Considering the importance of merozoite surface proteins (MSPs) as vaccine candidates, this study was conducted to investigate the polymorphism and genetic diversity of Plasmodium vivax merozoite surface protein 3-alpha ( PvMSP-3α) in Thailand. To analyze genetic diversity, 118 blood samples containing P. vivax were collected from four malaria-endemic areas in western and southern Thailand. The DNA was extracted and amplified for the PvMSP-3α gene using nested PCR. The PCR products were genotyped by PCR-RFLP with Hha I and Alu I restriction enzymes. The combination patterns of Hha I and Alu I RFLP were used to identify allelic variants. Genetic evaluation and phylogenic analysis were performed on 13 sequences, including 10 sequences from our study and 3 sequences from GenBank. The results revealed three major types of PvMSP-3α, 91.5% allelic type A (∼1.8 kb), 5.1% allelic type B (∼1.5 kb), and 3.4% allelic type C (∼1.2 kb), were detected based on PCR product size with different frequencies. Among all PvMSP-3α, 19 allelic subtypes with Hha I RFLP patterns were distinguished and 6 allelic subtypes with Alu I RFLP patterns were identified. Of these samples, 73 (61%) and 42 (35.6%) samples were defined as monoallelic subtype infection by Hha I and Alu I PCR-RFLP, respectively, whereas 77 (65.3%) samples were determined to be mixed-allelic subtype infection by the combination patterns of Hha I and Alu I RFLP. These results strongly indicate that PvMSP-3α gene is highly polymorphic, particularly in blood samples collected from the Thai-Myanmar border area (the western part of Thailand). The combination patterns of Hha I and Alu I RFLP of the PvMSP-3α gene could be considered for use as molecular epidemiologic markers for genotyping P. vivax isolates in Thailand.