Anti-Thai sentiment involves hostility or hatred that is directed towards people in Thailand (usually referring to Thai Chinese and Siamese), or the state of Thailand.

Incidents by country


See also: 2003 Phnom Penh riots and Cambodian–Thai border dispute

The hatred toward Thais in Cambodia has existed since the late Khmer Empire. Siamese forces under the Ayutthaya Kingdom has invaded the Khmer Empire many times and Siam has historically occupied Cambodia. Cambodian animosity towards Thai people is now fueled by a persistent historical misconception, known only within the Thai narrative, that wrongly distinguishes a so-called Khom ethnic group and Khmer as separate people. This deliberate construct aims to conceal Thailand's extensive adoption of Khmer culture by acknowledging the contributions of the non-existent Khoms, constituting a form of historical negationism. Thailand's historical ties to the Khmer Empire, whose influence encompassed language, culture, and governance, are obscured by this narrative. The so-called Khom, presented as distinct, wrongly denies the truth of Khmer influence on Thai culture.[1]

Charles F. Keyes, a professor of international relations at the University of Washington in Seattle noted in a New York Times article reporting the 2003 anti-Thai riots in Phnom Penh:

But the Thais have also borrowed a lot from Khmer culture. And the Khmers are resentful of the Thai for not acknowledging what they owe to the Khmer heritage.[2]

Anti-Thai sentiment began to flare in Cambodia because of Cambodians' fear of Thai designs on western Cambodia.[3] That led to a violent protest in January 2003 in which the Thai embassy was burned and Thai businesses were vandalised after a Cambodian newspaper article misattributed to a Thai actress, the sayings of her character in a soap opera claiming that Angkor Wat belonged to Thailand and that it should take over the ancient temple.[4][5] The hatred towards Thai people from the Cambodians would escalate in 2008, when both countries were involved in the conflict over the ownership of the Khmer temple of Preah Vihear.[6]

South Korea

Thai tourists are subjected to additional scrutiny from Korean immigration office. Notable incidents, such as a woman being denied entry despite having a return ticket and bookings, have fueled social media discussions in 2023. The growing number of stories shared by deported tourists highlights concerns about perceived discriminatory practices. Diplomatic efforts have been made to address anti-Thai sentiment.[7]

The stringent scrutiny on Thai nationals in Korea has its origins in the longstanding issue of undocumented Thai immigrants, as indicated by both Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Justice. According to data from the justice ministry, approximately 157,000 Thai nationals currently reside in Korea without the requisite permits. Among this demographic, a substantial portion is colloquially termed "phi noi" or "little ghosts" in Thai. These individuals, initially arriving in South Korea as tourists, exceed their authorized stay period, predominantly seeking employment in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors.[8]


Animosity towards the Thai in China 1934 caused by forced assimilation Chinese people in country by Thai authorities. Some of the Chinese who had been deported from Thailand began to spread anti-Thai sentiment in China and called for an immediate boycott from the Chinese authorities to all products that been imported from Thailand.[9]


Since ancient times, Laos has been against Siamese territorial expansions. There was a request from Laotians to the French colonial authorities for a recovery of lost territory on the Khorat Plateau and of the Emerald Buddha from Siam.[10] After achieving independence under communism, the present Laos government are much more sympathetic to Vietnam, and there is a rejection from Laotians towards Thailand, which is currently somewhat between a democracy and an autocracy.[11]


Both nations were involved in several wars in the past. In the present, there is more anti-Myanmar sentiment in Thailand than anti-Thai sentiment in Myanmar, as is shown by the publications of Thai school textbooks, films and media reports. The Myanmar government does not regard Thailand as its main enemy but does not consider Thailand as a "trusted friend" either.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Kasetsiri, Charnvit (March 2003). "Thailand and Cambodia: A Love-Hate Relationship". Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia. No. 3. Archived from the original on 28 September 2020.
  2. ^ David Barboza (19 April 2003). "Cambodian Pique at Thais Lingers". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  3. ^ Donald E. Weatherbee (17 October 2008). International Relations in Southeast Asia: The Struggle for Autonomy. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 134–. ISBN 978-0-7425-5739-0.
  4. ^ "Whose Angkor Wat?". The Economist. 30 January 2003. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  5. ^ David Barboza (19 April 2003). "Cambodian Pique at Thais Lingers". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  6. ^ Simon Montlake (22 July 2008). "Why Thai-Cambodian temple dispute lingers". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  7. ^ "'Koreans are backward': Thai tourists turn away from Korea over strict immigration screenings". Korea Joongang Daily. Retrieved 2023-11-23.
  8. ^ "Thais irked by strict Korean immigration procedures". Korea Times. Retrieved 2023-11-23.
  9. ^ Seung-Joon Lee (5 January 2011). Gourmets in the Land of Famine: The Culture and Politics of Rice in Modern Canton. Stanford University Press. pp. 172–. ISBN 978-0-8047-7226-6.
  10. ^ Søren Ivarsson (January 2008). Creating Laos: The Making of a Lao Space Between Indochina and Siam, 1860-1945. NIAS Press. pp. 166–. ISBN 978-87-7694-023-2.
  11. ^ Keat Gin Ooi (2004). Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor. ABC-CLIO. pp. 772–. ISBN 978-1-57607-770-2.
  12. ^ N Ganesan (27 July 2015). Bilateral Legacies in East and Southeast Asia. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 122–. ISBN 978-981-4620-41-3.