Administrative divisions of Thailand

Administrative divisions of Thailand

Thailand is divided into 75 provinces (จังหวัด, changwat) and the metropolitan municipality Bangkok (กรุงเทพมหานคร, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon). Bangkok was one province until 1972, making Thailand a 76-province country.

Each of Thailand's 76 provinces is divided into districts - as of 2006 there are 877 districts (อำเภอ, amphoe) and 50 districts in Bangkok (เขต, khet). Each of the provinces has one capital district (อำเภอเมือง, "amphoe mueang"), e.g. for Chiang Mai it's "Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai". The exception is Ayutthaya Province, where both the province as well as the capital district have the full name "Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya".

In Bangkok the districts are called "khet" (เขต), and their subdivisions "kwaeng" (แขวง) which are equivalent to the "tambon" (sub-districts) in the other provinces.

The "tambon" are further subdivided into "muban" (หมู่บ้าน), which are usually translated as villages, though they not necessarily cover one single settlement.

Local administration

Additionally to these subdivisions, there are also cities and towns, which take over some of the responsibilities of the districts and communes on the area covered by the municipality. These all have an elected board and an elected mayor.

There are three different levels of municipalities ( _th. เทศบาล):
* thesaban nakhon (city): More than 50,000 citizens, population density higher than 3,000 per km²
* thesaban mueang (town): More than 10,000 citizens, population density higher than 3,000 per km² - or a provincial capital
* thesaban tambon (subdistrict municipality): More than 5,000 citizens, population density higher than 1,500 per km²Despite its name, a "thesaban tambon" does not necessarily coincide with a single tambon.

In addition to the population numbers the municipalities need to have enough tax revenues for the administration to be able to execute the offices of administrations.

Towns and cities are subdivided into "chumchon" (communities), which are equivalent to the villages ("muban") of rural areas.

Some towns have the word "Nakhon" in their name, e.g. Nakhon Ratchasima Province has one district named Amphoe Mueang Nakhon Ratchasima, as well as the city "Thesaban Nakhon" Nakhon Ratchasima.

The City of Pattaya is a metropolitan municipality, it is a specially administrated area. Also the metropolitan city of Bangkok (officially called the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration) is a metropolitan municipality.

For areas which does not reach the mandatory conditions there exists another lower level of local administration named Subdistrict administrative organization (SAO, องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล). These usually cover a complete subdistrict ("Tambon"), but may also cover more than one subdistrict or share a subdistrict with a municipality.

Historical subdivisions

From the beginning of the 20th century until 1932 there was an additional subdivision called "monthon" (มณฑล, circle), with some of the larger ones subdivided into "boriwen" (บริเวณ, area). The first provinces were named "mueang" (เมือง, township) as those developed from the historical city-states. There were both "Mueang" directly dependent from Bangkok (thus similar to the modern province), as well as "Mueang" under supervision of a more powerful neighbor "Mueang", or part of the semi-independent tributary states. In 1906 the transition to the term "changwat" started, which was finalized in 1916. [cite journal|journal=Royal Gazette|volume=33|issue=0 ก|pages=51|title=ประกาศกระทรวงมหาดไทย เรื่อง ทรงพระกรุณาโปรดเกล้า ฯ ให้เปลี่ยนคำว่าเมืองเรียกว่าจังหวัด|url=|date=May 28 1916|language=Thai|format=PDF]

After the abolishing of the "monthon", a new subdivision named Region (ภาค, Phak) was established. At first there were 4 regions with changing outlines, in 1951 these were changed into 9 regions in 1951. In 1956 these regions were abolished as well.

A former municipal level were the "sukhaphiban" (sanitation districts, สุขาภิบาล), which were mostly responsible for sanitary tasks like waste disposal. The administrative level was created in 1898, in May 1999 all were converted into "thesaban tambon". [cite journal|journal=Royal Gazette|volume=116|issue=9 ก|pages=1–4|title=พระราชบัญญัติเปลี่ยนแปลงฐานะของสุขาภิบาลเป็นเทศบาล พ.ศ. ๒๕๔๒|url=|date=February 24 1999|language=Thai|format=PDF]

Until 2007 minor districts ("King Amphoe") were a special kind of districts, still partially a subordinate of another district. Usually newly created districts at first became minor districts and were upgraded to full districts after a few years. It became effective on August 24 2007 that all 81 minor districts were upgraded to full districts, despite many still not reaching the prerequisites for becoming a full district.

Informal subdivisions

Bangkok and its vicinity (ปริมณฑล, pari monthon), including five adjacent provinces are referred to as Greater Bangkok ( _th. กรุงเทพมหานครและปริมณฑล), as the urban sprawl of the capital already spread into these areas.

There are several definitions of regions in Thailand, the one used by the National Statistical Office defines 4 regions - north, northeast, south and central.

Los Angeles, California is sometimes jokingly referred to as "The 77th Province" of Thailand, because the city has the highest Thai population of any city outside of Thailand (roughly 200,000).


ee also

*Provinces of Thailand
*List of cities in Thailand

External links

* Blog on administrative divisions of Thailand

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