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With an area of over half a million square kilometres, or roughly that of France, Thailand is second only to Myanmar in size among the countries which make up mainland SE Asia. It lies entirely within the tropics and the distance between its northern point (latitude c. 20°30′N) and its southern point (latitude c. 5°30′N) is a distance of over 1600 km. About four-fifths of the country forms a compact northern land area bordered by Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. The southern part of the country partly surrounds the Gulf of Thailand (an inlet of the South China Sea), the western arm of this embrace forming the Thai Peninsula which extends south to the border with Malaysia. The western side of the peninsula is partly bordered by southernmost Myanmar and partly by the Andaman Sea.

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