Thailand is a country of mountains tropical rainforests and flat plains. Religion the monarchy and the military have helped to shape its society and politics.
The 1980s brought economic boom and the agriculture-based economy changed as Thais flocked to work in industry and the services sector.
But the bubble burst in 1997 with the south-east Asian financial crisis. Stock and property prices plummeted dragging down the currency and leading to bankruptcies recession and unemployment.