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Oh Thailand, I have so much to say! Where do I even start?
If you’re not new to the blog you are probably familiar that I had the chance to live in Thailand for a year in both Phuket and Bangkok for two internships. During that time, I really wanted to immerse myself into Thai customs and I tried my best to learn all I could from them. I am happy to say that I was not disappointed to discover there are actually thousands of interesting fun facts about this popular Southeast Asia destination than I never knew.
They have such a rich and fascinating culture. From their Buddhism philosophy to their unusually spicy food, that you can savor for extremely cheap prices at their sketchy street cars (yes, I am speaking a US$ 3 meal).
I’ve made some real good Thai friends there, especially while I was in Bangkok (yes, Rangie, I am talking about you, my love!!).
We had some fun night outs in that crazy city, where we always ended up having satay chicken and honey glazed pork on a stick.
Now that I think of it I am not sure if our hangovers the next day were exclusively due to alcohol.
In any case, considering Thailand is getting more popular every day as a one of Asia’s top holiday destinations, I tried my best to look back and remember the biggest and most interesting facts about this fascinating country.
If you haven’t been to the land of smiles yet, I would suggest immediately adding it to your bucket list of countries to visit in 2019!
Curiosities about Thailand
1.The country used to be called Siam before its name was converted to Thailand
2. Thai actually means free – so we are referring to the land of the free (and they are the only Eastern Asian country to not have been colonized by an European country)
3. When in fact, they are known to be ‘’the land of smiles’’ (Thailand hospitality is well-known to be amongst the warmest, as they smile for literally everything. Working with them, on the other hand, can be difficult, as not always the smile is genuine).
4. The King and Queen are like the father and mother of the Thai people. There is a great respect for their authority and everything they have done for the country.
5. In fact, Father and Mother’s day are during the king and queen’s birthday, respectively.
6. You can go to jail if you every say anything bad about any member of the royal family, being a local or a tourist
7. Never touch a Thais’ head, as the head is considered sacred and the cleanest part of your body.
8. On the other hand, feet are considered extremely dirty. It is a huge sign of disrespect pointing at anyone with your feet.
Tip: If your money ever flies from your hands in Thailand and you step on it and a policeman sees you, you will go to jail (as the money has the King’s face stamped on it). Best to let it fly, believe me.
9. Buddhism is the main philosophy they follow and they are strong believers of Karma (what you do to others will come back to you). Because of that, Thailand is actually a super safe place to live and travel.
10. Monks are extremely religious and there are specific rules for interacting with them, especially if you are a woman. The main one if for a woman never to touch them.
If you do have anything to offer, such as food (they can only eat what people offer them), place it gently in front of them.
It is a gesture of kindness to offer food, as it reminds us not to be selfish or greedy.
However, as in many countries, there are also the ”Monk Mafias” (mostly there to exploit tourism).
I’ve openly spoken about my feeling towards the so-called Tiger Temple Sanctuary, ran by Thai Monks. It has been widely reported the suspicions of those tigers being sold into the black market as they fully develop into adults.
11. Full moon party is just one of the many parties in Koh Phagnan. I personally found the Jungle Experience much cooler (there is also the half moon, the black moon).
Basically any time you go to Koh Phagnan there is a party going on. After going to this infamous fiesta 3 times, I’ve written down everything you need to know if your are going to the Full Moon Party. I’ve written down a super thorough post on the Full Moon Party here, if you ever want to know EXACTLY what happens during the infamous Thailand party.
12. The number 5 is pronounced as ‘ha’, so in Thai social media, when they laugh, they write down ”55555”
13. There is a certain ”obsession towards being white” in Asia, especially in the Eastern part. It is not uncommon to see cremes to whiten the skin being sold in pharmacies. If you look around, you will notice that all Thai propaganda has extremely fair skin models.
As an example, when I was living there and began getting more tanned after my daily trips to the beaches, they used to say that I was not looking good anymore ha ha ha (or should I say, 555)
14. Tuk Tuks (a kind of an open car) are a fun way of transportation, but obviously destined to tourists so of course it will be more expensive than any other transportation.
PRO TIP: Trust me you don’t want to take one in Bangkok, as the city is well-known for its massive traffic jams and pollution. It will get hot, very hot!
15. The Thai Greeting is called the Wai (when you place both palms of your hands against each other, placed on your chest height, with a slight bow of your head).
It is commonplace to be greeted by locals with the Wai, and they will appreciate your efforts by doing it back. The Wai traditionally means respect, and is usually used to greet and to politely say thank you.
Songrkan – Thailand’s New Year
Songkran is Thais version of new year and definitely a major Fun Fact about Thailand. It takes place from April 13-15, as marked in the traditional Buddhist calendar .
Its traditional water celebration consists of what the Thais consider a cleanse; Many Buddhists go to temples to pour water on Buddha images and on the hands of monks, as a sign of their respect.
Now Songrkan has grown to a bigger scale, thus becoming a massive water festival that attracts many tourists from around the world.
Therefore, basically you choose your weapon (a water gun or a bucket), fill it with water (there are thousands of hoses and barrels of water all over the city) and you literally throw it at everyone and everything you see on the street.
When I say literally, I really mean it! Meaning I’ve seen some Thais throw a full bucket of water with ice in the face of a guy passing by with a motorbike.
Needless to say Songkran is quite the dangerous day and it actually causes many deaths due to this irresponsible partying.
The party duration varies depending on the city and I remember in lasted 1 day in Bangkok, while in Chiang Mai it lasts
In addition, because Thailand follows the Buddhist calendar, they are 543 years ahead of the Gregorian calendar, meaning they are actually currently in the year 2561.
And by far my favorite fun fact about Thailand:
Did you know that Bangkok’s name is actually: Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit??
Have you ever been to Thailand? I found this video from Lost LeBlanc very inspiring, click here!
Did you know any of these facts? Is there anything I am forgetting to add to the list?