Being one of the top countries in Far East Asia and even the world for traveling, Thailand has a diverse list of things for travelers to explore. Of course, knowing more about a destination always make your trip more enjoyable and experience. Let’s go through 15 interesting Thailand facts in this post, and see what are those that make the country an attractive destination in the world.
About the Country, the Cities, and the People
The word Thai means free in their locals’ language. Therefore, the meaning of the name of the country Thailand is “Land of the Free”. Besides, there are other things about the country, its cities, and the citizen that certainly you will find them so much interesting:
1. The Emblem of Thailand
Garuda is considered a religious and belief symbol of the Royal Thai and the entire nation. According to legend, the Garuda is a god bird in Hinduism and the mount of the god Vishnu. It has a shape like a bird of prey with a human-similar head, 3 eyes, and a beak of the eagle. When visiting the Hindu religious buildings, you will have the opportunity to see the statues of Garuda.
You know, I’m even more excited about this when figuring out that Indonesia also uses Garuda as their national symbol. It’s Garuda Pancasila.
2. Thailand is a Country That Has Never Been Under Colonial Rule
Yes, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country that has never been under colonial rule. Back in the 19th century, when the British and French came to the region and colonized Thailand’s neighbor countries. Particularly, Laos and Cambodia were colonies of France, while Malaysia and Myanmar were British ones. At that same time, they just exerted pressure on Siam, which is Thailand nowadays. Indeed, the country was known as Siam from the mid-14th century until 1939 and again used this name between 1945 and 1949.
As a son of a country that went through different wars, this is one of the most interesting facts about Thailand to me, honestly.
3. Bangkok isn’t the Official Name of Thailand’s Capital
It’s just an easy way for travelers or any person to call the capital city of Thailand. Yet, the residents call it Krung Thep Maha Nakho in Thai. And In fact, the full official name of the capital Bangkok is very long: “Krung Thep Maha Nakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udom Ratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanu Kamprasit”. I know you are trying to count, but let me do it for you. It’s 23 words!
Honestly, I hope that I can translate it 90% right. In general, it roughly means: “The city of the angels, the great city of immortal gods, the magnificent treasure city of god Indra, the golden throne of King Ayutthaya, the city of magnificent temples, the city of Royal’s palace and majestic realm, the house of Vishnu and all the gods”.
Bangkok also has its nickname “Venice of the East” because there are many surrounding canals as well as activities take place on the canals and rivers.
4. ~95% of Thai People are Buddhist
It’s true. According to Wikipedia (Apr 2021), approximately 95% of Thai people are Buddhist. In other words, it’s the second-largest population in the world that follows Buddhism, just after China. Even, men in Thailand have to be a monk at one point in their life. The period could be 6 months or 1 year at least.
You can easily find everywhere in Thailand works of Buddhist architectural style. Often referred to as “the land of smile”, Thailand was voted the 5th friendliest country in the world by Rouch Guides. When wandering around the country, you can get help or a welcome smile from a shopkeeper, driver, monk, or just an ordinary citizen.
The Royal Family and the Rules
Thailand is one of the countries in the world that follow a model-like constitutional monarchy in the United Kingdom. In which, the King reigns at the head of the country and the Prime Minister directs the activities of the government. There are also interesting facts of Thailand about the Royal and the rules:
5. “Mother’s Day” and “Father’s Day” are not for Mothers and Dads
Instead, these days are dedicated to honoring the spiritual father and mother of the Thailand people, the king and queen. Actually, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in Thailand are fixed every year following the birthday of Queen Mother Sirikit and her late husband, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX).
Alongside, some people still celebrate the international Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to show their love to the parents.
6. Royal Offenses Can be Imprisoned
Thailand follows a constitutional monarchy, with most Thai people revering the king and queen. To illustrate, in my trip traveling from Bangkok to Pattaya, I saw the image of Thailand’s king and queen almost everywhere. Evenly, many families hang a picture of the king at home. Yes, slandering the royal family can put you in jail.
Moreover, in the previous time, no one was allowed to touch royal members. Even in the 19th century, a queen drowned when her boat capsized and no one dared to come to save her due to this strict law. You can find this story about “the Wrecked Queen” Sunanda Kumariratana.
7. It is Against the Law to Step on Money
Stepping on money in any country is not good, but if you do it in Thailand, you are breaking the law. Because the king is highly revered in Thailand, the country’s bills with the king’s picture are also highly respected. Therefore, if you drop or see a note or coin falling on the street, carefully pick it up with your hand.
The above and these facts about Thailand are not simply a reminder, but also a note for you to know and respect the locals’ etiquette when traveling to the country.
8. Drive and Go on the Left Side of the Road and the Colorful Taxis
Unlike most countries in the world, in Thailand, people walk on the left side of the road. So, for those who come from countries that participating in traffic on the right, you may have a little difficulty if you want to rent a self-drive car. The driver’s seat is on the right side of the car too.
In addition, Thailand also deserves the name “rainbow country of taxis” as taxis in the country of the Golden Temple are painted with colorful colors such as red, pink, orange, green or green, or red. With a view from the above, you can see places in Thailand as big pictures with so many colors on them.
9. Shirtless in Public in a City is Against the Law
Although Thailand is a popular tourist destination, be careful with clothing. In truth, the police do not impose a fine on locals or tourists sunbathing on the beach, but you will face a large fine for getting shirtless when you are in the city.
The rule especially applies to the drivers. Therefore, you could see the taxi or bus drivers wearing quite well and politely.
The Same Thing Applies to Underwear
Yes, this could be one of the funniest Thailand facts about this country that you might not know is that it is illegal to go out without underwear. However, many people still don’t know how to check this.
Attractions and Traditional, Cultural Festivals
I save the best for last. Yes, here are the main reasons that attract tourist to the country:
10. The Rocket Festivals
A bizarre event in the northern provinces of Thailand is the Rocket Festivals. In which, participants will make their own celestial rockets from bamboo, paper, or plastics, then fill them with explosives. After that, the players take them to test with other competitors. There are different prizes for the highest-flying rocket, the most attractive rocket, and the most impressive vapor trail.
This festival celebrates in May. You can find it in some provinces but the northeast region of Isaan would be the most well-known.
11. The Largest Water Festival in the World
Songkran is one of the largest and famous water festivals in the world. It takes place in April – the hottest month in Thailand. At this period, many places across the country all celebrate this occasion. This is also the time to clean the house to welcome the Thai New Year. Therefore, if you decide to travel to Thailand at this time for the event, make sure you prepare enough toys and clothes for the water fights. Enjoy!
12. Yi Peng Lantern Festival
The Yi Peng Lantern Festival is a long-standing traditional festival of the Thai people. It is usually held on the full moon night of December on the Thai calendar, which is around mid-November of the normal calendar.
The locals here “believe that it is the time when the rivers are richest and the moon is brightest – a perfect time to express gratitude and good luck for the new year”.
13. Siamese Cats and Wishes in Wedding Ceremony
Siamese cat is native to Thailand. In Thailand, they are called ‘Wichien Maat’, which means “diamond gold”. In Thai tradition, bringing a pair of Siamese cats to the bride at the wedding is a blessing for a hundred years together of the couple.
14. The Temple of a Million Beer Bottles
In Khun Han district, Sisaket province, there is a temple made of 1.5 million beer bottles. Truly, the monks here have been collecting beer bottles since 1984 to build this temple called Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew. Most of the “building materials” are Heineken and Chang beer bottles. Yeah, I feel proud of the two beer brands. Even beer bottles and pagoda aren’t a good match, this such one of the most interesting Thailand facts I ever know.
15. There Is Even A School for Monkeys
Do you believe it? Thailand has a school dedicated to monkeys, called Monkey Training College. Here, the monkeys learned to perform and pick coconuts. In addition, this tourist country has a festival in which tons of fruits and vegetables are delivered to monkeys.
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