The kingdom of Thailand lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, making it a natural gateway to Indochina, Myanmar and Southern China. Its shape and geography is divided into four natural regions : the mountains and forests of the North; the vast rice fields of the Central Plains; the semi-arid farm lands of the Northeast plateau; and the tropical islands and long coastline of the peninsula South. Thailand is often referred to as a golden land because the country gives off a certain lustre from the fertile rice fields, the white sandy beaches and the warm hospitality of its people. Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, the present king being His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, or King Rama IX, the ninth king of the Chakri Dynasty.