Iranians in Thailand

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Iranian in Thailand
Khaek Ma-ngon, Khaek Mahon, Khaek Chaosen
Regions with significant populations
Theravada Buddhism, minority Shia Islam
historically Zoroastrianism[1] and Judaism

Iranian migration to Thailand began as early as the 17th century. Thai citizens of Persian background or descent may be called in Thai: Khaek Ma-ngon (Thai: แขกมะหง่น, แขกมะหง่อน), Khaek Mahon (Thai: แขกมห่น, แขกมะห่น) or Khaek Chaosen (Thai: แขกเจ้าเซน; "Shia Muslim")


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.[2] Some descendants of Iranians from the Ayutthaya period converted to Buddhism, and continued to retain influence in Thai public life 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.[3]

Modern tourism[edit]

In recent years, Thailand has become a popular destination for Iranian medical tourists.[4] However, due to numerous incidents of methamphetamine smuggling, Iranians coming to Thailand fall under heavy suspicion from police.[5]

Cultural Center[edit]

An Iranian Cultural Center exists in Bangkok[6] that convenes Persian language classes[7] and facilitates translations of Iranian works[8] into the Thai language.


  1. ^ Somlak Wongrat (n.d.). อิหร่านใน...8 ทิวาราตรี [8 Days in Iran]. Nonthaburi : Amarin Book Center, p. 111-112
  2. ^ Marcinkowski 2005, p. 32
  3. ^ Marcinkowski 2005, p. 87
  4. ^ Pratruangkrai, Petchanet (2007-05-07), "Iranians buy ticket to health: wellness trips to Kingdom on the rise", The Nation, retrieved 2011-06-20
  5. ^ "Iranians top police watch list for possible drug traffickers", Bangkok Post, 2010-12-13, retrieved 2011-06-20
  6. ^ Iranians Cultural Center, retrieved 2018-07-20
  7. ^ New Persian language course, retrieved 2018-07-20
  8. ^ ‘History of Quran’ Published in Thai Language, retrieved 2018-07-20


  • Marcinkowski, M. Ismail (2005), From Isfahan to Ayutthaya: Contacts between Iran and Siam in the 17th Century, Singapore: Pustaka Nasional, ISBN 978-9971-77-491-2

Further reading[edit]