Main Article Content
This research article aimed to highlight the potentials and limitations, and the specialization of regional cities in Thailand. Multiple data collection techniques were applied: direct field observations, key informant interviews, a literature review, and data retrieval from the Internet. A geographic information system, descriptive statistics, and content analysis were utilized for data analysis. It was found that all regional cities had potential in the population aspect as the highest concentration of urban population in their individual regions, the center of non-farm sector production, and the educational center (except Songkhla with the outstanding role as the commercial and service center overshadowed by Hat Yai’s influence). Limitations were also found in various social services (especially for public health) as well as in road network and urban structure (except Chiang Mai with its well-planned road network). It could thus be summarized from the present status that all regional cities were centers of human settlement and urbanization. In comparison to other regional cities, Chiang Mai’s specialization was mostly in commerce and education. Khon Kaen was the industrial center and the growth center of the western Indochina Peninsula. Chonburi specialized in export- oriented manufacturing and international trade, enhanced by Mueang Pattaya—the hub of world-class tourism. If the role of Hat Yai were taken into account, Songkhla would be the border trading center of the central Malay Peninsula.