Geography and Climate
Thailand is the world’s 50th largest country, with a total area of 513,120 sq km. Located at the center of Southeast Asia along the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, the country shares borders with the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Cambodia to the east, Myanmar to the north and west, and Malaysia to the south.
Thailand’s capital is Bangkok, a sprawling metropolis home to 10 million people. Other major cities are Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat) in central Thailand and Chiang Mai in the north. In addition to Bangkok and Chiang Mai, major tourist destinations include Phuket in the south and Pattaya on the country’s eastern seaboard.
Thailand’s climate is tropical, high in both temperature and humidity, with the north and northeast generally cooler than Bangkok in winter and hotter in summer. April and May are the hottest months of the year, and the rainy season extends from June until the end of October. From November to the end of February, the climate is much cooler and less humid.
The Thai economy is export-oriented, with exports of goods and services equivalent to over 60% of GDP. Thailand is blessed with abundant agricultural crops, including rice, cassava, maize, rubber and sugarcane, and this enables the country to be among the top net food exporters in the world.
Successive Thai governments have adhered to a free-enterprise economic model, which combined with pro-investment policies and a well-developed infrastructure, has attracted significant amounts of foreign direct investment.
The Thai economy, which grew by an average of more than 5 percent per year prior to the 2008-2009 global financial meltdown, has recovered strongly. GDP is expected to grow by 7-8 percent in 2010, in large part due to increased demand for Thai-manufactured vehicles, electronics, electrical appliances, and agricultural products.
|Thai GDP Growth
The population of Thailand, estimated at 67.2 million. The Thai workforce exceeds 38 million, with the majority under 35 years of age. Many standard labor practices apply, including mandatory severance packages, and overtime payments for work in excess of normal hours.
The minimum wage in Thailand is 206 baht per day in Bangkok and slightly less in the provinces. Thailand’s workforce is among the most cost-efficient in the world, and has earned a reputation for diligence and adaptability.