Thai Town is officially designated by the city of Los Angeles as a six-block area centered along Hollywood Boulevard between Normandie Avenue and Western Avenue. The neighborhood's entrance is marked by two statues of apsonsi (a mythical half human, half lion angel in Thai folklore).
Los Angeles has the largest Thai population outside of Thailand. Roughly 80,000 of California's estimated 120,000 Thai Americans live in Los Angeles. It is also home to the world's first Thai Town. In 2002 there was an estimated 80,000 Thai immigrants living in Los Angeles. Thai Chinese are also included in the population. Because of this, Los Angeles is sometimes referred to as Thailand's 78th province. Like Los Angeles, Bangkok (Thailand's capital) is known as "the City of Angels" (Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, Bangkok's official name, means "the City of Angels").
On the first Sunday in April, Thai Town celebrates Songkran, the Thai New Year, by closing off Hollywood Boulevard within its boundaries, and setting up food stands and entertainment on the street along with a parade on Hollywood Boulevard from New Hampshire Avenue to Winona Boulevard.
Thai Town began in the 1960s when many Thais went to Los Angeles to study (as a result of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965); many decided to stay and open businesses. A 1980s regional financial crisis led many Thais to come to Thai Town and find work. City Council designated the neighborhood on October 27, 1999; during that time it had many of the estimated 80,000 Thais in Southern California.