Iranian in Thailand
Khaek Ma-ngon, Khaek Mahon, Khaek Chaosen
Regions with significant populations
Theravada Buddhism, minority Shia Islam
historically Zoroastrianism[1] and Judaism

Iranian migration to Thailand (Persian: مهاجرات ایرانیان به تایلند, romanizedMohājerat-e Irāniyān be Tāyland) began as early as the 17th century. Thai citizens of Iranian background or descent may be called in Thai: Khaek Ma-ngon (Thai: แขกมะหง่น, แขกมะหง่อน), Khaek Mahon (Thai: แขกมห่น, แขกมะห่น) or Khaek Chaosen (Thai: แขกเจ้าเซน; "Shia Muslim"). There is a community of Thai people of Iranian descent who still practice Shia Islam in many districts throughout Bangkok, such as Yan Nawa, Bueng Kum, Saphan Sung, and Min Buri, as well as parts of Chachoengsao Province.[2]


During the Ayutthaya Kingdom period, the Iranian community in Thailand consisted primarily of merchants. They are recorded in some memoirs of their fellow merchants, the Dutch East India Company, as well as in the Safine-ye Solaymani ("Ship of Solayman"), an account of a Persian embassy to King Narai.[3] Some descendants of Iranians from the Ayutthaya period converted to Buddhism, and continued to retain influence in Thai public life to the present day; one prominent example is the Bunnag family, whose ancestor "Shaykh Ahmad" is said to have come from Qom and arrived at Ayutthaya in 1602.[4] Shaykh Ahmad crushed and defeated Japanese merchants who attempted a coup against the Thai king in 1611.[5]

Influence and legacy

The presence of Iranians in Thailand came to be felt within the commerce, art, architecture, and culture of Thailand. Pieces of Thai architecture, art, and literature sometimes incorporated Persian-style icons, motifs, and more.[6]

Modern tourism

In recent years, Thailand has become a popular destination for Iranian medical tourists.[7] However, due to numerous incidents of methamphetamine smuggling, Iranians coming to Thailand fall under heavy suspicion from police.[8]

Cultural Center

An Iranian Cultural Center exists in Bangkok;[9] the Center convenes Persian language classes[10] and facilitates translations of Iranian works[11] into the Thai language.

See also


  1. ^ Somlak Wongrat (n.d.). อิหร่านใน...8 ทิวาราตรี [8 Days in Iran]. Nonthaburi : Amarin Book Center, p. 111-112
  2. ^ "นักเดินทาง...เพื่อความเข้าใจในแผ่นดิน" ธนบุรี, หน้า 153
  3. ^ Marcinkowski 2005, p. 32
  4. ^ Marcinkowski 2005, p. 87
  5. ^ "TOMB OF SHEIKH AHMAD QOMI". History of Ayutthaya.
  6. ^ Formichi, Chiara (2020). Islam and Asia: A History. Cambridge University Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-107-10612-3.
  7. ^ Pratruangkrai, Petchanet (2007-05-07), "Iranians buy ticket to health: wellness trips to Kingdom on the rise", The Nation, archived from the original on 2016-11-04, retrieved 2011-06-20
  8. ^ "Iranians top police watch list for possible drug traffickers", Bangkok Post, 2010-12-13, retrieved 2011-06-20
  9. ^ Iranians Cultural Center, archived from the original on 2019-01-12, retrieved 2018-07-20
  10. ^ New Persian language course, archived from the original on 2018-07-20, retrieved 2018-07-20
  11. ^ 'History of Quran' Published in Thai Language, retrieved 2018-07-20


Further reading