Article

About Tailandia

Tailandia

Tailandia

Thailand, located in Southeast Asia and sharing borders with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (formerly Burma), and Malaysia, is a monarchy ruled by the Chakri Dynasty (in power since the 18th century). This fascinating Buddhist country, whose land is dotted with temples, statues and other historical sites, is populated mainly by the Tai people (who arrived in the territory known today as Thailand during the medieval period) – having once been part of the Khmer Empire.

 

Given Thailand’s geographic location, the arrival of other ethnic groups into its territory — from the Chinese, to Indians, and Malaysians — influenced the country over time. Nevertheless, Thailand has the distinction of being the only Southeast Asian country that was never colonized by the Europeans. The Chakri Dynasty (under Rama I – the King of Siam) prevented the Burmese from invading his country during the Burmese-Siamese War of 1785, and eventually conducted trade with various European commercial interests, but due to circumstance was never invaded by western powers.

The British, which by the 19th century colonized Burma, and the French, which held Cambodia and Indochina – now Vietnam, opted to maintain Thailand as a neutral territory.

 

Since then, major historical events in Thailand included the Siamese revolution of 1932 – which transformed that country’s government from that of an absolute monarch to a constitutional one. In January 1941, the Franco-Thai War was fought – resulting in the French handing over territories once held by Thailand (and previously incorporate into Cambodia) by May of that year (done with diplomatic intervention by the Japanese). Interestingly, the Japanese themselves invaded Thailand (along with nearby Malaysia) by the end of that year.

 

The post-World War II period was dominated by Thailand’s positive relationship with the USA (presumably over Washington’s interest in keeping that country a bastion of anti-Communism, especially during the Vietnam War period of the 1960s & 1970s, and Cambodia’s period of Communist rule during the 1970s & 1980s). Given Thailand’s generally positive relationship with USA and other western countries in recent times, tourism (along with manufacturing and agriculture) became the major players of that country’s economy.

 

With tourism acting as 6% of the country’s GDP (with 22 million foreigners arriving in 2012), Thailand drew in that year over 2 million from both Malaysia and China, while travelers from Korea, Japan, India and Russia each reached or exceeded 1 million. This, while 870,000 visitors arrived from the UK, 931,000 arrived from Australia, and 1.1 million from USA. Along with tourism campaigns launched by Thailand’s Tourism Authority, some international media exposure (such as the Hollywood hit film “The Hangover Part II” taking place in Bangkok, and the Leonardo DiCaprio film “The Beach” featuring popular Thai beach resort areas) also helped spur international interest in Thailand as a tourist destination.