Thailand has a long and proud history as a beautiful country. Of the millions for tourists flocking every year to its coasts, just a handful end up learning something about the Land of Smiles ‘ history or culture. Whether you’ve been or are hoping to go, here are some facts about Thailand that you likely didn’t know.
1. Thailand has never been colonized
Thai means free as in independent, Land of the Free “is fitting, as Thailand is the only nation in Southeast Asia that has never been colonized by a foreign power.
Although neighboring countries have all been colonized by European powers in the past, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos, Thailand has never been which is why it calls itself the land of the free.
Also Read: 7 Ruins of Thailand: Tales of Old Glory
2. Paradise for monkeys
There are some great universities and prestigious institutions in Thailand, but it is also home to some that are a little more unusual. Thailand has a monkey college in Surat Thani–that’s right, a monkey college. Monkeys are trained to perform and harvest coconuts in these institutions and are rewarded when they graduate with a big feast.
Thailand also has a rare banquet — a monkey buffet, offering platters of fruit and vegetables to thousands of monkeys.
3. The elephant is a sign of great importance
Elephants can be seen everywhere in Thailand, or at least representations of elephants. Throughout the nation, they adorn clothing, rugs, paintings and more.
The role of the elephant in Thailand began as early as the late 1500s. To defend the Empire, the Thais took advantage of the overwhelming size and strength of the elephants to fight against the Burmese, Malays, and Khmer.
Because the elephant is Thailand’s national symbol, at many festivals and events they are the main attraction. On the third weekend of November, thousands of locals flocked to the Surin Elephant Round-up (surely the most famous of them all) to see hundreds of elephants playing games and being part of ceremonies. Polo players come from around the world at the King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Bangkok to ride on these animals.
4. Land of ghosts
Most Thais believe in ghosts strongly. For instance, it is very popular to build a small spirit house after purchasing a house for whoever inhabited the site in the past and to send spirits offerings. If you were to live in a Thai room, you may be asked to make a small bid and ask the spirits for your stay permission. Naturally, each family and their degree of belief is different, but walking around after dark just got a little spookier.
5. World no. 1 tourist destination
According to Mastercard’s 2018 Global Destination Cities Ranking, Bangkok is the most visited city in the world with more than 20 million international visitors in 2017. The capital city of Thailand is forecast to see a 9.06 million increase in international visitors this year, according to Forbes.
6. Birthplace of Red Bull
Red Bull has its origins in Thailand, the world-famous power drink. It is based on Krating Daeng, a drink that has been popular since 1976 in Thailand (and ultimately throughout Asia). Red Bull has been revamped to “suit west taste.”
7. Longest city name
You are lucky to know Bangkok as “Bangkok.” The real name is one of the longest names in the world, composed of Pali and Sanskrit root words: Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit.
8. “95% of Thai people are Buddhist”
In Thailand, As many as 95% of the people identify themselves as Buddhists. This can help explain why all the time Thai people are so calm and relaxed.
It was thought that all people should spend a period working as monks until the mid-20th century. Royalty, including the previous King, Bhumibol Adulyadej, also adopted this policy.
9. Land of temple
Buddhism is the main religion practiced in Thailand, so it’s no surprise that there are temples in the country.
Thailand has about 35,000 temples. Thailand is really a temple land. Visiting them requires modest clothing, which means no shorts or shirts without sleeves.
10. Home for the animal kingdom
Talking for wildlife, Thailand is home to one-tenth of the world’s entire animal population. It is home to the largest cobra in the world (18 feet) and the longest reticulated python in the world (33 feet).
Thailand is home to many, numerous animals. To place that into point of view, Thailand has a bigger number of winged animals than Europe and America joined!
11. Land of Islands
Thailand is a land of island. Everyone knows the popular islands in Thailand like Koh phi phi, Phuket and Koh Samui, Thailand consists of about 1,430 islands. Many of the islands are known for being used in movies from Hollywood.
12. The national sport of Thailand is Muy Thai (Thai Boxing)
Muay Thai or Thai Boxing is the national game and social military specialty of Thailand. It was built up a few several years prior as a type of close-battle that uses the whole body as a weapon. Muay Thai has become popular throughout the world and is a vital component of traditional MMA fighters ‘ skills regularly.
13. The national flower of Thailand is the orchid
If you like exotic plants, you will be pleased to know that in Thai forest 1,500 varieties of orchids can be found growing wild. There is an explanation that it is one of the rising exporters of orchids in the world.
Thailand is such a unique and incredible country in the world. It will never cease to amaze you, no matter how many times you visit.