Monday, December 31, 2007

Thailand Facts #10

"It is possible to store the mind with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated".
Alec Bourne

• King Prajadhipok was the last absolute monarch in Thailand. He abdicated in 1935.

• Thailand’s first Prime Minister was Phraya Manopakonnitithada (1932 – 1933).

• 2,230 sq km of Thailand is water.

• An estimated 350,000 migrants will be naturalised as Thai citizens by 2009.

• Currently there are 54,000 NGV(natural gas for vehicles) vehicles in Thailand.
(Bangkok Post, December 26 2007)

• The traditional Thai units can be converted into metric units as follows: 1 picul = 60 kg; 1 catty = 600 grams (100 catty = 1 picul); 1 baht (named like the currency, used to weigh gold) = 15.16 grams; 1 carat = 20 centigrams (5 carat = 1 gram); 1 sen = 40 meters; 1 wah = 2 meters (20 wah = 1 sen); 1 sauk (¼ wah) = 0.50 meter; 1 keup (½ sauk) = 0.25 meter; 1 rai (1 sq sen) = 1,600 sq meters; 1 ngan (¼ rai) = 400 sq meters; 1 sq wah = 4 sq meters (100 sq wah = 1 ngan); 1 kwien = 2,000 liters; 1 ban = 1,000 liters (2 ban = 1 kwien); 1 sat = 20 liters (50 sat = 1 ban); 1 tannan = 1 liter (20 tannan = 1 sat).

• The Thai alphabet consists of 44 consonants and 32 vowels.

• The average amount spent per foreign tourist in Thailand for 2007 was 3,700 baht per person per day.
(Bangkok Post, December 26 2007)

• Thailand’s national unemployment rate is 2.1%
(CIA World Factbook, 2006 est)

• Short message service (SMS) traffic on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day is projected to surge to 100 million messages from about 62 million last year.
(Bangkok Post, December 29, 2007)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Thailand Facts #9

“Get your facts first, then you can distort them as much as you please”
Mark Twain

• King Phumiphon was born 5th December 1927. December 5 is an annual national holiday accordingly.

• The minimum daily wage in Bangkok is 191 baht.
(Thailand BOI)

• Thailand is about 1,000 km (620 miles) to the south of the Tropic Cancer.

• The number of speakers of Isan language (a derivative of Lao language) in Northeast Thailand is estimated to be between 15 million and 23 million.

• The population of Laos is 6,217,141.
(CIA World Fact Book, 2006 est.)

• The word for food and the word for rice in Thai language is the same: kao.

• 49% of Thailand’s workforce is engaged in agriculture.
(CIA World Factbook)

• The price of shares of PTT (Thailand’s largest company by market capitalization) has risen by 75% since December 31, 2006.

• Thailand shares an 803 km border with Cambodia.

• The inflation rate for Thailand for November 2007 year-on-year was 3%.
(CPI Index)

• Don Muang Bangkok Airport, which closed September 27, 2006 was the 18th busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic. It was 92 years old.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Thailand Facts #8

"Facts are stupid things".
Ronald Reagan

• King Mongkut (1851 to 1868) was the first monarch to allow his subjects to look directly at his face.

• Bangkok city size is 1,570 square kilometers.

• 5,395 people died in Thailand in the 2004 tsunami (2,059 Thais, 2,436 foreigners and 900 unidentified)
(Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department and Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre)

• 30% of Thailand’s forested area covers 30% of the country as opposed to 60% ten years ago.
(Bangkok Post, December 27 2007)

• Bangkok has about 7,400 tuk-tuks.
(Bangkok Post, December 26 2007)

• Tourist arrivals to Thailand in 2006 totaled 13.82 million. The figure for 2007 is expected to be 14.8 million and the target for 2008 is 15.5 million.
(Tourist Authority of Thailand)

• The number of registered hotels in Thailand is projected at 5,908 with 333,405 rooms for 2007.
(CB Richard Ellis Research)

• Thailand’s current account is expected to total $12 billion for 2007.
(Bangkok Post, December 27 2007)

• The SET's market capitalisation rose to 6.52 trillion baht as of Dec 25 2007. Daily trading volume averaged 18 billion baht.

• The number of foreign patients receiving medical treatment in Thailand is forecasted to be 1.54 million in 2007 up from 1.4 million in 2006.
(Commerce Ministry)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Thailand Facts #7

“Sir, we’ve come to ask you why such a strange animal as man was ever created.”
“Why are you concerned about that?” said the dervish. “Is it any of your business?”
“But, Reverend Father,” said Candide, “there’s a terrible amount of evil in the world.”
“What does it matter whether there is evil or good?” said the dervish. “When His Highness sends a ship to Egypt, does he worry about whether the mice in it are comfortable?”
“Then what ought we to do?” asked Pangloss.
“Keep quiet,” said the dervish.

• Thailand was an absolute monarchy until 1932 when a bloodless coup led to the country becoming a constitutional monarchy.

• 57,719 pickup trucks, cars and other vehicles were sold in November 2007.
(Bloomberg News)

• The median age in Thailand in 2007 is 32.4 years. The median age in 1980 was 19.5 years.
(CIA World Factbook)

• The Chao Phaya river which runs through Bangkok, is 365km long.

• Before the 1997 financial crisis the Baht was pegged to the US dollar at around 25 Baht.

• Thailand shares a 1,754km border with Laos.

• Bangkok was founded in 1782.

• There have been 18 military coups in Thailand’s modern history.

• Ranong is Thailand’s wettest province.

• After 40 years in the making and by the time it opened on September 28, 2006 the new Suvarnabhumi airport had cost Thailand Bt150 billion.
(The Nation, August 29 2006).

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thailand Facts #6

“There are lies, damned lies and statistics”.
Mark Twain

• The present monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was crowned king of Thailand in 1950.

• Chiang Mai province has approximately 25,000 hotel rooms.
(Tourism Authority of Thailand)

• Revenue from car and motorcycle exports for first 11 months of 2007 was 433.89 billion baht.
(Bangkok Post December 19, 2007)

• The current life expectancy in Thailand is 72.55 years.
(CIA World Factbook)

• Elephants consume around 200 litres of water a day.

• The country has a coastline of approximately 2,700 kilometres (1,143 miles) on the Gulf of Thailand and 865 kilometres (537 miles) along the Indian Ocean.

• More than 95 per cent of Thai people are followers of Theravada Buddhism.

• Thai exports for gems and jewellery for 2007 are predicted to total 170 billion baht.
(Bangkok Post December 23, 2007)

• By 1906 Thailand had ceded 456,000 square kilometres to colonial powers in order to preserve its independence.
(Thailand, A Short History, David K. Wyatt)

• Although ethnic Thais form the majority of the population, the Mon and Khmer people are believed to have arrived in the region before them.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Thailand Facts #5

“Chin had been studying Western banking assiduously. He had learned that Western banks accumulated large assets by attracting the small savings accounts of shopkeepers and farmers, paying low interest on these savings, then lending the money at high interest rates”.
Lords of the Rim,
Sterling Seagrave
(Chin Sophonpanich was the founder of Bangkok Bank)

• Before King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) died in 1910 he had sired seventy-five children

• Before 1880 the Thai Baht was valued at 8 Baht to 1 pound sterling.
(Thailand A Short History, David K. Wyatt)

• Thailand is the world’s second largest pick-up truck market after the United States

• The population of Thailand was estimated at 65,068,149 in July 2007.
(Thailand BOI)

• The longest north-south distance in the Thailand is about 1500km (930mi), the longest east-west distance about 800km (500mi).

• Thailand produces approximately 20 million tonnes of rubber tyres each year
(Bangkok Post, August 28 2006).

• Thailand grows and exports more durian fruit than any other country.

• Thailand is the 13th largest organic food producer in Asia.
(Bangkok Post, December 24 2007)

• In 1913 a law was passed in Thailand requiring all citizens to adopt surnames.

• The Mekong River, which forms a border between Thailand and Laos is 4335km long.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Thailand Facts #4

“…The most important of Taksin’s assets in those troubled times was a compelling personal charisma, an ability to convince others that he was indeed a ‘man of merit,’ one whose karma from previous existences and meritorious actions was so strong as to allow him to lead other men and vanquish all opponents…”
“…Monks who refused to bow to Taksin, to worship him as a god, were demoted in status, and hundreds were flogged and sentenced to menial labour.”
“…it is likely that by the end of 1781 some consensus had begun to emerge within the elite that Taksin had to be replaced – for the good of all, for the fate of Buddhism, for the future of Siam.”
“In their haste to correct Taksin’s excesses, few spared the time to consider his monumental accomplishments. At the very least, Taksin had provided the energetic leadership that Siamese had needed to pull themselves out of the dire straits into which they had fallen in 1767…”
Thailand, A Short History,
David K. Wyatt

• In 1767 an official by the name of Taksin defeated a sizeable Burmese force to establish a base in Thonburi on the Chao Phraya River. Taksin became the King of Thonburi and shortly after his reign the capital was moved across the river to what is now Bangkok.

• For Thai children over 1 year old, drowning and road accidents cause more deaths than all other diseases combined.
(Thai National Injury Survey 2007)

• Thailand has a 3,219km coastline.

• Thailand is the world's second largest sugar exporting country after Australia.

• The founding year of the nation of Siam (now Thailand) was 1238.

• Passenger traffic for Koh Samui airport: 2001= 755,961, 2006=1,430,000, 2007 est = 1,500,000
(Bangkok Post, December 23 2007)

• The music to the Thai national anthem was composed by Professor Phra Jenduriyang in 1932 (the year the Constitutional Monarchy was adopted.

• In 2006 there were 9,000 Thai restaurants in foreign countries. By 2008 this number is expected to expand to 20,000.
(MCOT News, September 5 2006)

• Thailand is located almost equidistant between India and China.

• The Thai national and royal symbol is the Garuda, a half-bird, half-human figure from Hindu mythology.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Thailand Facts #3

“So I left him, saying to myself as I went away: Well, although I do not suppose that either of us knows anything really beautiful and good. I am better off than he is – for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows; I neither know nor think I know. In this latter particular, then, I seem to have slightly the advantage over him”. Apology, The Dialogues of Plato

• Before King Mongkuk (Rama IV) ascended the throne in 1851 he had spent twenty-seven years of his life as a Buddhist monk.

• Thailand’s exports for the first 11 months of 2007 have risen 17.4% year-on-year to $139.21 billion.
(Bangkok Post, December 22 2007)

• An average of 16 children die everyday in Thailand from injury.
(Thai National Injury Survey 2007)

• The coolest province in Thailand is Loei in the northeast.

• Thailand shares a 506km border with Malaysia.

• The three largest islands in Thailand are Phuket, Koh Chang and Koh Samui in that order.

• The average speed of a car in Bangkok is 7kph.
(The Nation, August 31 2006)

• Elephants can live for over 80 years.

• For the first 10 months of 2007 a total number of 655,154 Chinese tourists visited Thailand down from 747,067 for the same period of 2006.
(Tourism Authority of Thailand)

• On the Thai national flag, the inner wide blue band represents the monarchy. The white bands symbolize Buddhism and the outer red bands the people or the nation.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Thailand Facts #2

“To know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge”.
The Analects

• King Mongkut (Rama IV) and his son Chularlongkorn were both infected with malaria during an expedition to Malaysia in 1868 to witness a solar eclipse. King Mongkut died from the disease the same year and his son, who recovered, inherited the throne (Rama V).

• Fourth-quarter economic growth is projected to reach 5.5%, according to Finance Minister Chalongphob Sussangkarn.
(Bangkok Post, December 22 2007)

• Thailand and Burma share a 1,800km border.

• An average of 2,650 children drown each year in Thailand.
(Thai National Injury Survey 2007)

• The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TOT) is targeting to attract 15 million international tourists for 2007.

• Until 1939 Thailand was called Siam.

• The average yearly rainfall in Bangkok is 140cm (56in).

• Bangkok’s full name is Krungthepmahanakhon Amornrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharat Ratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphiman Awatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit.

• The official retirement age for the civil service in Thailand is 60.

• 72% of Thailand's fuel for electricity production comes from gas.
(Bangkok Post, June 26 2006).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thailand Facts #1

"'Facts', broke in Heyst in his courtly voice. ‘There’s nothing worth knowing but facts. Hard facts! Facts alone, Mr Tesman’
I don’t know if old Tesman agreed with him or not, but he must have spoken about it, because, for a time, our man got the name of ‘Hard Facts’”

Victory, Joseph Conrad

• The King of Thailand, is the world’s longest current living head of state behind Queen Elizabeth 2nd of England and Fidel Castro of Cuba.

• Thailand is the world’s largest exporter of rice.

• Thailand is the third largest market behind Japan and the US for the 7-11 convenience store chain.

• Thailand is roughly the same size as France (513,115sq km).

• Years in Thailand are counted from the beginning of the Buddhist Era, which began 543 years earlier than the Christian Era. Therefore, according to the Thai calender, the year 2007 is 2550.

• Thailand has 76 provinces

• According to a 2005 government survey 43% of the labour force in Thailand is engaged in agriculture.

• Doi Inthanon at 2,595m (8,514ft) is Thailand's highest mountain.

• Until 1917 a white elephant appeared on the national flag of Thailand.

• In 1940, Thailand moved its New Year’s Day from April 13 to January 1.