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The Malay-speaking Muslims live near to the border with Malaysia. There are communities of Korean- and Urdu-speaking peoples in Bangkok, and there is a small population of Mon in central Thailand.
Various peoples, commonly designated as hill tribes, inhabit the northern mountain areas.
The Pattani Malay, Malay, and Kedah Malay populations live in an area associated with the kingdom of Patani, which fell under Thai control in 1786.
The nineteen Tibeto-Burman-speaking groups include nine groups that speak Karen languages.
The total hill tribe population is about 500,000, with the Karen being the largest group (about 350,000).
There are several settlements of Palaung (about 5,000 people) near the Burmese border and several communities of Khmu, Phai, Mal, and Mlabri (about 75,000 in total) near the border with Laos.
The military governments after World War II promoted rapid economic development and attempted to assimilate ethnic minorities.
Various migrant communities speak Korean, Japanese, Tamil, and Urdu.
In the south, there are small groups of so-called sea gypsies and aboriginal Malays (about 6,000 people).
In the isolated inland areas of the south, there are about 1,000 forest-dwelling peoples referred to as Orang Asli in Malay. Thai is a Daic language in the southwestern Tai group.
The southern region is a narrow isthmus with hills running down the center.
The Thai (also known as the Central Tai) live mainly in the central region, with closely related groups of Tai-speaking peoples occupying most of the remainder of the nation.