Thailand: Saraburi

Saraburi is a town (thesaban mueang) in central Thailand, capital of Saraburi Province. In 2005, it had a population of 61,900, and covers the complete tambon Pak Phriao of the Mueang Saraburi district.

Saraburi (Thai: สระบุรี) is one of the central provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from north clockwise) Lopburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Nayok, Pathum Thani, and Ayutthaya. Saraburi has been an important town since ancient times. It is believed to have been constructed in the year 1548 during the reign of King Maha Chakkraphat of Ayutthaya as a centre for recruiting troops.

Saraburi has been an important city since ancient times. It is assumed to have been established approximately in 1549 during the reign of King Maha Chakkraphat of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya. It is assumed that the king had ordered to combine some parts of Lopburi and Nakhon Nayok together and set up Saraburi Province with the aim of mobilizing citizens during times of war. Therefore, from the Ayutthaya period, the story of Saraburi has usually related to battles and wars. As for the origin of the word "Saraburi", it is assumed that due to its location near a swamp called "Bueng Nong Ngong", when the town was established a combination of "Sa" ("swamp") and "buri" ("town") was suggested and the town was named "Saraburi".

According to the constitution, serving in the armed forces is a duty of all Thai citizens. However, only males over the age of 21, who have not gone through reserve training of the Territorial Defence Student, are given the option of volunteering for the armed forces, or participating in the random draft. The candidates are subjected to varying lengths of training, from six months to two years of full-time service, depending on their education, whether they have partially completed the reserve training course, and whether they volunteered prior to the draft date (usually 1 April every year).

Candidates with a recognised bachelor's degree serve one year of full-time service if they are conscripted, or six months if they volunteer with the military officer at their district office (สัสดี, satsadi). Likewise, the training length is also reduced for those who have partially completed the three-year reserve training course of the Territorial Defence Students (ร.ด., ro do). A person who completed one year out of three will only have to serve full-time for one year. Those who completed two years of reserve training will only have to do six months of full-time training, while those who complete three years or more of reserve training will be exempted entirely.

Royal Thai Armed Forces Day is celebrated on 18 January, commemorating the victory of Naresuan of the Ayutthaya Kingdom in battle against the crown prince of the Taungoo Dynasty in 1593.

Growth in 2005, 2006, and 2007 hovered around 4–5%. Due both to the weakening of the US dollar and an increasingly strong Thai currency, by March 2008 the dollar was hovering around the 33 baht mark. While Thaksinomics has received criticism, official economic data reveals that between 2001 and 2011, Isan's GDP per capita more than doubled to US$1,475, while, over the same period, GDP in the Bangkok area increased from US$7,900 to nearly US$13,000.[6]

With the instability surrounding major 2010 protests, the GDP growth of Thailand settled at around 4–5%, from highs of 5–7% under the previous civilian administration. Political uncertainty was identified as the primary cause of a decline in investor and consumer confidence. The IMF predicted that the Thai economy would rebound strongly from the low 0.1% GDP growth in 2011, to 5.5% in 2012 and then 7.5% in 2013, due to the monetary policy of the Bank of Thailand, as well as a package of fiscal stimulus measures introduced by the former Yingluck Shinawatra government.[7]

Following the Thai military coup of 22 May 2014, the AFP global news agency published an article that claimed that the nation was on the verge of recession. The article focused on the departure of nearly 180,000 Cambodians from Thailand due to fears of an immigration clampdown, but concluded with information on the Thai economy's contraction of 2.1% quarter-on-quarter, from January to the end of March 2014.

The 2011 Thailand Country Report provides population numbers for mountain peoples ('hill tribes') and ethnic communities in the Northeast and is explicit about its main reliance on the Mahidol University Ethnolinguistic Maps of Thailand data. Thus, though over 3.288 million people in the Northeast alone could not be categorised, the population and percentages of other ethnic communities circa 1997 are known for all of Thailand and constitute minimum populations. In descending order, the largest (equal to or greater than 400,000) are a) 15,080,000 Lao (24.9 percent) consisting of the Thai Lao (14 million) and other smaller Lao groups, namely the Thai Loei (400–500,000), Lao Lom (350,000), Lao Wiang/Klang (200,000), Lao Khrang (90,000), Lao Ngaew (30,000), and Lao Ti (10,000; b) six million Khon Muang (9.9 percent, also called Northern Thais); c) 4.5 million Pak Tai (7.5 percent, also called Southern Thais); d) 1.4 million Khmer Leu (2.3 percent, also called Northern Khmer); e) 900,000 Malay (1.5%); f) 500,000 Ngaw (0.8 percent); g) 470,000 Phu Thai (0.8 percent); h) 400,000 Kuy/Kuay (also known as Suay) (0.7 percent), and i) 350,000 Karen (0.6 percent). :7–13 Thai Chinese, those of significant Chinese heritage, are 14% of the population, while Thais with partial Chinese ancestry comprise up to 40% of the population. Thai Malays represent 3% of the population, with the remainder consisting of Mons, Khmers and various "hill tribes". The country's official language is Thai and the primary religion is Theravada Buddhism, which is practised by around 95% of the population.

Increasing numbers of migrants from neighbouring Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia, as well as from Nepal and India, have pushed the total number of non-national residents to around 3.5 million as of 2009, up from an estimated 2 million in 2008, and about 1.3 million in 2000. Some 41,000 Britons live in Thailand.

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