In 1987, the first exchange of visits between the foreign ministers of the two countries took place. In May 1988, General Prem Tinsulanon, Prime Minister of Thailand, paid an official visit to Moscow. In February 1990, N. I. Ryzhkov, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, arrived on an official visit to Bangkok.

On December 28, 1991, the Thai government recognized the Russian Federation as a sovereign state and confirmed its intentions to develop mutually beneficial bilateral relations.

Since the beginning of the XXI century. bilateral relations have steadily gained momentum in key areas of cooperation. The culmination of this process was the visit to Thailand in October 2003 by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife, which became the first visit by a Russian leader to Thailand since the collapse of the USSR. This trip was unique in terms of international diplomatic protocol, including a private visit of the Russian President at the invitation of the then Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra, an official visit at the invitation of the Thai Prime Minister, participation in the summit of countries -members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and, finally, a state visit at the invitation of King Rama IX. In total, the trip took more than 5 days.

The parties managed to reach a number of constructive agreements, in particular, on the settlement of the debt of the former USSR to Thailand in the amount of $36.5 million.

On December 13, 2005, Russia and Thailand signed an agreement on visa-free travel, which provides for the possibility of visa-free stay of Russians with tourist purposes in Thailand and Thais in Russia for up to 30 days. The agreement entered into force on March 23, 2007.

Relations with Cambodia
Some sections of Cambodia's border with Thailand, including the sea, are not clearly defined.

On November 5, 2009, Thailand withdrew its ambassador from Cambodia in protest against the Cambodian government's appointment of Thai ex-leader Thaksin Shinawatra as economic adviser, which led to a deterioration in diplomatic relations between the two countries.


Armed forces

The Royal Thai Armed Forces consist of three divisions: the Royal Thai Army, the Royal Thai Navy and the Royal Thai Air Force. The country has compulsory military service for men, the term of service is two years. Defense spending in 2017 amounted to 1.5% of GDP. The number of armed forces is 306 thousand people, another 245 thousand reservists.



Advantages: Successfully transitioned to a stable market economy. Low inflation (3.2%). Relatively high economic growth and low public debt. Still relatively cheap and well-educated, in comparison with the developed countries of Asia and Europe, the workforce. With the unemployment rate plummeting and the labor shortage widening, wage growth as of 2019 is not constrained by the economic slowdown.

Weaknesses: Strong corruption. Slowly advancing market reforms. Low investment in infrastructure and R&D. The biggest problem is the growing shortage of able-bodied labor force every year and the growth in the number of pensioners, due to low birth rates and high emigration of the population to richer countries.

Thailand's economy is heavily dependent on exports, accounting for more than half of the country's GDP. The main export commodities are: machinery, equipment and electronics, in 2017 the total volume of this commodity group was estimated at $84.8 billion, which is approximately 39.5%; followed by products made of rubber and plastics - $ 26.1 billion (or 12.1%), as well as chemicals, agricultural products, including food and light industry products. The total volume of exports in 2017 is $215 billion.

In 2012, Thailand ranked 9th among the largest automakers in the world; Japanese and Korean companies mainly place their production facilities here.

Effective January 1, 2020, the minimum wage is 313 to 336 baht per day ($10.44 to $11.21 per day) depending on the region.

Thailand is one of the world's largest producers and exporters of rice: the country annually supplies up to 9 million tons of rice of various varieties to the world market. Including - "jasmine" rice, so named because of the subtle natural aroma. The share of agricultural products in Thailand's GDP is about 10%. In addition to rice, cassava, corn, sweet potatoes, pineapples, coconuts (mainly in the southern region), sugar cane, bananas, soybeans, and palm oil are also produced. The country receives large incomes from the export of durian, which was first learned to be cultivated here. Thailand is the third largest exporter of seafood in the world, primarily shrimp.

Agriculture employs about half of the population and cultivates more than 40% of the territory of Thailand, and of this share, more than half is occupied by rice fields; in rice production, the country has long been the world leader, only relatively recently losing the lead to India and Vietnam.

There are 19 registered airlines operating in Thailand, their total fleet consists of 276 aircraft, and in 2015 they carried more than 54 million passengers. There are 101 airports in the country, of which 63 are paved, 8 have a runway longer than 3 km.

The total length of railway lines in Thailand is 4127 km, almost all of them are narrow gauge (1000 mm), standard gauge (1435 mm) is only 84 km of tracks. The condition of the railway track on the hauls is good, sufficient for movement at a speed of 100 km/h. Passenger traffic is provided by trains with 3 classes of cars: 1st class with air conditioning, 2nd class without air conditioning and 3rd class seated cars with free travel for Thais. Freight trains are mainly engaged in the transport of containers. The road network is 180,000 km, of which 450 km are highways (as of 2006).

The total length of the navigable sections of the rivers is about 4 thousand km. The country's fleet consists of 781 vessels with a displacement of more than 1,000 gross register tons, including 240 tankers, 25 dry cargo ships, 23 container ships, and 94 other cargo ships. The largest ports with container terminals are Laem Chabang (eng. Laem Chabang) (eng. 7.2 million TEU) and Bangkok (1.5 million TEU), there is also a terminal for receiving liquefied gas in Map Ta Phut.

Tourism brings significant income to the Thai economy and accounts for approximately 16-18% of the country's GDP. At the same time, a significant share falls on domestic tourism.

In 2018, over 38 million foreigners visited Thailand. The most popular tourist destinations are Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket, Koh Samui and Krabi.

In 2015, electricity generation amounted to 167.9 billion kWh (24th in the world), and its consumption was 168.3 billion kWh (23rd in the world). Electricity imports exceed exports - 14.41 billion kWh against 2.267 billion kWh. The total rated generating capacity of Thailand's power plants is 40.97 million kW (24th in the world), of which 76.7% is from thermal power plants (mainly natural gas), 8.9% from hydroelectric power plants and 14.2% to alternative renewable sources.


Thailand partially covers the need for oil with its own production, which in 2016 amounted to 257.5 thousand barrels per day (33rd place in the world), but oil imports far exceed exports - 830.5 thousand against 12.2 thousand barrels per day ( as of 2014). In terms of proven oil reserves in 2017, Thailand ranked 52nd in the world (396.4 million barrels), in terms of natural gas - 43rd (206.8 billion m³). Of the 53 billion m³ of gas consumed per year, 40 billion m³ is accounted for by its own production in the offshore Platong field located at the bottom of the Gulf of Thailand, the rest is imported from Qatar, which supplies liquefied gas to the Map Ta Phut LNG LNG terminal.

Fixed telephone communication is rather poorly developed, in 2017 there were 2.91 million subscribers in the country, that is, 4 telephone lines per 100 people (49th place in the world); services are provided by both the public telephone company and private operators. In terms of the number of mobile subscribers, Thailand ranks 11th in the world - 121.53 million, which is 1.78 times the population. Thailand is connected to the main submarine cable systems and also has ground stations for two Intelsat satellites (Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean). In the country, more than 32 million people have access to the Internet (2016, 21st place in the world), of which more than 8 million have a broadband connection (18th place in the world).

International trade
As of 2018, exports amounted to $262 billion, imports - $227 billion, and a positive balance of foreign trade - $35 billion.

Main export items: machinery, equipment and electronics (32%), including office machines and integrated circuits; vehicles (12.8%), including cars; plastic and rubber products (11.7%), food and agricultural products (including rice, sugar, seafood).

Top Buyers in 2018: China ($31B), US ($29.3B), Japan ($24.9B), Vietnam ($13B) and Hong Kong ($12.5B)

Main import items: machinery, equipment and electronics (29%), including integrated circuits, components and assemblies, television and radio broadcasting and communication equipment; fuel (17.6%), including crude oil, natural gas and oil products; metallurgical products and raw materials (11.9%), as well as various finished and semi-finished products, gold, agricultural raw materials.

Top Suppliers in 2018: China ($45.6B), Japan ($31.6B), Malaysia ($13.9B), US ($12.8B) and Singapore ($9.86B).



The population of Thailand mainly consists of ethnic Thais and Laotians (~ 80%). There is also a large community of ethnic Chinese (~10%), to which former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra belongs. Other ethnic groups are represented by Malays, Hmong, Khmers, and Vietnamese who have settled in eastern Thailand since the Vietnam War.

94.6% of the inhabitants of Thailand profess Buddhism, 4.3% are Muslims (mostly Malays living in the south of the country), Christians in the country are about 1%.

The proportion of urban population in Thailand is 45.7%.

In Thailand, the king is not only the head of state, but also the patron, protector of all religions. In times of crisis, he acts as a reconciling mediator, without taking sides. Love and respect for the royal family in Thailand is - according to officials - almost religious in nature. During the last century, or even a little more, each reigning king, as well as members of his family, is officially credited with an ardent participation in the well-being of the people and supposedly a personal interest in the prosperity of all subjects.

In addition to the nominal (rather moderate) ritualism associated with the cult of the king, the Thais profess Buddhist teachings. In the 13th century, Hinayana Buddhism was officially recognized in Thailand, meaning “small vehicle” (the second major branch of Buddhism is called “Mahayana” - “great vehicle”). Currently, the term "Hinayana" is considered to be obsolete and it is falling out of use, being replaced by the self-name of this branch of Buddhism - "Theravada" - "teaching of the elders". Theravada is one of the variants of Buddhism, recorded in the so-called "Pali Canon"), which its followers call the most ancient, most beautiful and closest to the original teachings of Gautama Buddha.

Buddhism and other beliefs and religions are reflected in Thai art and in the life of monasteries. Historically, there were two cultures in Siam: a court culture based on Buddhist values ​​and absorbing elements of Hinduism; spirits, fairy tales, rites of the agricultural cycle and the cycle of human life. Folk culture can also include folk crafts - the manufacture of household items, woodworking, home silk weaving, weaving from vines, rattan, etc. The court culture includes the Thai classical Khon theater, accompanied by the traditional Thai music orchestra Phi Phat ”, singing and recitative of readers, the architecture of Buddhist monasteries, wall frescoes of temples, sculptural images of the Buddha. The traditional sculpture of Thailand is represented primarily by his images and is among the most significant works of Buddhist art in the world. The Buddha is depicted in certain canonical poses that have their own meaning; there are also many styles of sculptural representation - all this is in the National Museum in Bangkok. To the west of Bangkok, near the town of Nakhon Pathom, is the world's largest stupa, the 127-meter Phra Pathom Chedi, and 16 km northwest of Chiang Mai is one of the shrines of Buddhism - Wat Phrahat Doi Suthep standing on a mountaintop.

There are more than 32,700 Buddhist temples in Thailand, where about 370,000 monks and novices live. This is approximately 1 monk per 170 citizens.

The second most important religion in Thailand is Islam, which is practiced by about 4.6% of the population - mostly residents of the southern provinces close to Malaysia.

Christianity is also represented in Thailand. The very first mention of Christians in Thailand (Siam) is recorded in the travel notes of the Italian traveler Louis of Varsema, who visited Southeast Asia around 1505. From his notes it becomes clear that the first Christians in Thailand were Armenians who lived here permanently and traded with India. In the XVI-XVII centuries, Christianity was spread here by Catholic missionaries. Currently, there are Catholic and Protestant communities in the country, as well as eleven parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church and one monastery. In total, according to various estimates, from 0.7% to 1.7% of the country's population profess Christianity - these are mainly inhabitants of the mountainous northern regions. Most of the Christians are Catholics, but there are also communities of Protestants - Presbyterians, Baptists, Adventists, Lutherans, believers of the Assemblies of God.


National symbols

The flag of Thailand consists of five horizontal stripes, from top to bottom: red, white, blue (double thickness), white and red. The red color symbolizes the nation and the blood of life, white - the purity of Buddhism, blue - the monarchy.

The text of the national anthem of Thailand (Phleng chat thai in Thai) was adopted in 1939 (author Phra Jenduriyang), the words were set to music adopted in 1932 (author Luang Saranuprapan). By law, you must stand up for the national anthem, which is played twice a day in Thailand, at 8:00 am and 6:00 pm, on television and radio, as well as in schools, offices and theaters. In addition to the national anthem, there is also a royal anthem, Phleng Sanlasoen Phra Barami (Salute to the Monarch), played in the presence of the royal family and at some official ceremonies.

Revered creatures are the garuda (the mythical half-man, half-bird depicted on the coat of arms) and the elephant.


Culture and society

The original Thai custom is the Thai greeting. It occurs in different forms, depending on the social status of people. Typically, the greeting consists of a prayer gesture with the hands, borrowed from the Añjali Mudrā people of the Indian subcontinent, or a slight bow of the head. The greeting is often accompanied by a calm smile, symbolizing a hospitable disposition and a pleasant attitude towards people. A more complex greeting is the krap and mop krap. With krapa, a person kneels, and his hips rest on his heels. In the mop krap, when greeting the king and eminent persons, a person kneels, hands in the "lotus bud" rise up and "drop" to the floor.

Respect for social hierarchy is essential in Thai culture. Bun Hong custom emphasizes respect for parents, guardians and teachers. The country cultivates respect for the royal dynasty and the king. The previous ruler of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej Rama IX, was called the "messenger of heaven", "father" and "breadwinner". It is considered rude to disrespect Thai money because it has an image of the King of Thailand on it.

Thai language
The official language in Thailand is Thai (ภาษาไทย /pʰa: sa: tʰɑj/, phasa-thai), belonging to the Thai group of the Tai-Kadai language family. The Thai language consists of several varieties, which are spoken by different social strata of the population. Most Thais can speak and understand all varieties of Thai. Literary, rhetorical and rachasap are taught in schools.

The Thai alphabet was created in 1283 by King Ramakhamhaeng the Great (พ่อขุนรามคำแหงมหาราช). One of the first works written in Thai was the inscription on the Great Stele of Ramakhamhaeng, created in 1292, which describes the biography of the king and the chronicle of the Kingdom.

Literature in Thailand has long been heavily influenced by Indian Hindu culture. The most significant works of Thai literature are the Ramayana version, the Hindu epic called Ramakien, written during the reigns of Rama I and Rama II, and the poetry of Sunthon Pu. The version of the Ramayana differs from the original by a significant role in the work of the monkey god Hanuman and a happy ending to the work. Most of the oldest versions of the epic were lost in 1767, during the Burmese attack on the city of Ayutthaya.

During the Rattanakosin era (1782-1932), Thai literature experienced an upsurge and reached its pinnacle. Much of the poetic and creative energy of this period was devoted to reviving or restoring national treasures that had been lost or forgotten. The works of Ramakien and Khun Chang Khun Phaen were restored from the memory of living poets and recorded. Poetry became more and more refined. The works of foreign classics were translated into Thai, including the Chinese novels The Three Kingdoms of Luo Guanzhong, The Backwaters of Shi Nai'an, and others.

Now the main national poet of Thailand is the poet Sunthon Pu, the author of the poem "Pra Apaimani" (พระอภัยมณี) in 30 thousand lines (1835). The poem describes the adventures of Prince Apaimani, his brother Sisuvan and son Sisamut. The Thai kings Rama V and Rama VI were also writers. Every year on June 26, Thailand celebrates Sunthon Pu Day. In 1986, the 200th anniversary of the poet's birth was solemnly celebrated in Thailand with the participation of UNESCO.

Thai visual arts are traditionally Buddhist. Thai art and architecture was influenced by Khmer and Mon art. Modern Thai art is combined with traditional Thai elements. Initially, artists in Thailand were engaged in wall paintings with scenes from the life of the Buddha. Thai Buddha images from different eras have a number of distinctive features. The style of Thai artists had ethnic motifs. In the Middle Ages, the art of book miniature appeared in the country.

Traditional Thai paintings were painted without using perspective. The size of each element in the figure reflects its importance. The main technique of the composition is to place zones isolated from each other in the picture. Perspective in painting appeared as a result of the influence of Western culture in the middle of the 19th century. The monk painter Khrua of Khong was the first artist to use linear perspective in Thai painting.

The arts and crafts of Thailand has achieved mastery in ceramics, bone carving, wood carving, tortoiseshell shield, and fabric painting.



Before the formation of the first large Thai state of Sukhothai, the regions of Thailand (and from the 12th century the whole country) were part of the Mon and Khmer states of Bapnom, Dvaravati, Chenla and Kambujadesh. After the fall of Cambujadesh, the Thai states of Sukhothai, Ayutthaya and Bangkok became the main heirs of Cambodian culture, since there were no conditions for its development in Cambodia. Thai architecture originates from Cambodian.

The entire development of Thai artistic culture is associated with Buddhism, which in the Thai version also included some Hindu motifs. In monumental architecture, the main types of buildings are the stupa and the temple. Thai stupas go back to the Mon and Khmer prototypes (prasang, prasat, chedi; the prefix "pra" means "holy"). The basis for the development of temples is vekhan - a building with brick or stone columns and a wooden roof.

The most striking example of the architectural creativity of the Thais is the complex of temples and the Grand Royal Palace in Bangkok. The buildings located on the territory of the temples have a different form and meaning - these are usually sanctuaries, halls for religious ceremonies, libraries and schools. The walls can be decorated with scenes from the Hindu epic (“Ramakien”: King Rama 2 translated the Ramayana into Thai) and images of mythological animals. The sacred Bodhi tree is often found in the courtyard of monasteries. There are also numerous sculptures of mythical creatures with supernatural powers and guarding the monastery.

Although temple architecture in Thailand has changed over the years, all architectural styles follow the same principles. The Thai temple, with rare exceptions, consists of two parts: Phutta-wata and Sangha. Phutta-wata (Thai: พุทธาวาส) is a place dedicated to the Buddha. It includes several buildings:
Mandapa (Thai: มณฑป) is a square or cruciform building, a shrine in a Thai Buddhist temple or temple complex. Relics, sacred writings can be stored here. Unlike the Khmer or Indian temple mandapa, which are part of a larger structure, the Thai Mandapa is a stand-alone building.
Stupa (Thai เจดีย์) - built in the form of a bell tower, often covered with gold, a chamber is arranged here to house relics.
Prang (Thai: ปรางค์) is the Thai version of the Khmer tower temple, used in the temples of the Sukhothai and Ayutti periods.
Ubosot (Thai อุโบสถ or Thai โบสถ์) is the most sacred area of ​​the Wat. Eight Sema stones (ใบเสมา) mark the consecrated area.
Vihara (Thai: วิหาร) - in Thai temples, indicates the place where the main images of the Buddha are kept. This is the hall where the monks and the laity gather.
Ho trai (Thai: หอไตร) is a temple library or repository of scriptures. It is built in the form of a torus, a cubic building, where the pyramidal roof is supported by columns.
Sala (Thai: ศาลา) - an open shaded pavilion, a place to relax.
Sala kan parian (Thai: ศาลาการเปรียญ) is a large open hall where lay people listen to sermons or receive religious education. Used to say prayers in the afternoon.
Ho rakhang (Thai: หอระฆัง) is a bell tower used to wake monks and announce morning and evening ceremonies.
Phra rabiang (Thai: พระระเบียง) is built around a sacred inner area as a dwelling place.

Additionally, a crematorium or school is being built near the temple.

music and dancing
Modern Thai classical dance is divided into Khon, Lahon and Fon.

Khon mask theater and other classical Siamese dances originated in the kingdom of Ayutthaya. Khon was the oldest theatrical genre in the country. In the beginning, the Khon dance was performed only at the royal court. The theater troupe consisted only of men. The men also played the women's roles. There was also a female version of Khon - khon phu ying (Thai: โขน ผู้หญิง). To date, women also work in the Khon Theater.

During the performance, the actors of the theater do not pronounce the text, it is read behind the scenes. The performance is accompanied by the playing of the orchestra and the singing of the singers. All gestures and movements of the actors have a symbolic meaning. Excerpts from the Ramakien are played on stage. Initially, the Khon Royal Theater troupe performed outdoors without scenery. But by the middle of the 19th century, scenery, stage decorations appeared, and performances were given in the palace.

The music of Thailand includes classical and folk music traditions. Thai classical music developed about 800 years ago.

Luk thung and molam traditional music styles, cult Piphat music, which symbolizes the dance of dragons, are popular in Thailand.

Musical instruments are used to perform music: chin, zither (Jakhe), Klong Thap (goblet-shaped), Klong Kaek (barrel-shaped drum) and wooden sticks. Many composers recorded their works in musical notation. So the composer Luang Pradit Fairao (1881-1954) used local forms of music notation cipher to record music, Montri Tramot (1908-1995) used standard Western spelling.

In addition to Thai music, the Lao, Lava, Hmong, Akha, Khmer, Lisu, Karen, and Lahu ethnic minorities retain their traditional forms of music.



The basis of Thai cuisine is rice dishes. Rice is used for food with meat and fish, with seafood, etc. Different types of rice are grown here: white, black, red, fragrant, sticky. Another basis for Thai dishes is noodles, which can be wheat, rice, egg, mung bean flour, etc.

Thai curry (“kaeng”) is very common in the country. There are several types of curry prepared here: Yellow curry (Kaeng kari), northern Thai curry (Kaeng khae), green sweet curry (Kaeng khiao wan), sticky spicy curry (Kaeng phet), sour curry (Kaeng som), Muslim curry (Kaeng matsaman), curry noodle soup (Khao soi), creamy mild curry (Phanaeng), etc.

The most popular dishes in Thai cuisine are: spicy and sour Tom Yam soup; spicy papaya salad Som tam; Soup Tok Kha Kai (Tom Kha Kai) with coconut milk and chicken; buns with sausage Poh Piah Sod; pasta with Mi Krob sauce; grilled meat Yam Nua; rice noodles Pad thai, etc.

Cinema and Entertainment
Film production in Thailand appeared in the 30s of the XX century, before that films were shot episodically.

Since the end of the 20th century, a "new wave" of Thai cinema has been developing. Таиландские режиссёры Пен-Ек Ратанаруанг (тайск. เป็นเอก รัตนเรือง) и Апичатпонг Вирасетакун (тайск. อภิชาติพงศ์ วีระเศรษฐกุล) получили мировую известность, их фильмы номинируются на международных кинофестивалях. In 2010, film director Apichatpong Weerasethakun won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Famous Thai film actors are Tony Jaa, Meat Chaibancha, Metani Sombat. The following martial arts films gained fame: Ong Bak, Dragon's Honor, Chocolate, Ong Bak 2: Unrivaled, Ong Bak 3. Famous horror films: "Phobia", "Phobia 2". Notable Drama Movies: Bad Genius. Famous lakorns (Thai television series - soap operas): "Waves of Life", "My Lawful Husband". Famous singers and dancers: Pumpuang Duangchan, Tata Yang, Bam-Bam, Lisa Manoban.

The core of Thai folklore comes from ethnic religion. For a long time, folk beliefs were passed down from one generation to another orally. There are many spirits in Thai folklore: Mae Nak (แม่นาก), Pretas (เปรต), Nang Thani (นางตานี). The folk tales and legends of Thailand were used by the elders to educate the younger generation. Many of the fairy tales contain moral and moral lessons that instill respect for elders, parents and superiors. Tales about the spirit world teach children to be careful, stay at home at night, and respect local customs and rituals. Many Thai folk tales are based on Buddhist texts.

Artistic crafts
Thailand is famous for its folk art crafts. They are found everywhere - the largest centers of crafts in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Thailand is one of Asia's largest producers of silk and cotton products, furniture and carved wood products. The country sells ceramics, latex products, caskets, painted fans and umbrellas, bronze and brass products, Thai dolls, as well as jewelry made of silver and traditional Asian “yellow” gold with precious stones (rubies, emeralds, sapphires).

Thais live according to the Thai solar calendar (a variation of the Buddhist calendar), according to which their calendar begins from the day of the death of Buddha in 543 BC (thus, 2022 AD according to the Gregorian calendar corresponds to 2565 of the Buddhist era).



Thai boxing or Muay Thai (Thai: มวยไทย) is a Thai martial art derived from the ancient Thai martial art of Muay Boran. The term "muay" comes from the Sanskrit mavya and tai, meaning "duel of the free" or "free fight".

In modern Muay Thai, you can strike with fists, feet, shins, elbows and knees - because of this, Muay Thai is called the "fight of eight limbs." Muay Thai differs from karate or wushu by the absence of formal complexes (kata, taolu), they are replaced by basic ligaments of two or three strikes, sparring and work on “paws” and bags.

At home, Muay Thai became popular back in the 16th century, but this sport gained world fame only in the second half of the 20th century after Thai fighters won a number of impressive victories over representatives of other martial arts. Today, Muay Thai is still very popular in Thailand, where there is even a holiday - "National Muay Thai Boxing Day". Outside of Thailand, Muay Thai continues to grow in popularity, thanks in large part to the development of mixed martial arts, which heavily uses Muay Thai for standing up combat.