The Thai government reported 4,812confirmed deaths, 8,457 injuries, and 4,499 missing after the country was hit by a tsunami caused by the Indian Ocean earthquake on 26 December 2004. The Thai authorities estimate that at least 8,150 are likely to have died. The popular tourist resort of Phuket was badly hit. The smaller but increasingly popular resort area of Khao Lak some 80 km north of Phuket was hit far worse with 3,950 confirmed deaths, however, the death toll in Khao Lak may have exceeded 4,500. The severity of the situation in Khao Lak is probably explained by the fact, that unlike the high-rise hotels of Phuket, the village of Khao Lak only had low built bungalows instead of high-rise concrete hotels. Khao Lak also has an extensive area of flatland only a few metres above the sea level, on which most bungalows were situated. Hundreds of holiday bungalows on the Phi Phi Islands were washed out to sea. Tuk-tuk drivers were quick to offer assistance, driving victims to hospitals, higher grounds and away from the surging waters. Bhumi Jensen, grandson of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was among those killed. The nearby Ko Lanta Yai, however, wasn't afflicted as badly.
The economic impact of the tsunami on Thailand was considerable, though not as great as in poorer countries such as Indonesia or Sri Lanka. Thailand has a liberalised, flexible and robust economy, which has shown powers of rapid recuperation after previous setbacks. The sectors most badly damaged have been tourism and fishing. The beach resorts along the Andaman Sea coast have been extensively damaged, and the rebuilding of the infrastructure takes several years. Many Thai-owned hotels and other small businesses have been ruined, and the Thai government provided large amounts of capital to enable the recovery of the private sector.