Thai Indians
Indian diaspora dressed in sari dancing at Dipavali Bangkok 2022
Total population
Indian nationals
People of Indian descent
Regions with significant populations
Bangkok · Pattaya · Chiang Mai · Phuket
Thai · Telugu · Tamil · Malayalam • English · Gujarati · Urdu · Punjabi
Hinduism · Christianity · Buddhism · Sikhism · Islam
Related ethnic groups
People of Indian Origin

Thai Indians are Thai people with full or partial Indian ancestry. [1] But these ancestral ties are usually left out of statistics. About 65,000 Indian Thais have full Thai citizenship, but around 400,000 persons of Indian origin settled in Thailand mainly in the urban cities. Intermixing and interethnic marriages of the earlier migrants have led to a large indigenous Thai Indian community.[2]

An opinion poll in 2010 stated that 37% of Thai people had positive views about India, contrasted with 37% of Thai people having negative views about India.[3]


Since ancient time, there have been various exchanges between the India and Thailand. India was known as Jambudvipa and South East Asia was known as Suwannabhumi.[4]

Indo Thai trade relations go back to 500 BCE at least where evidence indicates presence of trade relations with north India (Etched carnelian beads) and south India (Indo -Pacific beads).[5][6]

Buddhism and Hinduism originally arrived to Thailand from India and spread over the centuries. King Ashoka sent monks from India to countries overseas to spread Buddhism, and the first major site was established at the city of Pataliputra in 218 BE. It was also heavily influenced by Theravada Buddhism by contact with Sri Lanka.[7]

During the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya periods, evidence of the presence of sizable number of Indians in the Thai court is described by a number of western travelers. However most of the contemporary Indians came to Thailand after 1920, and during the first half of the 19th century.[8]

The Mariamman Temple, Bangkok is the first modern temple built in the South Indian architectural style. It was built in 1879 by Vaithi Padayatchi, a Tamil Hindu immigrant.[9][10][11]

British East India Company

Modern Indian communities have been around since the 1860s of the British Raj era. Most of the Indians arrived in the last century, notably from Tamil Nadu and other areas of Southern India. Some others came from Northern India such as Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan and some from Gujarat.

Some Thai Muslims, especially in the Southern part of Thailand, have Indian ancestry. A notable number of Sikhs established a small area in Bangkok called Phahurat which grew into a strong town rivaling Chinatown, who tend to have jobs in business rather than as professionals due to their cultural values.[12][13]

The historical number of the Indian population in Thailand can be seen in British consular statistics; however, these figures often lumped Indians together with Sinhalese and Malays. According to 1912 statistics, there were 30 Indians registered in the Chiengmai (Chiang Mai) consular district, 41 Indians and Malays in the Puket (Phuket) consular district, 40 Indians and Malays in the Senggora (Songkhla) consular district, and 423 Indians, Sinhalese, and Malays in the Bangkok consular district. These figures were also believed to be a gross undercount of the true population; for example, the Bangkok consular district had registered only 517 British subjects, but other estimates claimed the number was 20 times higher.[14]


The Tourism Authority of Thailand granted a 30 day visa-exemption status for Indian citizens between the 10th November 2023 and 10th May 2024.[15] Discussions are ongoing as to a long term mutual visa-free status for citizens of India and Thailand respectively, joining Myanmar and soon Sri Lanka.[16][17][18] Thailand became the preferred destination of Indian tourists according to accommodation reservation platform Agoda.[19]

India became one of the largest inbound markets for tourism in 2019, and by 2021 it had supplanted China as the largest source of tourism to Thailand.[20] Malaysia was the largest source of tourism in 2022,[21] which along with India helped Thailand surpass it's tourism targets of ten million.[22]

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has been heavily promoted Thailand as a tourism destination in India, and has offered all Indian citizens visa-on-arrival and even periods of visa free entry.[23][24] The country is viewed as having "rich culture, stunning beaches, glittering temples, adventure sports, mesmerizing nature, and buzzing nightlife".[25] Several destinations such as Phuket have been trying to attract more Indian tourists.[26][27]

By 2022 India and Malaysia remained the two top sources for inbound tourism to Thailand.[28] 1.6 million tourists from India visited Thailand during 2023.[29]

Oyo Hotels has a large presence in the country and wider region (South East Asia was the first foray outside India for the company).[30] It attained one million guests within three months soon after opening.[31] A notable number of entertainment establishments in Thailand are owned by Indians, including clubs, bars, ladyboy entertainment, accommodation, gay bars and restaurants.[32][33]

India is also a major tourist destination for Thai people, and was the fifth most popular destination for Thai tourists outside East Asia in 2017. [34][35]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ Kutanan, Wibhu; Kampuansai, Jatupol; Brunelli, Andrea; Ghirotto, Silvia; Pittayaporn, Pittayawat; Ruangchai, Sukhum; Schröder, Roland; Macholdt, Enrico; Srikummool, Metawee; Kangwanpong, Daoroong; Hübner, Alexander (June 2018). "New insights from Thailand into the maternal genetic history of Mainland Southeast Asia". European Journal of Human Genetics. 26 (6): 898–911. doi:10.1038/s41431-018-0113-7. ISSN 1476-5438. PMC 5974021. PMID 29483671.
  2. ^ "Welcome to Embassy of India,Bangkok - Thailand". Retrieved 2024-02-29.
  3. ^ "Global Views of United States Improve While Other Countries Decline" (PDF).
  4. ^ Srichampa, Sophana (2015). "Indians in Thailand: Dynamics of Moving Thai Society to ASEAN Community and Asia" (PDF). Silpakorn University Journal of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts. 15 (3). Centre for Bharat Studies, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand: 121–150 – via Thai Science.
  5. ^ Solheim, Wilhelm G.; FRANCIS, PETER (2003). "Review of ASIA'S MARITIME BEAD TRADE, 300 B.C. TO THE PRESENT, PETER FRANCIS, JR". Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 76 (2 (285)): 129–132. ISSN 0126-7353. JSTOR 41493507.
  6. ^ Bellina, Bérénice (Jan 2001). "Alkaline Etched Beads East of India in the Late Prehistoric and early historic periods". Bulletin de l'École française d'Extrême-Orient. 88: 191–205. doi:10.3406/befeo.2001.3513.
  7. ^ "The Buddhist Society". Retrieved 2023-12-28.
  8. ^ "INDIAN COMMUNITY IN THAILAND". Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  9. ^ Sandhu & Mani 2006, p. 978.
  10. ^ Kesavapany, Mani & Ramasamy 2008, p. 673.
  11. ^ Manguin, Mani & Wade 2011, p. 475.
  12. ^ "วารสาร เมืองโบราณ MuangBoran Journal". Archived from the original on 2011-10-01. Retrieved 2024-02-29.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  13. ^ Samachar, Asia (2018-11-06). "Sikhs in Thailand: Retrospect and Prospect". Asia Samachar. Retrieved 2024-02-29.
  14. ^ Bangkok and Siam, directory, Straits Settlements and Siam: Bangkok Times Press, 1914, p. 199
  15. ^ "Thailand may extend visa exemption for Indians beyond 6 months if tourism grows". The Economic Times. 2023-11-14. ISSN 0013-0389. Retrieved 2024-02-29.
  16. ^ "Call for visa-free travel between India, Thailand". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 2024-02-29.
  17. ^ "Summary of Countries and Territories entitled for Visa Exemption and Visa on Arrival to Thailand" (PDF). Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Department of Consular Affairs. 1 January 2024.
  18. ^ "Lanka, Thailand sign FTA with facility for visa-free travel". Print Edition - The Sunday Times, Sri Lanka. Retrieved 2024-02-29.
  19. ^ DHNS. "Visa-free entry makes Thailand the most preferred destination for Indian tourists: Agoda". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 2024-02-29.
  20. ^ "India replaces China as Thailand's top tourism market: TAT". nationthailand. 2022-05-27. Retrieved 2024-01-21.
  21. ^ "Thailand targets 2 million Indian tourists in 2023, same as before Covid". The Times of India. 2023-03-06. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 2024-01-21.
  22. ^ leah (2022-11-07). "Thailand to surpass tourism target thanks to Malaysians and Indians". Thaiger. Retrieved 2024-01-21.
  23. ^ "The Taste With Vir: Why nothing stops the world from visiting Bangkok". Hindustan Times. 2023-07-25. Retrieved 2024-01-21.
  24. ^ "Indians Can Travel To Thailand Without Visa From November 10 To May 10". Retrieved 2024-01-21.
  25. ^ "Reasons why Thailand is popular with Indian Tourists | Trawell Blog". 2023-05-12. Retrieved 2024-01-21.
  26. ^ "Indian tourists a godsend to Phuket". nationthailand. 2022-07-22. Retrieved 2024-01-21.
  27. ^ Siri, Raktida (May 2009). "Indian tourists' motivation, perception, and satisfaction of Bangkok,Thailand". UNT Digital Library. Retrieved 2024-02-02.
  28. ^ Bloomberg (2022-06-28). "Malaysians, Indians lead tourist rush to Thailand". Free Malaysia Today (FMT). Retrieved 2024-01-21.
  29. ^ "Foreign tourist arrivals in Thailand cross 27 million in 2023". nationthailand. 2023-12-31. Retrieved 2024-02-01.
  30. ^ "OYO opens 250 hotels in Thailand". mint. 2019-11-25. Retrieved 2024-01-21.
  31. ^ Paul, Megha (2020-01-28). "OYO welcomed 1,000,000 guests in Thailand in 3 months". Brand TD. Retrieved 2024-01-21.
  32. ^ Petpailin, Petch (2023-06-15). "Kamaa drama: Indian-owned club sparks chaos as tourists become targets in Pattaya (Video)". Thaiger. Retrieved 2024-02-01.
  33. ^ Rose, Samantha (2023-06-08). "Indian squatters run bar and rent rooms in abandoned Pattaya building". Thaiger. Retrieved 2024-02-01.
  34. ^ Erawan, Theera (2020-02-07). "India's destination image and loyalty perception in Thailand". International Journal of Tourism Cities. 6 (3): 565–582. doi:10.1108/IJTC-08-2019-0129. ISSN 2056-5607. S2CID 212970956.
  35. ^ "Summary of tourism expenses of Thai tourists traveling outside the country in 2017 (TOURISM EXPENDITURE BY OUTGOING THAI TRAVELLERS (Q1-Q4 2017))".