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Whether you’re living in Thailand or just visiting, it’s very likely that some fascinating facts about this endlessly intriguing country have escaped your notice.

In my case, after spending two months in Chiang Mai, six days in Pai, and countless bleary-eyed nights in Bangkok, I still had a lot to learn about Thailand.

Many destinations in Thailand have done such a good job catering to foreigners that Thai culture has become somewhat sanitized – especially in the well-traversed areas of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and the southern islands.

But scratch beneath the surface and it’s not too hard to find fascinating religious rituals, mind-boggling festivals, and a people as rich in unique traditions as they are in warm, welcoming smiles.

The Wise Traveller

Here are 17 facts about Thailand that filled us with awe and piqued our curiosity – how about you?

  1. Thailand is home to the world’s smallest mammal, the adorable Kitti’s hog-nosed bat. It’s about the size of a chicken wing.
  2. Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country untouched by European and American colonialism.
  3. Forget Bangkok – Thais lovingly refer to Thailand’s capital city as Krung Thep Maha Nakho. If that’s not enough of a mouthful for you, try the city’s full name on for size: Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit.
  4. Bangkok is the most visited city in the world. 
  5. The annual Vegetarian Festival held throughout the country is perhaps most popular in Phuket, where local Thai Chinese express their commitment to Taoism through self-mutilation. People cut their skin and tongues, impale their bodies with sticks and other objects, and slash themselves with knives, swords, and axes in demonstration of their piety. 
  6. It’s Thailand – not Vietnam or China – that is the largest rice exporter in the entire world. 
  7. In the English-speaking world, Thailand was known as Siam until 1939, when it was first changed to Thailand. The name then reverted back to Siam from 1945 to 1949, when it was changed back to Thailand once more.
  8. In Thailand, it’s illegal to speak ill of the King or to step on Thai Baht, the local currency. 
  9. A person’s head is considered very holy, while their feet are considered dirty. You should avoid touching either area on another person, and take care not to point your feet in someone else’s general direction.
  10. There are over 1,400 islands in Thailand.
  11. The world’s first pair of Siamese twins was born in what was then Siam. Eng and Chang Bunker grew up outside of Bangkok and later moved to the United States. By the way, Siamese cats can also trace their roots back to Thailand. 
  12. The most expensive cocktail in the world was offered in Thailand. It was available at Bangkok’s Vivaldi restaurant for a cool $15,000, and included a night in the adjoining hotel and a five-karat ruby to boot.
  13. Thailand’s calendar is 543 years ahead of the Gregorian calendar. At the time of writing, the year in Thailand is now 2,562.
  14. In 2009, a Thai woman named Kanchana Ketkaew broke her own world record when she spent 33 days and nights in a glass room filled with 5,000 venomous scorpions. Ketkaew was bitten 13 times but emerged the unchallenged champion of scorpion co-habiting.
  15. It’s illegal for men to walk around shirtless in Thailand. While most police will look the other way if you’re on the beach, walking around sans t-shirt in the middle of Bangkok could definitely get you fined.
  16. It’s not unusual for summer temperatures in Bangkok to reach 40°C or higher. In fact, Bangkok is the sixth hottest city on earth according to the Telegraph.
  17. In Thailand, it’s illegal to leave your home without wearing underwear. Not sure how they enforce this law, but better safe than sorry, right?

The Wise Traveller

The Wise Traveller provides a unique annual subscription inclusive of full comprehensive multi-trip travel insurance, private hotel discounts, car rental discounts, airport lounge access options and a growing range of travel products and services

Comments

Rated
7.5
Richard
ELITE
789 comments
16 October 2019
Fantastic article, thanks for sharing.
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Rated
8
Lightfoot Travel
CONTRIBUTOR
4 comments
12 October 2019
The great thing about Thailand is that there’s always somewhere new to discover. Here’s where to put on your hit list for the rest of 2019, as recommended by Lightfoot Travel, starting with Golden Triangle. Thailand’s most northern province is the perfect place to pitch up with a book by the river, trek to ancient settlements and visit the colourful hill-tribes. Rest your head at Anantara Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai a tranquil property which offers guests the chance to interact with elephants and learn about Mahout training. It’s also home to two brand new Jungle Bubbles – transparent domes with a bedroom, living space and bespoke furnishings - offering uninterrupted views of the pachyderms. read full story here: https://www.expatchoice.asia/travel/thailand-escapes-all
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Rated
8
Om
CONTRIBUTOR
2 comments
12 October 2019
Once you visit Thailand, every fibre in your body will ache to revisit this beautiful country. The place, with its charismatic nightlife and mesmerizing beaches, is ideal for backpackers, honeymooners, as well as solo travellers. Other than this, if you want to experience Thai culture, you will have to delve into its arts, food, and history. In Thailand, one can appreciate the warmth, humility, friendliness, different smells and tastes, and spiritual peace. Here are five ways to truly enjoy Thailand on a holiday trip. https://www.expatchoice.asia/travel/5-ways-enjoy-thailand-holiday-trip
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