Thailand is among the strongest of the 10 Southeast Asian nations as proven by their past performances. From regular winners in the regional tournaments, the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games (1995, 1997, 1999) and the Asean Football Federation’s Tiger Cup (1996), Thailand tried hard to break into the next level – Asia. By the 90s, Thailand was already doing just that and made the 1992 and 1996 final rounds of the Asian Cup but found the going tough on both occasions.Thailand has produced some skillful players, some of whom have ventured beyond the borders of the country. Some have headed for the more lucrative professional leagues within the region while some have even headed for the English League. Star striker Kiatisuk Senamuang was one of them and was signed by a first division side in 1999.


Fast Facts
Climate: The weather varies from hot and humid to cool and breezy. From November through to February, the weather is cool and it gets a lot better as you move northwards up to Chiang Mai. These cool conditions will fizzle out around the end of March when the temperature starts to rise. This will go on for about three months up to around early June when it’s time to bring out the raincoats for the next three months.

Geography: From the Isthmus of Kra bordering Malaysia on the south, Thailand rises to the north where it has Myanmar on its western and northern frontiers while Cambodia lies on the western flank. Laos’s border with Thailand runs along the east up to the north where it meets Myanmar at the Golden Triangle. Beautiful islands dot the long coasts along the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea on the west.

Population: Many ethnic groups, from the hill tribes in the north to the Malays in the south, make up Thailand’s healthy population of over 60 million. As in the case of most countries, Thai people are also drawn to the major cities and the booming resorts in search of the employment opportunities that are available.

Economy: Tourism and agriculture contribute to the nation’s economy in a huge way. The tourism industry has expanded rapidly and the Thai government has done all it can to help this sector of the economy. Each year, more and more tourists flock to Thailand to visit the beautiful islands, resorts and forest reserves the country has to offer.

Religion: The majority of Thais practice Buddhism. Temples are a common sight all around the country. It is normal for young men to join monasteries at some point of their lives. Down the southern reaches of Thailand, there are large Muslim communities, many of whom have strong family links to people in Malaysia.

Language: Thai is the official language and spoken throughout the country. Many of the hill tribes have their own languages as well while Malay is also spoken in the south. Many Thais also speak English.

Currency: The currency unit used in Thailand is Bhat. (US$1 equals 38B)