Flag of Thailand

The flag of the Kingdom of Thailand (Thai: ธงไตรรงค์; RTGSthong trai rong, 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. Since 2016, that day is a national day of importance in Thailand celebrating the flag.[1]

Flag of Thailand.svg
NameTrairanga (Thai: ธงไตรรงค์, RTGS: thong trai rong), 'Tricolour flag'
UseNational flag, civil and state ensign
Adopted28 September 1917 (standardized on 30 September 2017)
DesignFive horizontal stripes of red, white, blue, white and red, the middle stripe twice as wide as the others
Designed byKing Vajiravudh (Rama VI)
Naval Ensign of Thailand.svg
Variant flag of Thailand
NameThai: ธงราชนาวี (RTGS: thong ratcha nawi), 'Royal Navy flag'
UseNaval ensign
Adopted28 September 1917
DesignA red disc containing a white elephant in regalia centered 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 the UK, France, Russia and the United States.[3]


The Flag Act of BE 2522 (1979)[4] stipulates the design of the national flag as "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]

Colour standardsEdit

The colours of the flag were standardised in an announcement of the Office of the Prime Minister dated 30 September 2017, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of its adoption.[6] It gives recommended values for determining the standard colours of physical cloth flags, defined in the CIELAB colour space under Illuminant D65 as follows.[7]

Colour CIELAB D65
L* a* b* ΔE*
Red 36.4 55.47 25.42 ≤1.5
White 96.61 −0.15 −1.48 ≤1.5
Blue 18.63 7.89 −19.45 ≤1.5


The Siamese Expeditionary Force during World War I with the Siamese tricolour in Paris, 1919
National flag of Thailand being flown in 2009 (before colour standardisation)

The first flag used for Siam was probably a plain red one, first used under Narai (1656–1688). Naval flags later used different symbols on the red ground—a white chakra, or a white elephant inside the chakra.

Officially the first flag was created in 1855 by Mongkut (Rama IV), showing a white elephant 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 1916, 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 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 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. 1680 – c. 1782   National ensign during late Ayutthaya and Thonburi periods A red plain rectangular flag.
c. 1782–1855   Civil ensign prior to 1855
c. 1782 – c. 1817   State and naval ensign decreed by Phutthayotfa Chulalok (Rama I) Red flag with a white chakra, presumably to represent the Chakri dynasty.
c. 1817–1855   Change instituted by Buddha Loetla Nabhalai (Rama II) Red flag with a white elephant inside the chakra.
c. 1843[8]–1855   Alternative civil ensign from 1843 to 1855 A white elephant, facing the hoist, centred on a red field. Thai: ธงช้างเผือก (Thong Chang Puak)[9]
1855–1893   National ensign decreed by Mongkut (Rama IV)
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 Vajiravudh (Rama VI)
1916–1917   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 (RTN) 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


  • Macharoen, Chawingam (2002). Thong Thai Laem 1. Bangkok. ISBN 974-419-454-5.


  1. ^ (in Thai) การฉลองครบรอบ 100 ปี การประกาศใช้ธงไตรรงค์ เป็นธงชาติไทย Thailand.prd.go.th, Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  2. ^ "Thailand: A Country Study". Country Studies Program, formerly the Army Area Handbook Program, from the Library of Congress. Mongabay.com. 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)(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). Krisdika.go.th. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  6. ^ มาตรฐานแถบสีธงชาติไทย [Flag of Thailand] (in Thai). National Science and Technology Development Agency. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Supplement of The Singapore Free Press, 26 October 1843
  9. ^ Roberto Breschi. "Siam Bandiera mercantile 1839" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 8 December 2004. Retrieved 25 September 2004.

External linksEdit