Posted by Roger Lindley
The first Rotary Club in Thailand was the Rotary Club of Bangkok. On September 17, 1930, the first and organizing meeting of RC Bangkok was held at Phya Thai Palace, Bangkok attended by 69 founding members representing 15 nationalities. H.R.H. Prince Purachatra Krom Phra Kampaeng Bejra was elected the Club’s Charter President. On November 28, 1930, RC Bangkok received Charter No. 3392 from Rotary International. Phya Thai Palace, was the first meeting place.
(above) On December 23, 1931, H.M. King Prachadipok, Rama VII, graciously attended the banquet held at Phya Thai Palace Hotel with H.R.H. Prince Purachatra as President of the Club.
(below) By letter received on September 15, 1955, on the occasion of RC Bangkok’s Silver Anniversary, H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, graciously consented to honor the Rotary Movement by becoming the Royal Patron of Rotary in Thailand. On February 27, 1969, H.M. The King graciously presided over the gala fund-raising dinner of RC Bangkok.
After a hiatus that covered the years of the Great Depression and World War 2, the second club in Thailand was chartered on 25 June 1958, the Rotary Club of Dhonburi. Myth and folklore has it that The Rotary Club of Bangkok South was the next club to be chartered and is actually the third club in Bangkok. But in between, clubs were established in Chiang  Mai (October 1959) and Nakhon Sawan (May 1960). So, when it was chartered on 6 August 1961, The Rotary Club of Bangkok South was actually the fifth club established in Thailand.

Other clubs then followed in rapid succession, and at 31 December 2014 there were 317 clubs in Thailand in all, with a total of 7,994 members. Today there are approximately 346 clubs in Thailand with about 8,420 members.

There are English-speaking clubs, as well as ones using Chinese, Japanese, French and German.
Initially Thailand was part of a Rotary District that encompassed clubs in several countries. An indication of the strength of Rotary in Thailand is that the country now has four Rotary Districts:
  • R.I. District 3330, covering Kanchanaburi/Nakhon Pathom down and the South
  • R.I. District 3340, covering the east/south-east and the north-east
  • R.I. District 3350, covering the central plains up to Nakhon Sawan
  • R.I. District 3360, covering the north above Nakhon Sawan
Other indications of the strength of Rotary in Thailand are the facts that, in 2002-03 Khun Bichai Rattakul was the President of Rotary International, the first Thai to hold the position (and the only one…so far), and that in May 2012 the annual Rotary International Convention was held in Bangkok. This brought tens of thousands of Rotarians from all around the world to Thailand and showcased the achievements of Rotary clubs here.
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