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Travellers' Tales from Thailand


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[ 2008-03-22 10:30:37 ] - lizc

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Travellers' Tales - Thailand

A unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century. Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy.

In alliance with Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US ally following the conflict.

Thailand is currently facing armed violence in its three Muslim-majority southernmost provinces.

Thailand has a well developed infrastructure, a free-enterprise economy, and welcomes foreign investment.

Thailand has fully recovered from the 1997-98 Asian Financial Crisis and was one of East Asia's best performers in 2002-04. Increased consumption and investment spending and strong export growth pushed GDP growth up to 6.9% in 2003 and 6.1% in 2004 despite a sluggish global economy. The highly popular government's expansionist policy, including major support of village economic development, has raised concerns about fiscal discipline and the health of financial institutions. Bangkok has pursued preferential trade agreements with a variety of partners in an effort to boost exports and maintain high growth, and in 2004 began negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement with the US.

In late December 2004, a major tsunami took 8,500 lives in Thailand and caused massive destruction of property in the southern provinces of Krabi, Phangnga, and Phuket.

Despite the tsunami, Thailand's tourist industry flourishes.


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