The Kingdom of Thailand is popularly known as Thailand and was previously known as Siam. It is geographically located within the Indochinese peninsula on the continent of Asia. Thailand is the world’s 20th populous country with an estimated population of 69 million, and the 50th largest country with an area of 198,120 sq miles. To the east of Thailand are the states of Laos and Cambodia, to the west is the Andaman Sea, to the North are Myanmar and Laos while to the south are the Gulf of Thailand and the state of Malaysia. The capital city of Thailand is Bangkok.
Geography of Thailand
Thailand lies at the heart of South-East Asia. It is located at 15°00′N 100°00′E. Thailand claims the only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore. At its northernmost point is the infamous golden triangle; the country’s border with both Myanmar and Laos. The state is made up of four main regions. The mountainous northern region is home to several temples and ruins, the country’s highest peak, Doi Inthanon, and the ancient town of Chieng Mai. The region is home to the several ethnic groups who migrated from Central China and Tibet several thousand years ago. The semi-arid Korat plateau lies at the north-east end of Thailand. The plateau is the most desolate part of the country. The central part of the country is characterized by fertile plains. It is densely populated and the country’s food basket. The capital city of Bangkok is located along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. The southern region of the country is characterized by tropical islands and exquisite beaches that stretch for hundreds of miles.
Thailand’s climate is categorized as tropical savanna climate. The country’s eastern and western tips are, however, classified as tropical monsoon climate. The northeast and southwest monsoon winds influence the climate of Thailand. Between May and August, the southwestern monsoon from the Indian Ocean blows warm and moist air, causing heavy rains. Between October and February northeast winds from China blow dry and cold air over Thailand. The annual rainfall is between 47 to 63 in, but certain areas such as Trat and Ranong provinces record rainfall in excess of 180 inches.
Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and Malaysia are the only countries that border Thailand. Natural features demarcate a large section of the boundaries many of which were mapped in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. However, boundaries along the border with Cambodia and Laos are still disputed. In 1962, the ownership of the Prasat Preah Vihear was disputed by Thailand and Cambodia, and although the International Court of Justice ruled against Thailand, the dispute continues to date. The Mekong river demarcates the Thailand-Laos border. However, the river breaks its banks during the heavy rains and covers a large area. During the low rains, the river reveals several mud banks, sandbanks, and islands which are claimed by Laos. The border with Malaysia is often disputed due to the presence of minerals, and fishing activities. As recently as 2004, a contested stretch less than one mile at the mouth of the Kolok River nearly led to a full-scale conflict