15 Fun Facts About Thailand From The Land of Smiles

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Do you want to visit Thailand anytime soon? You’re not alone… 🙂

Thailand is home to the most beautiful beaches, delicious dishes and beautiful people. It’s known as the Land of Smiles after all. Let’s explore some of their fun facts.

1. The Real Name of Thailand’s Capital City, Bangkok, is a Tongue Twister

Only tourists (known as farangs) refer to the capital of Thailand as Bangkok. The locals know it by the name Krung Thep. 

Even that is the shortened version of the actual tongue-twisting name that even locals don’t prefer to remember. 

The official full name of Bangkok is ‘Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit’. 

Read it again, and you will be more than happy to settle for the name Bangkok. 

2. Around 95% of Thais are Buddhist in Religion

There is no official religion in Thailand. And yet, around 95% of the population follows Theravada Buddhism in the country and proclaim themselves as Buddhists.

It is said that by following the culture, ‘Guardian of the Faith’, a Thai King should always be a Buddhist. 

3. Most Thai People Have Two Names Since Their Birth

Most Thai people believe in having two names, one is their official name, and the other is their nickname. 

As it is a common practice in many countries, nicknames are often a shortened version of the real name. But a Thai nickname holds meaning and is chosen by parents after birth.

4. Witness an Old Neighborhood Ruled by Monkeys

You read it right! The old town neighborhood of the city of Lopburi is ruled by macaque monkeys. 

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In the month of November, the city hosts a ‘Monkey Banquet Festival’, where more than 600 monkeys come to feast on rice, fruit, sausages, salad, and ice cream. 

Monkeys eating at the Monkey Banquet Festival’

It is a must-see for tourists. Locals organize it to thank their furry friends for attracting people from around the world to this city. 

5. Europeans Never Colonized Thailand 

Unlike most of the other Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia, and Laos, Thailand was never colonized by the Europeans

It was always a free land. Thailand’s name in their regional Thai language is Prathet Thai, which translates in English to ‘Land of the Free’. 

6. Using Your Index Finger to Point at Someone in Thailand is Unacceptable

You cannot point your index finger at another person in any form of conversation. It is considered rude and unacceptable in Thailand. 

Not just that, but you should not beckon anyone in Thailand with your palm facing up. The palm must face down while you are gesturing to beckon someone. 

7. Thai People Rarely Cook at Home

Thai people are not fond of cooking at home, especially people who live in big cities in the country, such as Bangkok. 

Thai people eating outside

Most Thais live in small apartments that don’t have much cooking room, plus it’s very cheap to eat out in Thailand. Eating street dishes is actually more affordable than buying ingredients and cooking them at home. 

8. Leaving Your House Without Underwear On is Illegal in Thailand

Now, this is one of the weirdest yet fun facts about Thailand. It is considered illegal to leave your house without wearing underwear. Irrespective of where you go, this is a non-negotiable rule. 

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9. No Touching Heads in Thailand

Thai people consider the head the most important and sacred part of their body. Therefore, it is considered rude and disrespectful to touch the head of any person, even that of a child. 

As a gesture of respect, the younger individuals always keep their heads lower than that of the head of someone older while engaging in a conversation or a gathering. 

10. Local Beer in Thailand Costs the Same As Bottled Water

It is said that tap water in Thailand is unsafe to consume, but local beer isn’t. As Thai beer costs less, it is a popular beverage all across the locals and even among tourists. 

Hand holding Chang beer on Thailand street at night

Just remember that local beers in Thailand have higher than usual alcohol content.

11. Thailand is Home to More than 35,000 Temples

You’ll struggle to cover all of the temples in Thailand in your lifetime.

All 35,000 temples have a simple rule: you must wear modest clothes within the premises. No shorts or sleeveless tops are permitted within the temple premises. 

12. Locals Get Offended if You Get Inked Below Waist Level

If you are a tourist to the country, avoid getting a tattoo below your waist. The further you move down from the head, the more disrespectful it becomes for the locals. 

Also, never get a tattoo of Buddha anywhere on your body. It will negatively impact the religious sentiments of many. 

13. While Entering Someone’s Home in Thailand, Never Step On the Threshold, Go Over it

A threshold is a barrier that connects with the frame of a door, which closes the gap between the door and the floor. 

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In Thailand, when someone invites you to their home, remember not to step ON the door’s threshold. Instead, go OVER it. 

There is a belief among Thai people that a spirit lives in those thresholds, and it is respectful not to stomp them with feet. 

14. Never Sit on the Floor with Stretched Legs in Thailand

Another polite gesture while visiting someone’s home in Thailand is to sit in a proper posture. As it is customary to sit on the floor in Thailand, women should sit down by tucking their legs to one side, while men should sit with crossed legs. 

15. Thailand Has No Concept of Having Three Big Meals In a Day

Three meals per day is a concept popularly adopted by Western culture but is not a lifestyle routine in Thailand. 

Thais prefer to eat whenever they feel hungry. They don’t eat a full-course meal in one sitting and prefer to consume little portions throughout the day. 

When you visit the country, you will see no local serving himself/herself big meals in one sitting. Thai people are mostly known for their snacking lifestyle.

Joshua Smith

Joshua has visited 10 countries and has another 110 to go! He plans to sail around the world over 5 years, and then spend the next 5 years driving around the world in a 4×4. He prefers to explore the more remote places without the tourists, and yet, doesn’t mind the ritzy feel of business class at 10,000 feet either.

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