Thailand, one of the most popular tourist destinations, records a footfall of more than 16 million, each year. Undoubtedly, the beauty of the land, the Thai culture and cuisine, the warm and friendly people are the reasons why travelers have always had Thailand in their bucket list.
Couples, backpackers, budget travelers, gap year students choosing to volunteer, adventure enthusiasts, wildlife lovers - Thailand has been preferred by all the categories of explorers, and although each of them has different agendas, everyone returns back with loads of memories from Thailand.
If you haven’t yet traveled to this Southeast Asian country and have plans to set out soon, then you should do some research before you land there. Of course, ‘where to stay’, ‘what to do’ and ‘what to eat’ options would be many.
But let’s take a look at those things that people otherwise might not tell you about Thailand!
1. In Thai language, the name of the country is ‘Prathet Thai’ which literally translates to ‘Land of the Free’. Call it coincidence or fate - Thailand is the only Southeast Asian Nation that was never colonized by an European country.
2. Thailand has nearly 1,400 islands within its territory, with Koh Phi Phi being the most popular among tourists.
3. Thailand is the only country in the world where more than 95% of the people are Buddhists. There was a time when all young men in Thailand had to become monks for a certain period of their life, before turning 20. This practice was later called off.
4. Bangkok, the Thai capital, is the largest city where 1/10th of the total population resides.
5. Ages before the arrival of Twitter (when the word limits came into being) Bangkok got its real name in Pali and Sanskrit language - Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit. (That’s actually the name of Bangkok!)
6. Thailand, also famous as ‘The Land of Temples’, has more than 35,000 temples in the country. And there are certain set of strict rules for entering these temples - like wearing sleeveless clothes is an absolute no-no!
7. Thailand is home to the world’s largest gold Buddha (The temple of Wat Traimit in Bangkok), the largest crocodile farm (Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo), the largest restaurant (Royal Dragon Restaurant, which can accommodate 5,000 diners at one time), and the world’s second tallest hotel (Baiyoke Tower II in Bangkok).
8. Stepping on a Thai Baht is considered to be illegal, and one might get jailed for this offence! Actually, the currency notes have the King’s face on them, and it is considered to be very disrespectful to step on the King’s face. The Thai folks are extremely sensitive about this issue.
9. Majority of the Thai folks believe in the existence of ghosts, and often perform auspicious prayers before the commencement of anything new.
10. In spite of the fact that prostitution is strictly illegal in Thailand, there are more than a million sex workers in Bangkok, making it the hub of prostitution.
11. Thailand is the only country in the world where you can find the largest and the smallest mammals - the whale shark and the bumblebee bat, respectively.
12. Thailand has a huge population of elephants, and more than 5,000 elephants can be found in this little country. Around hundred years back, the elephant population of Thailand was more than a million!
13. Bangkok was once called ‘The Venice of East’ as it had numerous canals and buildings that were mostly built on stilts above the river. However, with an increase in population, there has been a change in the scenario.
14. Thailand is the only country in the world which has a particular festival for the monkeys! Yes, you read it right! In Phra Prang Sam Yot temple Lopburi province, a grand Monkey Buffet is organized by the people where they provide meat, fruits and cookies to the monkeys as a token of thanks!
15. Red Bull, the famous energy drink consumed by the Westerners in abundance, actually has its roots in Thailand.
And there’s much more that’ll you’ll discover once you are there in Thailand. In case you are all set for your gap year in Thailand, then don’t forget to check out the amazing tours that Go Discover Abroad has in store for you.