Thai Geography & Resources

Thai Geography & Resources


ภูมิศาสตร์ ประเทศไทย

Course description

Geographical characteristics in each region of Thailand as well as the borders of neighboring countries; Regional resources; Geographic factors which cause local change, including careers, permanent settlements and important tourist destinations; Fieldwork is part of the course.

Typical day at the beach in Phuket during the Southwest Monsoon. Onshore winds and waves with passing heavy showers | Thai Geography

Typical day at the beach in Phuket during the Northeast Monsoon, with light winds and calm seas | Thai Geography

Course objectives

Students are expected to understand and be able to express their own ideas in the following areas:

  1. The location, size and borders of Thailand.
  2. Physical and human resources of Thailand.
  3. Characteristics of Thailand in a regional context.
  4. Various map projections and thematic maps of Thailand.
  5. Important domestic and international tourist attractions in Thailand.
  6. Geographic terms and concepts in the Thai context, including location, space, and area.
  7. Geographical factors causing local change, including occupations, settlements, and migration.


Martin, S. A., & Ritchie, R. J. (2020). Sourcing Thai geography literature for ASEAN and international education. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 41(1) 61–85.

Abstract: This study surveys the available English-language literature and learning resources covering the field of Thai geography, and provides historical review of Thai geography education and an inventory of relevant, accessible materials for ASEAN and international undergraduate students, educators and researchers. We note that the discipline and context of Thai geography has shifted toward new technologies, particularly geographic information systems (GIS), and this has left a void in practical and accessible text for high school and undergraduate students in gaining broad and traditional knowledge of the field. Our study finds that the accessibility of introductory English-language texts on Thai geography is limited, and that existing texts appear mainly in the grey literature or widely dispersed across various disciplines of study. The paper provides a platform to help future researchers and to facilitate future production of English-language textbooks and other study materials in the field of Thai geography.

2018 | Conference Presentation

Exploring Ko Yao Noi | Thai Tourism Geography 2018


PDFs and Photos for Viewing and Downloading

  • A Case for Teaching Thai Geography in English – 2mb pdf
  • Intro to Karst Topography and the Andaman Coast, Thailand – 18mb pdf
  • Intro to Map Projections – 6mb pdf
  • Intro to Map Types and Themes (Emphasis on Thailand) – 8mb pdf
  • Koh Yao Noi, Phang Nga – Google Photos
  • Koh Yao Yai, Phang Nga – Google Photos
  • Nai Yang Beach, Phuket (Field Trip) – 17mb pdf
  • Phuket Aquarium – Google Photos
  • Site Visit in Ubon Ratchathani (Sao Chaliang) – 5mb pdf
  • Site Visits in Ubon Ratchathani (Emerald Triangle) – 11mb pdf
  • Surf Resource Sustainability (Phuket, Thailand) – 4mb pdf
  • Trash Talking (Marine Debris on the Andaman Coast) – 400kb pdf

Exploring Ko Yao Yai | Thai Tourism Geography 2018


The 76 Provinces of Thailand | Kids Learning Tube

REGIONAL GEOGRAPHY OF THAILAND | 76 PROVINCES + Bangkok Special Administrative Zone | Dr. Steven A. Martin © | Click to Thai Regions Page

1. NORTHERN Thailand | Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai | Highest peak in Thailand, at 2,565 m (8,415 ft)

2. NORTHEASTERN Thailand | Haew Narok Waterfall, Nakhon Ratchasima | Khao Yai National Park

3. CENTRAL Thailand | Phra Prang Sam Yot, Lopburi | Khmer historical site

4. EASTERN Thailand | Mu Ko Chang National Park | Trat

5. WESTERN Thailand | Phra Nakhon Khiri Temple | Petchaburi

6. SOUTHERN Thailand | Phi Phi Island, Krabi


We visited this site on July 8, 2022

In the photos below, note the '3 periods' of Ban Chiang archaeological research on interpretation signage (as defined by American archaeologist Joyce White).

Some items on display are from other areas of Thailand and serve to broaden our thinking of Ban Chiang as a single location to include historical geography and cultural markers from across the region.

Ban Chiang Archaeological Museum | July 8, 2022

Artifacts of the Middle Period (c. 3000-2300 BP)

Ban Chiang World Heritage Site | NHK

According to UNESCO (2018), the Ban Chiang Archaeological Site is considered the "Most important prehistoric settlement so far discovered in South-East Asia. It marks an important stage in human cultural, social and technological evolution. The site presents the earliest evidence of farming in the region and of the manufacture and use of metals."

Ban Chiang is located in Udon Thani Province in northeast Thailand, within the watershed of the Mekong River, and was continuously occupied from 1495 BC until c. 900 BC, placing it among the earliest scientifically-dated prehistoric farming and habitation sites in Southeast Asia. Research indicates that wet rice agriculture, associated technological complex of domesticated farm animals, ceramic manufacture, and bronze tool-making technology, represent a well-defined cultural complex distinctive from anything that preceded it.

Through it, we can "Trace the spread and development of prehistoric society and its development into the settled agricultural civilizations which came to characterize the region throughout history which still continue up to the present day" (UNESCO – Ban Chiang Archaeological Site, 2018).


Witherick, Ross, & Small. (2001). A modern dictionary of Geography. London: Arnold. [9mb pdf]

Thailand Base Maps

Based maps for Thai Geography student projects in jpeg and pdf formats:

Thai Geography 2012 Class Photo | Emerald Pool (Sra Morakot), Krabi, Thailand

Winichakul, T. (1997). Siam mapped: A history of the geo-body of a nation. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Thongchai Winichakul's 1997 book, Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-body of a Nation (with English and Thai versions), explores the Siamese understanding of territory and state before the delineation of geographic boundaries in the modern sense. Winichakul notes that as a Western discipline, modern geography was originally embraced by King Mongkut (1804-1868), and the field of study provided impetus to the overall educational reform process in Thailand.

Winichakul (1997) Siam Mapped

Kermel-Torres, D. (2004). Atlas of Thailand: Spatial structures and development. Paris: IRD Editions.

Atlas of Thailand, Spatial structures and Development, is a comprehensive English language resource featuring spatial maps. Scans provided below are intended for Thai Geography students and academic purposes only.

  • Changes in Boundaries – 500kb
  • Ethno-Linguistic – 500kb
  • Energy Infrastructure – 500kb
  • Inter-Regional Migration – 500kb
  • Nation-State Territory – 500kb
  • Land Cover/Climate – 500kb
  • Relief/Hydrologic – 700kb

Aiemchareon, W. Phurahong, S., & Chuaywong, S. (2010). Thailand atlas. Bangkok: Aksorncharoentat.

Thailand Atlas is an introductory Thai language resource for students of Thai Geography. Scans provided below are intended for students and academic purposes only.

GMS – Greater Mekong Subregion

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Cooperation Program ( supports a variety of development projects, including the production of maps and other geographic information in the six nations that share the Mekong River. The high-resolution maps provided below are intended for students and academic purposes only.

  • GMS Thailand (Country Page)
  • GMS Atlas of the Environment (2012) [Download 24mb]
  • Ethnic Groups (Continental Southeast Asia) – 1mb
  • Relief & Provincial Capitals (Thailand) – 1mb
  • Topography (Continental Southeast Asia) – 1mb
  • Tourism (Continental Southeast Asia) – 1mb
  • Transport Corridors (Continental Southeast Asia) – 1mb

ICEM – International Centre for Environmental Management

Established in 1999, International Centre for Environmental Management (ICEM), is an independent technical service centre that assists government, private sector and communities to enact policies for sustainable development. The organization specializes in biodiversity conservation, climate change, water resources management, strategic environmental assessment, and environmental and social economics. The maps provided below are intended for Thai Geography students and academic purposes only.

Relevant Thailand country maps – Archived from 2000 (low res only)

United States University Websites/ Projects

International Organizations

  • BOBLME – Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem Project (2008-2017)
  • GMS – Greater Mekong Subregion
  • ICEM – International Centre for Environmental Management – Thailand
  • IUCN – The International Union for Conservation of Nature – Thailand
  • MRC – Mekong River Commission for Sustainable Development
  • UNESCO – The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture – Thailand
  • US-Aid – United States Agency for International Development – Thailand
  • WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature – Thailand

Governmental Departments and Organizations under the Thai Ministries (in Thai)

Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment

Ministry of Information and Communication Technology

Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives

Ministry of Tourism and Sports

Ministry of Science and Technology

English Summaries of Thai Literature on the Geography of Thailand

Aiemchareon, W. & Aiemnor, A. (2008). Geography. Bangkok: Aksornchareontat. [วิโรจน์ เอี่ยมเจริญ และ อภิสิทธ์ เอี่ยมหน่อ. (2551). ภูมิศาสตร์. กรุงเทพมหานคร: อักษรเจริญทัศน์].

  • Aiemchareon and Aiemnor (2008) published Geography, an overview of Asian geography commonly used in first and second year Thai high school education and includes a chapter identifying six key areas in Thai geography: economics, society and culture, population, physical geography, interaction and environment, and the preservation of natural resources.

Aiemchareon, W. Phurahong, S., & Chuaywong, S. (2010). Thailand atlas. Bangkok: Aksorncharoentat. [วิโรจน์ เอี่ยมเจริญ และคณะ. (2553). ไทยแลนด์ แอตลาส (พิมพ์ครั้งที่ 5). กรุงเทพมหานคร: อักษรเจริญทัศน์].

  • Aiemchareon et al. (2010) provide an illustrated geography in terms of an atlas with images and maps which illustrate and overview physical and human features and resources of the country, including hydrologic, agricultural, mineral, and transportation. The book includes a map-based historical geography of the Kingdom and discussion on each of Thailand’s provinces. At the time of writing, Thailand has 77 provinces (76 provinces and Bangkok representing a special administrative area structured as a province).

Boonchai, S. (2006). Thai geography. Bangkok: Odeon store. [สุภาพ บุญไชย. (2549). ภูมิศาสตร์ประเทศไทย (พิมพ์ครั้งที่ 2). กรุงเทพมหานคร: โอเดียนสโตร์.]

  • Boonchai (2006) provides an overview of the study of geography in Thai, aimed mainly at secondary school students. The research includes an overview of Thailand’s physical regional geography. Of particular interest, the book identifies Thai aquifers and references the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) website and other academic resources.

Thai Geography Publications by Course Instructor

Thank you for visiting my Thai Geography course page.

If you feel motivated to know more about Thai geography, or would like to arrange for me to give a public talk, please let me know – I’d love to hear from you.

–Steven Martin

Sam Pun Boak (3,000 Holes) along the Mekong River | Geographic wonder in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand

NEW PHUKET AQUARIA | Dr Steven A Martin | Thai Geography | University Filmworks | พิพิธภัณฑ์สัตว์น้ำ | ภูเก็ต

When Phuket "Aquaria" opened in August, 2019, and we were among the first to visit and make this short video for our Thai Geography students. The new aquarium, located in the basement of Central Phuket Floresta, is the largest in Thailand, and features fresh and saltwater fish and turtles, otters, sharks, giant groupers, penguins, stingrays, jellyfish, lizards, insects, and snakes.  พิพิธภัณฑ์สัตว์น้ำที่ใหญ่ที่สุดในประเทศไทย | เซ็นทรัลฟลอเรสต้า

Phuket Aquaria | New 3:33 Video | พิพิธภัณฑ์สัตว์น้ำ | ภูเก็ต

Southeast Asian Civilization Global Context

Southeast Asian Civilization Global Context

Southeast Asian Civilization Online


Course Description

Background and development of society and culture in Southeast Asian countries with an emphasis on major peninsular and mainland civilizations; The influence and impact of Eastern and Western civilizations on Southeast Asia in terms of cults, beliefs, religions, traditions, education, society, economy, and governance.

The Bayon at Angkor, Cambodia, built in the late 12th century by the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII

Course Readings

Church, P. (2017). A Short History of South-East Asia, Sixth Edition. Singapore: John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

Higham, C. (2014). Early Mainland and Southeast Asia: From first humans to Angkor. Bangkok: River Books.

Course Portrait | Indonesian Culture and Dance


Southeast Asian Civilization (SEAC) is an exciting new course with global significance.

This course looks into the pre-history of the region before examining the impacts of colonial powers and post-World War II developments. Current events provide excellent topics for research projects and in-class discussion.

The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region is currently one of the strongest economic growth areas globally, and this course offers a much-needed understanding of the region's complex history and rich ethnolinguistic landscapes.

Course Portrait | Burmese Culture and Dance


With the establishment of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and the increasing integration of the region through the ASEAN Socio-cultural Community, a growing range of opportunities exist for employment, trade, and travel within and between member countries as well as with other regional trade partners, especially China.

As English is the official language of ASEAN, all member countries have agreed to the goal of teaching every child the language of a neighboring country as well as English. ASEAN represents one of the brightest hopes for economic growth in the present and future.

South East Asia Map | Click to enlarge


A Brief Introduction to Civilization | Terms and Concepts | PDF


Freshman Posters

Click to view student posters (2017) PDF

Student poster | Archaeologist Robert Bradford Fox | Leta-Leta Cave, Palawan, Philippines | Click to enlarge

A 10 period approach to studying Southeast Asian countries

I have developed a modest 10-topic chronological framework for studying individual Southeast Asian countries. Topics point to core histories and geographies and provide guidance for student presentations and class discussions. Topics and subtopics may overlap or apply to more than one period.

  1. Prehistory – Archaeology, Anthropology and Linguistics
  2. City-states, chiefdoms, kingdoms and dynasties – Historical geographies and indigenous peoples
  3. Colonial powers and governance – British, French, Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish
  4. WWII and Japanese rule – Imperial power and global conflict
  5. Return of colonial powers – New resistance and legacy
  6. Independence – The rise of national identities and new political geographies
  7. International relations (IR) – Nationalism and the global stage
  8. ASEAN – Rise and development of inter- and intra- regional relationships
  9. Contemporary issues – Globalization, urbanization, education and technology
  10. Tourism Geography – Planning, development and case studies


CNA (Channel News Asia) Shadows Of Empires | Inventing Southeast Asia


Khmer Mystery | Fou-nan Lost City | With Charles Higham and Miriam Stark | 41:00


Traditional Vietnamese Noodles | Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam | Click to learn more...

A Day in Ho Chi Minh City | Click to Photo Album

Students in Ho Chi Minh City | Click to photo album

Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon | Ho Chi Minh City

Interview at Po Nagar Temple in Nha Trang, Vietnam | Cham Culture | Steven Martin


The Batanes Islands | Click to Batanes Islands Learning Adventure Page

Anthropologist Wilhelm G. Solheim II (1924–2014) (left) and David Blundell (right)

Banca Boat at Siargao Island | The Philippines | Click to more photos...

2006 Interview | Peter Bellwood, Batanes Islands, Philippines | Steven Martin


Research at the Plain of Jars using virtual reality and drones | Monash University

Contemporary Topics for Today's Discussion

  1. Plain of Jars | Exploring Prehistory

  2. Dams on the Mekong | Economy & Ecology

  3. Casino Enclaves | Development and Poverty


Introduction to Indonesia | Click on image to view

Our 2016 Indonesian Culture and Dance Class | Guest lecturer Imam Wahyudi Karimullah, University of Islam Malang (UNISMA)

Wonderful Indonesia | Official tourism video series

Journey through Wakatobi

Journey through Lombok

Journey through Banyuwangi


Burmese Thanaka Culture Class | Steven Martin

Prayer for Peace Documentary | 2007 Matt Blauer

The Lady | Story of Aung San Suu Kyi


Sukhothai Historical Park | Sukhothai Kingdom 1238–1438 | Click to UNESCO

Click on a photo to visit the Thai Geography Page with detailed maps, downloads, and other student resources.

Thailand Culture & Heritage | Tourism Authority of Thailand

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep | Chiang Mai, Thailand

Bang Pa In summer palace | Ayutthaya Province

Chak Phra Buddhist Festival | Surat Thani Province

Phuket Aquaria

The new Phuket Aquaria, or Aquaria Phuket, Thailand, opened August, 2019, and we were lucky to be among the first to check it out and make this short video for our Thai Geography students.

Located in the basement of Central Phuket Floresta, is the largest aquarium in Thailand, featuring a cast of thousands from Thailand and other countries, including fresh and saltwater fish and turtles, otters, sharks, groupers, penguins, stingrays, jellyfish, lizards, insects, and snakes.

PHUKET AQUARIA | อควาเรีย ภูเก็ต



Develop an academic poster using PowerPoint or other software which can incorporate text, maps, tables, and images.


  1. Choose an anthropologist with deep experience in living among, or studying, an ethnolinguistic group in Southeast Asia.
  2. Discuss the events or interests which led the anthropologist to study the ethnic group or culture.
  3. Emphasize the language, culture, history, and location of the ethnic group.
  4. Identify the significance of the ethnic group in terms of Southeast Asian civilization.


Set slide dimensions for international A3, landscape (297 x 420 mm) (11.7 x 16.5 in)

The Ivatan, an Austronesian ethnolinguistic group, Batanes Islands, The Philippines | Click to learn more...

Thank you for visiting my Southeast Asian Civilization Course Page.

I hope you enjoy my photos and the information in the links provided. If you feel motivated to learn more about Southeast Asia, or would like to arrange a public talk, please let me know – I’d love to hear from you.

–Steven Martin

Golden Buddha, Ko Samui, Thailand