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The flag of the Kingdom of Thailand (Thai: ธงไตรรงค์, Thong Trairong, meaning "tricolour flag”) shows five horizontal stripes in the colours red, white, blue, white and red, with the central blue stripe being twice as wide as each of the other four. The design was adopted on 28 September 1917, according to the royal decree issued by Rama VI that year. Since 2016, that day is a national holiday in Thailand celebrating the nation's flag.[1]

Flag of Thailand.svg
Name Trairanga (Thai: ธงไตรรงค์, RTGS: Thong Trairong), "Tricolour flag"
Use National flag, civil and state ensign
Proportion 2:3
Adopted 28 September 1917
Design Five horizontal stripes of red, white, blue, white and red, the middle stripe twice as wide as the others
Designed by King Vajiravudh (Rama VI)
Naval Ensign of Thailand.svg
Variant flag of Thailand
Name Thai: ธงราชนาวี (RTGS: Thong Ratchanawi), "Royal Navy flag"
Use Naval Ensign and diplomatic flag
Proportion 2:3
Adopted 28 September 1917
Design A red disc containing a white elephant in regalia centred on the national flag

The colours are said to stand for nation-religion-king, an unofficial motto of Thailand,[2] red for the land and people, white for religions and blue for the monarchy, the last having been the auspicious colour of Rama VI. As the king declared war on Germany that July, some note the flag now bore the same colours as those of Britain, France, Russia and the United States.[3]



The Flag Act of BE 2522 (1979 CE)[4] stipulates the design of national flag as "[a] rectangular in shape with 6 part width and 9 part length, divided into five stripes throughout the length of the flag; with the middle stripe being 2 part wide, of deep blue colour, and the white stripes being 1 part wide next to each side of the deep blue stripes, and the red stripes being 1 part wide next to each side of the white stripes. The National Flag shall also be called the Tri-Rong flag".[5]

Construction sheet of the flag of Thailand

The colours of the flag were standardised in an announcement of the Office of the Prime Minister published in the Royal Thai Government Gazette on 4 October 2017. It gives recommended values for determining the standard colours of physical cloth flags, defined in the CIELAB colour space under Illuminant D65 as follows:[6]

Colour L* a* b* ΔE*
Red 36.4 55.47 25.42 Not exceeding 1.5
White 96.61 -0.15 -1.48 Not exceeding 1.5
Blue 18.63 7.89 -19.45 Not exceeding 1.5


The Siamese Expeditionary Force during World War I with the Siamese tricolour in Paris, 1919
National flag of Thailand
National flag of Siam in Paris

The first flag used for Siam was probably a plain red one, first used under King Narai (1656–1688). Naval flags later used different symbols on the red ground—a white chakra (the weapon of the Hindu god Vishnu, which is also used as the symbol of the House of Chakri), or a white elephant inside the chakra.

Officially the first flag was created in 1855 by King Mongkut (Rama IV), showing a white elephant (a royal symbol) on red ground, as the plain coloured flag was not distinct enough for international relations.

In 1916 the flag was changed to show a white elephant in royal regalia. In 1917, the current design, but with the middle colour being the same red as the outer stripe, was defined as the civil ensign. The story goes that during a flood King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) saw the flag hanging upside-down, and to prevent this from happening again created a new flag which was symmetrical. Later in 1917, the middle colour was changed to dark blue, which was similar in tone to indigo, which at the time was regarded as the auspicious colour for Saturday, the day King Vajiravudh was born. According to other sources, the blue colour was also chosen to show solidarity with the Allies of World War I, which also had the colours blue-red-white in their flags.


Flag Date Use Description
c.1700–c.1790   National ensign during late Ayutthaya and Thonburi periods A red plain rectangular flag.
c.1790–1855   Civil ensign prior to 1855
c.1790–c.1820   State and naval ensign decreed by King Phutthayotfa Chulalok (Rama I) Red flag with a white chakra, presumably to represent the Chakri Dynasty.
c.1820–1855   Change instituted by King Buddha Loetla Nabhalai (Rama II) Red flag with a white elephant inside the chakra.
1855–1893   National ensign decreed by King Mongkut (Rama IV) A white elephant, facing the hoist, centred on a red field. Called in Thai language "Thong Chang Puak (in thai: ธงช้างเผือก)"[7] (elephant flag).
1893–1916   Civil ensign until 1916
1893–1898   State and naval ensign, to be displayed defaced with the flyer's emblem on the upper hoist corner A white elephant in regalia, facing the hoist, centred on a red field
1898–1912   State and naval ensign
1912–1917   State flag and ensign, decreed by King Vajiravudh (Rama VI)
1917   Civil ensign Red flag with two horizontal white stripes one-sixth wide, one-sixth from the top and bottom
1917–present   National flag, civil and state ensign Flag with horizontal blue stripe one-third wide between white stripes one-sixth wide, between red stripes one-sixth wide, known as the Trairanga

Maritime flagsEdit

Naval ensign of Thailand
Naval jack of Thailand

The naval ensign of the Royal Thai Navy is the national flag with a red circle in the middle that reaches as far as the red stripes at the top and bottom. In the circle stands a white elephant, in full caparison, facing the hoist The kingdom's naval jack is the national flag defaced with the emblem of the Royal Thai Navy in the middle. The regimental colours of the RTN is as same as this flag; both ensigns were adopted in 1917.

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ (in Thai) การฉลองครบรอบ 100 ปี การประกาศใช้ธงไตรรงค์ เป็นธงชาติไทย, Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  2. ^ "Thailand: A Country Study". Country Studies Program, formerly the Army Area Handbook Program, from the Library of Congress. Retrieved 23 July 2011. Sarit revived the motto "Nation-Religion-King" as a fighting political slogan for his regime, which he characterized as combining the paternalism of the ancient Thai state and the benevolent ideals of Buddhism. 
  3. ^ Duncan Stearn (14–20 February 2003). "A Slice of Thai History: Raising the standard; Thailand's national flags". Pattaya Mail. Retrieved 24 July 2011. The prevailing – although unofficial – view of the meaning of the five stripes is that red represents the land and the people; the white is for Theravada Buddhism, the state religion and the central blue stripe symbolises the monarchy. It has also been stated that blue was the official colour of King Rama VI. Another account claims the blue was inserted as a show of solidarity following Thailand’s entry into the First World War (in July 1917) as an ally of Britain and France. 
  4. ^ The Flag Act of BE 2522 (1979 CE)(Thai: พระราชบัญยัติธง พ.ศ.2522) in Royal Thailand Gazette No. 96 Section 67 special edition page 1
  5. ^ "An unofficial translation from the Office of the Council of State" (PDF). Retrieved 9 January 2018. 
  6. ^ "ประกาศสำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี เรื่อง รูปธงชาติตามพระราชบัญญัติธง พ.ศ. 2522" [Announcement of the Office of the Prime Minister regarding appearance of the National Flag in accordance with the Flag Act, B.E. 2522] (PDF). Royal Thai Government Gazette (in Thai). 164 (Special 245 D): 1–2. 4 October 2017. Retrieved 4 October 2017. 
  7. ^ Roberto Breschi. "Siam Bandiera mercantile 1839" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 8 December 2004. Retrieved 25 September 2004. 

External linksEdit