IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


23rd August, 2023 Geography

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The political developments in Thailand, focusing on the rise of Srettha, a political newcomer, and the return of Thaksin Shinawatra, a prominent figure in Thai politics.

About Thailand

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  • Thailand, officially known as the Kingdom of Thailand, is a Southeast Asian country renowned for its rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cities.
  • It is often referred to as the "Land of Smiles" due to the friendly nature of its people.

Geography and Landscape

  • Situated in the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand shares borders with Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia.
  • The country features diverse landscapes, including lush jungles, rolling hills, pristine beaches, and bustling urban centers.
  • The northern region is home to the rugged mountains of the Thai highlands, including the famous Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in Thailand.
  • The fertile central plains are home to the Chao Phraya River, around which the country's agricultural heartland is located.
  • Thailand boasts stunning coastal areas along the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, offering beautiful beaches and tropical islands.

Cultural Heritage

  • Buddhism plays a significant role in Thai culture. Temples (known as "wats") are spread across the country, with Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok being one of the most revered.
  • Festivals like Songkran (Thai New Year) and Loy Krathong (Festival of Lights) showcase traditional customs, music, dance, and vibrant celebrations.
  • Renowned globally, Thai cuisine is known for its balance of flavors, including sweet, sour, spicy, and salty. Dishes like Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong, and Green Curry are popular favorites.

Cities and Urban Life

  • Bangkok: The bustling capital city is a vibrant metropolis known for its ornate temples, bustling markets (like Chatuchak), and vibrant street life. It's a mix of modern skyscrapers and historic sites.
  • Chiang Mai: Located in the north, it's known for its ancient temples, night bazaars, and nearby mountainous landscapes.
  • Phuket: Thailand's largest island is famous for its stunning beaches, water sports, and vibrant nightlife.
  • Krabi: This province features dramatic limestone cliffs, clear waters, and is a gateway to the famous Railay Beach.

Tourism and Attractions

  • Historical Sites: Ayutthaya Historical Park and Sukhothai Historical Park are UNESCO World Heritage Sites known for their ancient ruins and historical significance.
  • Floating Markets: Places like Damnoen Saduak offer a glimpse into traditional Thai commerce, with vendors selling goods from boats.
  • Elephant Sanctuaries: Thailand is known for its elephant sanctuaries that focus on ethical and responsible interactions with these animals.
  • Full Moon Parties: The island of Koh Phangan hosts these legendary beach parties, drawing revelers from around the world.

Challenges and Modernization

  • While tourism contributes significantly to the economy, issues like over tourism and environmental impact have arisen.
  • Thailand has experienced periods of political instability, with a history of military coups and protests.
  • The country has seen substantial economic growth and modernization, particularly in urban centers.
  • Balancing modernization with the preservation of cultural traditions is an ongoing challenge.


Q)  Consider the following statements about Thailand:

  1. Thailand is surrounded by five countries: Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Malaysia.
  2. The full name of Bangkok is Krung Thep Maha Nakhon.

Select the correct statements using the code below:

(a)    1 only

(b)    2 only

(c)     Both 1 and 2

(d)    Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C