Thailand is one of the top holiday destinations in the world and there are many reasons for this; the climate, the cuisine, the culture and the warm hospitality of Thai people, are all reasons why people love spending their downtime in the Land of Smiles.
If you are planning a visit to Thailand, here are a few fun facts that you likely are not aware of.
- It is illegal to drive shirtless – Despite the image of liberality, the Thais are very modest and it is against the law to drive without a shirt. This also applies to motorcycles, so don’t ride down the street to your hotel near Patong Beach shirtless, otherwise, you might have a problem.
- Thailand has never been colonised – Yes, it’s true! Thailand, formerly Siam, was the only Southeast Asian nation to escape colonisation. A former monarch, King Rama V, negotiated with the British and French and gave both countries some land to the north and south, which satisfied the invaders.
- Siam changed its name to Thailand twice – You probably know that Thailand was formerly Siam, yet the name was changed twice; Siam changed its name to Thailand in 1939, yet reversed the name change in 1945, then changed back to Thailand in 1949.
- There are 44 characters in the Thai language – Thai has 5 tones, 22 consonants and 22 vowel sounds, making it complex for foreigners to learn. It takes most people at least 5 years to reach a level of fluency and some people live in Thailand for 20 years and still can’t speak the language. If you only plan on spending a few weeks in Thailand, get a small phrase book and you should be fine.
- Thai National Anthem – While every country has a national anthem, in Thailand, it is broadcast throughout the country at 08:00 am and 6:00 pm every day. It is customary for everyone to stop what they are doing and stand to attention and the Thais revere their royal family, so we advise you to respect this activity. Click here for a few tips on choosing a holiday destination.
- Thailand is the number 1 rice exporter in the world – The tropical climate in Thailand is perfect for rice and for many decades, Thailand has been at the top of the rice export list. There is even a special government department that is dedicated to creating new rice strains, which they hand out to rice farmers.
- Thai superstitions – There are many superstitions in Thailand, one example is it is considered bad luck to have your hair cut on a Wednesday. Thais all believe in ghosts and most Thai households have a tiny spirit house in the front garden. Thailand has its roots in animism, although 90% of Thais are Buddhist.
Check out the Tourism Authority of Thailand for detailed information on the culture and many attractions offered to foreign tourists.