Formally known as “Siam,” the Kingdom of Thailand is located in Southeast Asia at the center of the Indochina Peninsula. It is bordered by Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia.
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, headed by the recently-crowned King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The previous king, King Rama IX, reigned since 1946. King Rama IX was the world’s longest-serving current head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history. King Adulyadej was appointed in 2016. The King of Thailand is titled Head of State, Head of the Armed Forces, Adherent of Buddhism, and Upholder of religions.
Highly revered, the king’s picture is everywhere. When you see a movie in Thailand the entire theater stands up and sings the national anthem while looking at the king. Negative comments or jokes about the king are seen as extremely rude and, in many cases, illegal.
Thailand’s landmass is larger than California but smaller than Texas or France. With 64 million people, Thailand is the 20th most-populous country in the world. The capital and largest city in Thailand is Bangkok, which is not only the political, commercial, industrial, and cultural hub but also a world city.
Approximately 75% of Thailand’s population is ethnically Thai, 14% Chinese, and 3% is ethnically Malay. The primary religion is Buddhism, which is practiced by around 95% of the population.
Thailand experienced rapid economic growth between 1985 and 1996 and is considered a newly industrialized country and a major exporter. Tourism is a large segment of the Thai economy.
Campers will find Thailand fascinating. The warmth of its culture, natural beauty, and economic sophistication can at times seem at odds with ubiquitous poverty. Bold Earth’s community service projects provide campers a first-hand look into the diverse livelihoods of Thailand’s people while also providing hope for the future.