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Iranians in Thailand


Iranians in Thailand

Iranian in Thailand
Khaek Ma-ngon, Khaek Chaosen
Regions with significant populations
Theravada Buddhism, minority Shia Islam

Iranian migration to Thailand began as early as the 17th century. People of Iranian ancestry may be called in Thai: Khaek Ma-ngon (Thai: แขกมะหง่น) or Khaek Chaosen (Thai: แขกเจ้าเซน "Shia Muslim")


  • History 1
  • Modern tourism 2
  • References 3
  • Bibliography 4
  • Further reading 5


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 Ship of Sulaiman, an account of a Persian embassy to King Narai.[1] Some descendants of Iranians from the Ayutthaya period converted to Buddhism, and continued to retain influence in Thai public life down 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.[2]

Modern tourism

In recent years, Thailand has become a popular destination for Iranian medical tourists.[3] However, due to numerous incidents of methamphetamine smuggling, Iranians coming to Thailand fall under heavy suspicion from police.[4]


  1. ^ Marcinkowski 2005, p. 32
  2. ^ Marcinkowski 2005, p. 87
  3. ^ Pratruangkrai, Petchanet (2007-05-07), "Iranians buy ticket to health: wellness trips to Kingdom on the rise", The Nation, retrieved 2011-06-20 
  4. ^ "Iranians top police watch list for possible drug traffickers", Bangkok Post, 2010-12-13, retrieved 2011-06-20 


  • Marcinkowski, M. Ismail (2005), From Isfahan to Ayutthaya: Contacts between Iran and Siam in the 17th Century, Singapore: Pustaka Nasional,  

Further reading

  • Muhammad Rabi' ibn Muhammad Ibrahim; John O'Kane, translator (1972), The Ship of Sulaiman, London: Routledge,  
  • Marcinkowski, M. Ismail (2002), "The Iranian-Siamese Connection: An Iranian Community in the Thai Kingdom of Ayutthaya", Iranian Studies 35 (1–3): 23–46,  
  • Nagashima, Hiromu (1996), "Persian Muslim Merchants in Thailand and their Activities in the 17th Century", 長崎県立大学論集 30 (3): 387–399 

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