Thailand is a country in South East Asia. Its neighboring countries are Cambodia on the east, Burma (now called Myanmar) on the west, Laos on the north, and Malaysia on the south. The main river in Thailand is the Chao Phraya River which flows south out of the Mae Nam River. The word nam means water in Thai. Most of the rivers in Thailand start with Mae Nam something. For example: Mae Nam Ping, Mae Nam Yom, Mae Nam Wang, Mae Nam Songkram, Mae Nam Ngao, Mae Nam Tapi and Many others. The Chao Phraya River (pronounced chow pee-ah) starts near the city of Singha Buri and flows south through Bangkok, the capital, and into the Gulf of Siam (Aowthai).
The country of Thailand is a little bit less than 200,000 square miles in area. Texas is relatively the same size as Thailand. The size of Massachusetts is 8,000 square miles. That makes Thailand 25 times bigger than Massachusetts. The entire United States, however, is about 3.6 million square miles or 450 times bigger than Thailand.
Thailand’s population is 57,200,000 people. The population of the United States is 260,000,000 people. That means that the United States has 4 1/2 times more people than Thailand. Thailand’s population density is 285 people per square mile. The population density of the United States is 72.22 people per square mile. Thailand, even though it has a much smaller population and land area than the United States, has a much greater population density. The population of Massachusetts is 6,000,000 people or 9.53 times smaller than Thailand. Massachusetts population density is 750 people per square mile. Massachusetts population density is about 2.75 times larger tha that of Thailand.
The climate of Thailand is mainly sub tropical. Thailand has a mild winter, hot dry spring, hot wet summer, and jumps straight into winter again with no fall. This climate covers most of the northern part of Thailand. On the peninsula that juts out on the southern side the climate becomes totally tropical with a hot, wet, year-long summer.
The capital of Thailand is Bangkok which is located in the middle of the Central Region on the Gulf of Siam. Bangkok is Know as the “Venice of the east” because of its many canal/streets. On one of these canals is the famous floating market. The floating market is a place where people bring their boats full of produce or souvenirs or whatever they are selling. The tourists and other citizens then buy their wares. Bangkok is also famous for its many Buddhist temples and the Royal Palace. The three most famous temples are the Wat Phra Keo (Royal Chapel of the Emerald Buddha), the Wat Po (Reclining Buddha), and, across the river, the Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). The word wat means temple in Thai. The picture on the cover is of the Wat Phra Keo. The two statues are garudas (temple guards). The Wat Po (Reclining Buddha) actually has a giant statue of a god lying down.
Chieng Mai (chang my), the next largest city to Bangkok, has a population of about 160,000 people. Bangkok has a population of 5,500,000 people. That means that Bangkok is 34.4 times larger than the next largest city. When the first largest city is much bigger than the second largest city this is called urban primacy. Thailand is the best example of urban primacy in the world. This is why Thailand has only one other major city; all the other cities have under 100,000 people in them. It is also the capital of the North Region. Chieng Mae is located near the top-center of the North Region of Thailand.
95% of the Thai population is Buddhist. People who follow the Buddhist religion are almost all very orthodox in their ways. They believe that pain and evil are caused by desire and that to conquer desire is to attain Nirvana. Nirvana is the highest attainable state of bliss in Buddhism, in which all desire and suffering are extinguished and the soul is absorbed into the supreme universal soul. The other 5% of the people are Moslems or followers of Islam. They face the holy city of Mecca and pray five times a day. They believe that if they die in a jihad (holy war) then they will go straight to heaven. Another way to get a “free ticket” to heaven is to make a trip to the holy city of Mecca sometime during their life. For one month out of the year they fast for Ramadan.
The major language of Thailand is of course Thai. The secondary language is Chinese. Many of the merchants in Thailand are Chinese. Few of the people speak both or anything else except for the tourists.
The main unit of currency used in Thailand is the baht. One baht is equal to 3.9 cents. This is what it was called since 1912. Before then the name for a baht was tical. 100 satangs equal 1 baht or 1 tical.
Thailand has a constitutional monarchy for its govornment. A constitutional monarchy is when a country has a king and/or queen primarily for ceremonial reasons. He/She/They don’t rule by law but by influence. The literacy rate in Thailand is 90% of the females, 96% of the males, and 93% everage.
Rice is the major agricultural product of Thailand. Thailand also grows corn, tapioca, and sugarcane. Almost 60% of the people of Thailand are farmers. As recently as 1970, the people of Thailand were 80% farmers. Despite this recent decline, farming is still definitely a major occupation of the people of Thailand. Thailand has a very large, flat, central lowland region. This is perfect for growing rice because rice paddies need to be flooded for the rice to grow. Putting rice paddies in flat lowlands keeps the water from flowing downhill and away from the rice. The United States most likely does not import agricultural products from Thailand because we can get them from other, closer countries. We do however import many manufactured goods from Thailand because of its inexpensive labor force.
Thailand mines antimony, tin, tungsten, iron ore, and natural gas. Thailand manufactures textiles, wood products, shoes, baseball gloves and other sporting goods, and cheap plastic toys you can buy in the Stop & Shop toy aisle. The United States imports almost all of these because they are sold so cheaply. They are so inexpensive because the Thai people work for next to nothing – mabye $6.00 a week. $6.00 X 52 weeks = $312. So how can the per capita G.N.P. be $1,570? This is because these type of jobs are done only by a small part of the Thai population. Alot of Thai people have better paying jobs which brings the average up to what it is. One of these higher paying jobs is swiftlet nest collecting. This is what my current event article is about. The nests are sold for $1,000 a pound and used for making birds nest soup. Scientists have also discovered that these nests may hold a cure to the disease of AIDS.
There are many famous places in Thailand like the Wat Po temple. It is a highly visited place by tourists because of its giant statue of a Buddhist god. Another great tourist attraction is the Temple of the Dawn (the Wat Arun). When people hear its name they think its neat and its a very beautiful temple besides that. Another nice spot to tour is the floating market. It is called that because that is what it is. A whole bunch of wide canoe-type boats filled with produce or souvenires are paddling around selling their stuff. In a James Bond movie there was a “boat chase” here.
The current king of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, was born in 1927 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He and his father both graduated from Harvard University. Bhumibol Plays the saxiphone and had a stamp made in honor of his 60th birthday in 1987. He is 67 years old.
The current event article that I found is from National Geographic. It is called Nest Gatherers of Tiger Cave. It was written by Eric Valli who went climbing with three Thai nest gatherers. Eric, Ip, Sahat, and Em, Sahat’s son were on the island of Phi Phi which is a few miles off the center of Thailand’s southern peninsula. The three Thai men do this for a living.
Visiting Thailand would be so awesome because I could go climbing in these caves and paddle a little boat down the canal/streets and see all the Buddhist temples.
Thailand’s standard of living is kind of low in some parts and very low in others. The children only have 6 years of compulsory schooling. That’s a 5th grade educationhere in the U.S. The per capita G.N.P. is only $1,630. The U.S. per capita G.N.P. is $22,240 or almost twenty times that of Thailand. The life expectancy is 69 years. In the U.S. it’s 76 years. The infant mortality rate is 35 out of every 1,000 compared with 9 in the U.S. 59% of the population are farmers. For every 5,000 people there is 1 physician. In the U.S. there are 13 physicians for every 5,000 people. In Thailand in 1970 there were 35 students per teacher. In the U.S. there were 27 students per teacher in 1970.