Reaching out to the Thai people
with truth and hope

Thailand is located in a
fertile monsoon belt midway
between India and China.
Unlike her immediate
neighbors; Burma
(Myanmar), Laos, Cambodia
(Kampuchea), and Malaysia;
the country never fell to a
European colonial power.
The country is divided into
four main regions with many
differences between the people and the dialects.  The North is an area
of forested mountains where hill-tribe minorities coexist with
mainstream society. In the South, the narrow Kra Peninsula presents a
1500 mile coastline with a hilly interior of rain forests and rubber
plantations. Malay-Muslim culture is a major influence here. Between
these two extremes are the Central Plains, the cradle of Thai
civilization and a fertile, rice-growing region. Near the mouth of the
Chao Phraya River, the capital, Bangkok (with a population of
approximately 12,000,000), sprawls even further each year.  Different
again is Northeast Thailand (also widely known as Issan), the poorest
part of the country, its eastern border with Laos defined by the Mekong
River. Thailand is the world’s largest producer of natural rubber and
the world's largest exporter of rice. The country also exports tapioca,
cane sugar, coconuts, fruit, pineapple, flowers, orchids, hard and soft
wood, fish, shrimp, squid, tin, and various gemstones such as rubies
and sapphires. But tourism is now the single largest foreign exchange
earner in Thailand. The concept of the extended family is important in
Thailand.  Elders are always accorded respect within families and in
society. A constitutional monarchy, the king is revered almost as much
as when kings were chakravatin, or “lords of life.” Kingship and
religion are inextricably linked in Thailand. At least 90 percent of Thais
practice Theravada Buddhism. However, Thai practice incorporates
many Hindu, Tantric, and Mahayana Buddhist influences.  Animist
beliefs in spirits and the magical, and in astrology are also widespread.  
Thais believe that Buddhism is one of three forces that give their
kingdom its strength, the other two being the monarchy  and
About Thailand

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