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Administrative regions of Thailand

Thailandis divided into 76 provinces (changwat) and a special administrative district Bangkok. Some Thai people still regard their capital as the 77th province as it used to be before 1972.

As a matter of fact, the city of Los Angeles in the US state of California is jokingly called «the 78th Thai province» since it is a home for about 200,000 Thai.

The Land of Smiles consists of Northern, Central, Southern and Eastern Thailand, and Isan administrations that are further subdivided into provinces. As a rule, provinces are named after their largest metropolitan areas.

Northern Thailand encompasses 17 provinces: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nakhon Sawan, Nan, Phayao, Phetchabun, Phitsanulok, Phichit, Phrae, Sukhothai, Tak, Uttaradit and Uthai Thani.

Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are the largest and the most densely populated provinces. Chiang Mai has 1,708,564 residents that occupy the territory of 20,107 sq. km. The Chiang Rai province has 1,157,302 inhabitants that populate the area of 11,678.4 sq. km.

Isan comprises 20 provinces: Amnat Charoen, Buriram, Bueng Kan, Chaiyaphum, Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Loei, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nong Bua Lamphu, Nong Khai, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, Sisaket, Surin, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani and Yasothon. The Nakhon Ratchasima province holds leadership in square area and population: it occupies 20,494 sq km and accommodates 2,522,251 people (ranked 2nd among Thai provinces); thus being called «the gate to Isan» for a valid reason.

Central Thailand consists of 19 provinces: Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Big Bangkok (special administrative area), Chainat, Kanchanaburi, Lopburi, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi, Ratchaburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Sing Buri and Suphan Buri. The central part of the Land of Smiles is undoubtedly dominated by Big Bangkok. This area includes the capital — the city of Bangkok itself — and five neighboring provinces, e.g. Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Pathum Thani, Samut Sakhon and Nakhon Pathom. Over 15,1 million people, e.g. about 16% of the total population, live in Big Bangkok on the territory of 7,761.5 sq. km.

Eastern Thailand, which is so familiar to those who live in Pattaya, unites only 7 provinces: Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi, Chonburi, Prachinburi, Rayong, Sa Kaeo and Trat. Of these, Chonburi is the largest and the most densely populated area: 1,554,365 residents occupy the territory of 4,363 sq. km.

Southern Thailandis divided into 14 provinces: Chumphon, Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Pattani, Phang Nga, Phatthalung, Phuket, Ranong, Satun, Songkhla, Surat Thani, Trang and Yala.

The most populous provinces in the south are Nakhon Si Thammarat (1,449,387 people on the area of 9,943 sq km) and Surat Thani (1,005,475 inhabitants on the area of 12,892 sq km).

According to the latest data, the total population of Thailand equals to 65,479,454 residents and the total area is 513,827 sq km.

Each province is further divided into districts (amphoe), the total number of which achieves ca. 1000. These administrative entities are further subdivided into subdistricts (tambon). Each province has grown around a capital city (amphoe mueang). Bangkok represents a special case: each metropolitan district is called khet and consists of subdistricts named khwaeng. The latter comprise municipalities (mumban).

There are three levels of mumbans:

  •  - a city municipality (thesaban nakhon) with more than 50,000 inhabitants and population density of more than 3,000 per sq. km.;
  •  - a town municipality (thesaban mueang) with more than 10,000 residents and population density of more than 3,000 per sq. km.;
  •  - a subdistrict municipality (thesaban tambon) with more than 5,000 inhabitants and population density of more than 1,500 per sq. km.

The Chonburi province is located in the eastern part of Thailand and is populated by 1,554,365 people, thus ranked 7th among Thai provinces. The total area of Chonburi equals to 4,363 sq km.

Chonburi neighbors the Chachoengsao province to the north, the Chanthaburi province to the east and Rayong to the south. To the west from Chonburi lies the northern part of the Gulf of Thailand, also known as the Gulf of Bangkok. The city of Chonburi is the capital of the province and is located in less than one-hour-long car-drive away from Bangkok. Pattaya, which has become a mecca for tourists, is the province’s most famous city. Chonburi is subdivided into 11 districts, furthermore into 92 subdistricts and 691 municipalities.

A fertile flatland lies in the northern part of the province and has been used for agricultural purposes from olden times. Manioka, coconuts and sugar cane are cultivated in here.

In addition, Chonburi is a centre of fishing industry on Thailand East Coast. Hundreds of tons of fish and seafood are harvested over here.

The province is conveniently close to the international SuvarnabhumiAirport (only 80 km away from Bangkok) and offers magnificent beaches. Hence it is not surprising that tourism provides the main contribution to the province’s economy.

The province is enormously popular among Thai themselves, especially Bangkok residents, and tourists from all over the world, who all together are seeking tranquility and solitude and are longing to shake off the burdens of stressful big-city life.

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