Thailand is a Southeast Asian country. It’s known for tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, ancient ruins and ornate temples displaying figures of Buddha. In Bangkok, the capital, an ultramodern cityscape rises next to quiet canalside communities and the iconic temples of Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaew). Nearby beach resorts include bustling Pattaya and fashionable Hua Hin.
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Reasons to travel to Thailand and experience what this country has to offer!
Only foreigners call Thailand’s capital city Bangkok. In Thai, its real name is Krung Thep. But, even that’s a shortened version of the city’s full name: The offical name of Bangkok is one of the longest names in the world! Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom.
Thai people have the utmost adoration and respect for their royal family, which is just as well since it’s considered treason to criticize or show disrespect to any member of the monarchy.
You’ll also find that Mother’s Day in Thailand is held on the Queen’s birthday while Father’s Day is held on the King’s birthday, with both days celebrated by Thais all over the country in honor of their beloved monarchs.
Although Thailand doesn’t have an official religion, around 95 percent of the population is Buddhist. And, as the ‘guardian of the faith’, the Thai King must always be Buddhist.
Most Thai people have two names – their full, official name and their nickname. But, unlike in other countries where a nickname is usually just a shortened version of your real name, Thai nicknames are meaningful and chosen by your parents at birth.
Thai parents will often choose names with significance in Thai or words that they like the sound of in foreign languages. Some common nicknames include Bank, Neung (one), and Benz for boys and Tangmo (watermelon), Chompoo (rose apple), and Nan.
If you love learning fun facts about language, Thai has plenty of unique and interesting features.
There are 76 letters in the Thai alphabet, including 44 consonants and 32 vowels! Thai also has five tones, making it very difficult to learn. To our Western ears, a lot of tones sound the same but getting an inflection wrong can make all the difference.
Thailand was known as Siam until 1939 when it was changed to Thailand. But it was changed back to Siam for a short period from 1945 – 1949 until it settled on its current name. But did you know that Siamese cats originated in Thailand? That explains the name for you! Siamese cats are considered lucky in Thailand.
As this impressive feat shows, random fun facts can be educational too!
Unlike neighboring Southeast Asian countries Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Malaysia, Thailand was never colonized by Europeans. It seems apt, then, that Thailand’s name in Thai is Prathet Thai, which translates as ‘Land of the Free’.
Thai culture considers the head as the most important part of the body. As such, you should never touch someone else’s head, not even a child’s.
At the other end of the body, Thais consider feet to be lowly. Feet are seen as symbols of our attachment to the earth, linking our human bodies to suffering and struggle. For this reason, you should never put your feet up on a table and show the soles of your shoes. And using your feet to point at another person or a temple statue is considered the height of rudeness.
Thailand is a popular spot for culinary travel, and with good reasons. The intense combinations of flavors used in Thai cooking make sampling local delights a real treat for all the senses.
But, there are some Thai favorites that take a little more getting used to, including deep-fried cockroaches and other insects. Many tourists try them out on the Khao San Road for a dare but they’re actually not a gimmick like many foreigners think. At fairs and markets all over the country, you’ll see Thais tucking into a bag of fried insects in the same way we’d munch on candies or potato chips.