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Thailand's Geography  


Thailand, known for centuries as Siam,  is now officially known as the Kingdom of Thailand.  Thailand is found in Southeast Asia surrounded by Myanmar to its north and west, Laos on its northeast, Cambodia and the Gulf of Thailand on its southeast and by Malaysia and Myanmar on its south and southwest, respectively.

The largest city in Thailand is Bangkok, with about 5.5 million people living there in 1992.  In addition to being the largest city, Bangkok has the distinction of being the capital of Thailand as well as the chief seaport.

Dominating Thailand's terrain are mountainous areas, which can be found all through the country.  Taking up a third of Thailand is the Khorat Plateau, a flat, barren plateau that borders the Mekong River valley.  The main river in Thailand, Chao Phraya, goes through an alluvial plain that is sandwiched between the central and western mountains.  This plain, along with a fertile delta near Bangkok, which was created by the Chao Phraya, is the most productive agricultural part of Thailand, and is the most densely populated.

Monsoon winds have an impact on Thailand's tropical climate.  When the winds come from the southwest, the temperatures are usually a little higher and more humid (ranging from 78 -98 degrees F), while the northeastern winds bring the temperature down a little (ranging from 56 - 92 degrees F).  Rainfall is more likely during the summer months of June through October, and the average rainfall varies from region to region.  In the northern, central and western regions, about 1500 mm is expected, while the Thai section of the Malay peninsula usually gets over 2500 mm.  The Khorat Plateau gets the least rainfall with about 1270 mm or less per year.


Location:
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma
Geographic coordinates:
15 00 N, 100 00 E
Map references:
Southeast Asia
Area:
total: 513,120 sq km
country comparison to the world: 50
land: 510,890 sq km
water: 2,230 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming
Land boundaries:
total: 4,863 km
border countries: Burma 1,800 km, Cambodia 803 km, Laos 1,754 km, Malaysia 506 km
Coastline:
3,219 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate:
Current Weather
tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid
Terrain:
central plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
highest point: Doi Inthanon 2,576 m
Natural resources:
tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 27.54%
permanent crops: 6.93%
other: 65.53% (2005)
Irrigated land:
49,860 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
409.9 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 82.75 cu km/yr (2%/2%/95%)
per capita: 1,288 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards:
land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts
Environment - current issues:
air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore

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