Thailand is a colorful, vibrant country with hundreds of years of history still intact. There is a reason it is one of the most visited countries in the world, from its world famous cuisine, Thai massage, muay Thai boxing, silks, elephants, beaches, the list goes on.. Here are some things you may not have known:
- Thailand has the longest lasting Monarchy in the world. The King has been in power for 69 years.
- It’s the only country in Southeast Asia that was never colonized by Europe.
- Since the 1932 constitution, Thailand has gone through 12 successful and 7 attempted military coups. The latest was in 2014, a few months after I arrived.
- Bangkok is the most visited city in the world.
- Over 95 % of the population is Buddhist.
- Thai is a tonal language with 44 consonants and 32 vowels.
- Before every movie in theaters it is mandatory for everyone in the audience to stand while the King’s anthem is played.
- The head is considered the most important part of the body. It is impolite for children to touch the head of an adult and people duck below people of higher power or elders when they walk by.
- Thailand is home to the world’s largest Buddha. The golden statue is in Bangkok at Wat Po.
- There are four major dialects in Thailand: central, northern, Isaan, and southern. Central is standard Thai. About 1/3 of Isaan comes from Lao. The southern dialect includes two extra tones, 7 in all!
- Most houses in Thailand have a small house in front called a spirit house. Thai’s are very fearful of ghosts and give food offerings to the spirits to ensure safety.
- Always take off your shoes before entering a house. Many times you will see piles of shoes outside of doctor’s offices, stores, and other places around town.