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  1. Niphon Poungvarin
  1. Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10700,Thailand; Email: sinpg{at}


Thailand, the land of smiles, is about the size of France but with the population of the UK (65 million), located in the middle of South-East Asia. The northern part borders China, Laos and Mynmar, the eastern part Cambodia and Laos, the western part Mynmar, and the southern part borders Malaysia. The shape of the country is similar to an elephant head with a long trunk down into the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The majority of the people (up to 95%) are Buddhist and there are more than 20 hilltribe minorities along the borders (about 2 million people), racially totally unrelated to Thais.

Thailand has a monarchy under the constitution. King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great has been on the throne for 54 years, the longest reigning Monarch in the world and also in Thai history. His Royal Highness is beloved by all Thai subjects as he has always concentrated all

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