Thailand is currently the 49th largest country in the world; it is a little bigger than the US state, California. Thailand is currently divided into 75 different provinces, or changwat. These provinces are grouped by location into 6 province groups: Northern, Northeastern, Central, Eastern, Western and Southern. Each province has a capital, which has the same name as the province. For example, Songkhla province has a capital city, which is also called Songkhla. The word mueang is often placed in front of the city’s name to avoid confusion. Typically, the provincial capital is also the largest city in the province, with the exception of Songkhla, Chonburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan.
The country’s capital, Bangkok, is not a province but a separate administrative area. It is usually included as a 76th province as it functions on the same level as the other provinces. Bangkok also happens to be the province with the highest population and the highest population density. Each province is administered by a governor. The Ministry of the Interior appoints the governor to each province, except for in Bangkok, whose governor is elected. Also, each province is divided into smaller districts called amphoe. There are 877 districts currently in Thailand. The fifty districts of Bangkok are called khet. The number of districs in each province varies from three to fifty. There are two more subdivision levels tambon (subdistricts) and muban (villages). In Bangkok the tambon are called khwaeng.