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General Info
Economy l Geography l History l Miscellaneous l People l Religion

With an average growth rate of 8.5% for the past several years, Thailand has been touted as the next nation to join that exclusive club of the Newly Industrializing Countries (NIC).

Situated in Southeast Asia, Thailand is predominantly a Buddhist kingdom almost equidistant from India and China. Known by outsiders as Siam for centuries, Thailand (the land of smiles), has been something of a Southeast Asian migratory, cultural, and religious crossroads.

Archeological discoveries around the northeast hamlet of Ban Chiang suggests that the world's oldest Bronze Age civilization had flourished in Thailand some 5,600 years ago.

Spoken and written Thai remain largely incomprehensible to the casual visitor. However, English is widely understood, particularly in Bangkok where it is also the major commercial language. English and other European languages are spoken in most hotels, shops, restaurants, and major tourist destinations. Thai-English road and street signs are also found everywhere.

Throughout her long history, Thailand has absorbed immigrants. Many were skilled as writers, painters, sculptors, dancers, musicians, and architects. These immigrants helped to enrich Thailand's indigenous culture. Thailand's minorities include the Chinese, Thai Malays, and the Laotian.

Throughout its history, Thailand has been characterized by its tolerance for alien religions and beliefs. Although census records that 94% of its populace are Theravada Buddhists, the country has always extended religious freedom to its subjects.

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