Located in a fertile, tropical landscape in the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand is a mosaic of diversity and culture. A nation of over 60 million, the Thai sense of identity is allied with Buddhism and the Monarchy. It is a country proud of its independence, rich heritage and tradition, but it has also adapted and embraced the rapid change brought about by globalization.
Until the second half of the 20th century, Thailand was primarily an agricultural country, but since the 1960s increasing numbers of people have moved to Bangkok, the capital, and to other cities. Although the greater Bangkok metropolitan area remains the preeminent urban centre in the country, there are other sizable cities, such as Chiang Mai in the north, Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat), Khon Kaen, and Udon Thani in the northeast, Pattaya in the southeast, and Hat Yai in the far south.