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Introduction

1.1 Geography

The Kingdom of Thailand, covering an area of 514,000 square kilometres, lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, roughly equidistant between India and China. It shares borders with Myanmar to the west and north, Lao P.D.R. to the north and northeast, Cambodia to the east and Malaysia to the south.

1.2 Topography

Thailand is divided into four distinct areas : the mountainous North, the fertile Central Plains, the semi-arid plateau of the Northeast, and the peninsula South, distinguished by its many beautiful tropical beaches and offshore islands.

1.3 Climate

Thailand lies within the humid tropics and remains hot throughout the year. Average temperatures are about 29oC, ranging in Bangkok from 35oC in April to 17oC in December. There are three seasons: the cool season (November to February), the hot season (April to May), and the rainy season (June to October),
though downpours rarely last more than a couple of hours.

1.4 Population

Thailand has a population of about 60 million. Ethnic Thais form the majority, though the area has historically been a migratory crossroads, and thus strains of Mon, Khmer, Burmese, Lao, Malay, Indian and most strongly, Chinese stock produce a degree of ethnic diversity. Integration is such, however, that culturally and socially there is enormous unity.

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