The capitol city of Thailand is called Bangkok in English, but in Thai it is Krung Thep. However, Krung Thep is actually a shortened form of the full name, which is one of the longest in the world. The full name is: Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit. It translates into: The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn.

Source: CIA World Factbook

The unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century. Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. In alliance with Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US treaty ally in 1954 after sending troops to Korea and later fighting alongside the United States in Vietnam. Thailand since 2005 has experienced several rounds of political turmoil including a military coup in 2006 that ousted then Prime Minister THAKSIN Chinnawat, followed by large-scale street protests by competing political factions in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Demonstrations in 2010 culminated with clashes between security forces and pro-THAKSIN protesters, elements of which were armed, and resulted in at least 92 deaths and an estimated $1.5 billion in arson-related property losses. THAKSIN’s youngest sister, YINGLAK Chinnawat, in 2011 led the Puea Thai Party to an electoral win and assumed control of the government. YINGLAK’s leadership was almost immediately challenged by historic flooding in late 2011 that had large swathes of the country underwater and threatened to inundate Bangkok itself. Throughout 2012 the Puea Thai-led government struggled with the opposition Democrat Party to fulfill some its main election promises, including constitutional reform and political reconciliation. Since January 2004, thousands have been killed and wounded in violence associated with the ethno-nationalist insurgency in Thailand’s southern Malay-Muslim majority provinces. – Source

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As we close out the Spring 2017 term at UH Mānoa, we take a look back at some of the topics we’ve highlighted in on our bookshelf this spring.

This week’s bookshelf highlights new releases on Thailand including books from the UH Press, NUS Press, and SUNY Press.

This week, our bookshelf highlights new releases on Southeast Asia and their accompanying reviews by Newbooks Asia.


In this menu, you will find a wide range of University of Hawai'i, Mānoa related resources and other online modules for educators and community members interested in Southeast Asia. Resource descriptions and links may be viewed by clicking on the Online Resources header.

Please contact us with suggestions on educational links which would be useful to you!

For those interested in studying Asian studies with a Thai focus and/or Thai language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, please click here to view the official brochure.

Learn more about opportunities to study abroad in Thailand for students studying Thai at the University of Hawai'i, Mānoa. Students may also arrange an independent study abroad program in Thailand through the University of Hawai'i, Mānoa Study Abroad Center.

Funding is also available for undergraduates wishing to conduct research abroad in Thailand through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program at the University of Hawai'i, Mānoa.

Founded by the Princess Mother, the nationally-run Hall of Opium educates the public about the "social, economic and physical costs of drug abuse, and the crime and corruption that surrounds it and efforts to control it." After learning about the Opium War, the Hall of Opium also serves the community through exhibits on drug control, case studies, and victim/excuse gallery. After trekking through nearly 9,000 years of opium in the Golden Triangle, the exhibition ends in the aptly named "Hall of Reflection" - where visitors can reflect upon their experience in the presence of "[q]uotations from famous individuals... on the value of leading a life of moderation." In addition to guiding the museum's "Just Say No" narrative, HRH The Princess also enacted several crop substitution initiatives to help villagers transition away from opium cultivation for sustenance.

Hall of Opium
Moo 1 Ban Sop Ruak, Tambon Wiang, Amphoe Chiang Saen,
Chiang Rai 57150
Tel: +66 (0) 5378 4444-6
Fax: +66 (0) 5365 2133
more info

The House of Opium, on the other hand, is a private institution that appears more interpretive of the opium trade's cultural effects. Owner Mrs. Patcharee Srimattayakul, who used to run a souvenir shop in Sob Ruak Village, was inspired to establish the museum when her knack for acquiring small antiques and curios led to felt disappointment at losing these culturally significant artifacts in the tourist trade. Alongside more standard information about opium history and practice, the House of Opium also includes a fascinating collection of anatomically bead pipes from the Srikasetra Period and contemporary art and photography. Appropriate given the owner's former business, visitors can even "take back home with them their own collection of effigies, masks, opium pipes scales and boxes... and much more from the gift shop."

House of Opium
212 Moo.1 (Sobruak Village)
Tumbon Wiang, Umpoe Chinag Sean,
Chiang Rai Province
Thailand 57150
Tel: (+66) 53-784-060
FAX: (+66) 63-784-062
more info

Thailand has an incredible variety of popular and traditional musics. The Thai Music Archive attempts to make Thai music available to people who are not Thai and also aims to facilitate the exchange of information and views between Thais and non-Thais. This website hosts articles on various aspects of Thai music, some scholarly and some more popular in approach, lesson plans for high school teachers, and the Thai 78 rpm Discographical Framework. The two main authors are Dr James Mitchell and Peter Garrity. James has studied and published widely on Thai music and Peter is a very well known figure in the Bangkok lukthung concert scene. Click here to see their full archive of Thai songs.

The University of Pennsylvania and National Library of Laos have launched the Digital Library of Northern Thai Manuscripts as a resource for the study of traditional literature from this region. At present, the digital library contains images of over 4,200 manuscripts which can be searched and viewed online or freely downloaded, and to which more manuscripts will be added subsequently.

The database contains four collections: digitised microfilms from the Preservation of Northern Thai Manuscripts Project (with permission of Chiang Mai University Library), digitised microfilms and also handwritten copies of manuscripts made in the early 1970s during research conducted by Harald Hundius, and directly-digitised manuscripts made during the current digital library project.

A gallery with images from temples which were involved in the project, as well as a collection of written and online resources for further study complement the database.

All digitisation was funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, and the digital library project was funded by The Henry Luce Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of Pennsylvania Libraries and the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. The project was implemented by the National Library of Laos, based on the existing Digital Library of Lao Manuscripts.

We hope that the digital library will be a useful resource for the study of traditional literature from this region.



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