What are Thai people called?

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The Kingdom of Thailand, located in Southeast Asia, is known for its vibrant culture, rich history, and delicious cuisine. Thai people are famous for their friendliness, hospitality, and welcoming nature. They are proud of their traditions and customs, which are deeply rooted in their society. However, there is still some confusion about what Thai people are called. In this blog post, we will explore the various names used to refer to Thai people, the history behind these names, and how they are used today.

What are Thai people called?

Thai People

The term Thai people refers to the ethnic group that is native to Thailand. The Thai people are the majority population in Thailand, and they are also found in neighboring countries like Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia. The Thai people have a distinct culture, language, and way of life that sets them apart from other ethnic groups in Southeast Asia. The Thai people are known for their friendly nature, hospitality, and respect for their elders.

The history of the Thai people can be traced back to the 13th century when a group of Tai-speaking people migrated from southern China to the area that is now Thailand. Over time, these people intermingled with the local population, forming the Thai ethnicity. The Thai people have a rich history, which is reflected in their art, architecture, and literature. Today, Thai people are proud of their culture and traditions, and they continue to celebrate them through festivals, music, and dance.

Siamese People

The term Siamese people refers to the Thai people who lived during the period when Thailand was called Siam. The term Siamese is derived from the word Siam, which was the name of the country before it was changed to Thailand in 1939. The Siamese people have a long and rich history that dates back to the 14th century, when the first Siamese kingdom was established.

The Siamese people were known for their artistic achievements, including their intricate temples, sculpture, and textiles. They also had a highly structured society, with a rigid hierarchy and a strong emphasis on the importance of family. The Siamese people were deeply religious, with Buddhism playing a central role in their culture.

Today, the term Siamese people is rarely used, except in historical contexts. However, it is still an important part of Thai history and culture, and it is often used in literature, art, and film to refer to the people of that era.

Tai People

The term Tai people refers to the ethnic group that is native to Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. The Tai people are a diverse group with many subgroups, each with their own language, customs, and traditions. The Thai people are one of the largest subgroups of the Tai people, but there are also many other Tai subgroups, including the Shan, Lao, and Tai Dam.

The history of the Tai people can be traced back to southern China, where the Tai language originated. Over time, the Tai-speaking people migrated southward, settling in various parts of Southeast Asia. Today, the Tai people are found throughout the region, and they share many cultural similarities, including a strong emphasis on family, respect for elders, and a love of music and dance.

In Thailand, the term Tai people is rarely used, as most people identify as Thai. However, the Tai people have had a significant impact on Thai culture, and their influence can be seen in everything from the language to the food to the music.

Khon Thai

The term Khon Thai is a more formal way of referring to Thai people. It is often used in official contexts, such as government documents or speeches. The term Khon Thai is derived from the Thai language and can be translated to mean “Thai people.” The use of Khon Thai is seen as a way to emphasize the unity and identity of the Thai people.

Khon Thai is also sometimes used to distinguish Thai people from other ethnic groups living in Thailand, such as the Karen or Hmong. It is a way to identify oneself as a member of the dominant ethnic group in Thailand and to assert one’s cultural identity.

While Khon Thai is a more formal term, it is still widely used in everyday conversation in Thailand. It is seen as a way to show respect for the Thai people and their culture.


The term Farang is a Thai word that is used to refer to foreigners or non-Thai people. The term is derived from the word “Français,” which means French. It is believed that the term was first used by Thai people to refer to French colonizers who came to Thailand in the late 19th century.

Today, the term Farang is used to refer to any non-Thai person, regardless of their nationality. It is a commonly used term in Thailand and is not considered derogatory. However, some foreigners may find the term offensive or insensitive.

In recent years, there has been a movement in Thailand to use the term “Phuuttha-chaat” to refer to foreigners. This term is seen as more respectful and inclusive than the term Farang, which can be seen as exclusive and divisive.


In conclusion, there are many names used to refer to Thai people, each with its own history and cultural significance. While Thai people are the majority ethnic group in Thailand, they are also part of a larger Tai-speaking population that is found throughout Southeast Asia. The use of different terms to refer to Thai people reflects the complex and diverse nature of Thai society and culture. As Thailand continues to evolve and change, so too will the ways in which Thai people are referred to and identified.

What are Thai people called?
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