Thailand is famous for stunning tourist beaches, rich historical heritage, and countless temples dotted all over the beautiful countryside. However, there is much more than meets the eye! See if you are surprised to learn these amazing 21 curious facts about Thailand, and why we love it as a holiday destination the world over.
The Longest Name of the City
1. The full name of Bangkok is the world’s longest city name. Take the challenge and try to pronounce if you dare! Here it is: Krungthep mahanakhon amon rattanakosin mahintara ayuthaya mahadilok popnopparat ratchathani burirom udomratchaniwet mahasathan amonpiman avatansathit sakkathattiya visnukamprasithatti.
“Land of the Free”
2. Continuing on the subject of names, Thailand in Thai means the “Land of the Free”, and the name is absolutely justified, as…
3. … Thailand has NEVER been colonised by any European nation.
Islands, Islands, Islands…
4. Thailand includes more than 1,400 islands scattered across the vast Andaman Sea and in the Gulf of Thailand.
5. It is prohibited in Thailand to leave the house without underwear. Interesting, thought I wonder, how do the police distinguish offenders?
Do You Believe in Ghosts?
6. Thais believe in ghosts and pay respect to them for daily rituals and life milestones. For example, locals ask for advice from bygone souls and give the offerings to spirits when moving to a new house asking for permission to live there. Better safe than sorry I say!
The Main Religion
7. The overwhelming majority of Thais are Buddhists (around 95% of the population).
“The Venice of the East”
8. “The Venice of the East” is another name given to Thailand due to its architectural design. Not surprising, considering that Bangkok once had numerous canals, and houses were built on stilts.
Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan
9. The renowned Full Moon Party was originally organised twice a year (although due to overwhelming popularity there are multiple events and similar around the nation now) in one of Thailand’s famed islands called Koh Phangan. The event gathers thousands of visitors from all over the world.
10. Every year Thai’s arrange a feast in the province of Lopburi, North of Bangkok, for more than 600 monkeys called the Monkey Buffet with thousands of tourists that come to participate and witness it.
The Largest Saltwater and Freshwater Fish
11. Thailand is the home for some distinctive creatures, including some of the largest saltwater and freshwater fish species – whale shark and catfish. Another odd creature living in Thailand is the world’s smallest bat!
The Most Expensive Cocktail
12. Some of the world’s most expensive cocktails are served in Bangkok’s numerous restaurants and bars. The “Valentine’s Cocktail”, with a cool price of USD $15,000, includes a five-karat ruby instead of the classic olive in their version of a martini, and served with a six-course dinner along with the bottle of the finest champagne (and a night in the adjoining hotel). Happy Valentine’s Day I guess?
And the World’s Most Expensive Food
13. Speaking of costly outings, Thailand also offers one of the world’s most expensive foods – a Swiftlet bird’s nest made up of their solidified saliva and cooked in soup. If you want to try it, get prepared to pay around USD $900 or so for a dish. Bon appétit!
14. Between the 1960’s and 1970’s, Thailand’s Northern region was one of the largest producers of opium in the world.
15. The original name of Red Bull is Krating Daeng, and this world-renowned energy drink originated from Thailand. The flavour was slightly changed to satisfy tastes of Western people.
The Old Name of Thailand
16. Until 1949, Thailand was known predominately as Siam.
17. And as you can guess, Siamese cats are originally from Thailand!
18. One of the most famous Siamese-twin brothers joined at a chest were born just outside of Bangkok in 1811 (and had 22 children!).
The King Is Highly Repected
19. Thailand is a Constitutional Monarchy with a King who is highly respected, and the longest serving monarch alive today. Thus, it is absolutely forbidden to touch any member of the Royal Family even in the case of mortal danger. This rule caused the death of one of the Thai King’s wives in 1880 when a boat with her aboard capsized and nobody ventured upon saving her, as touching the woman could be considered as an infringement of these rules, and punished by death!
Be Careful with the Local Currency!
20. It is also forbidden to step on the Baht – the Thai currency with the King portrayed on the banknote.
The Holiest Part of the Body
21. Thais believe that the head is the holiest part of the body, and cannot be touched.
Amazed yet? Hopefully these 21 facts about Thailand are as surprising to you as they were to us!
Thailand is one of our favourite holiday destinations, with astonishing island paradise’s like Koh Samui and Phuket loved by travellers the world over. With the remarkable number of beautiful villas growing each year, now is a better time than ever to get packing and get booking for your own unforgettable Thai holiday of a lifetime!