Thailand is a country bustling with life. It is a land of incredible beauties, and it is an abode of baffling oddities.
In this article titled 80 interesting Thailand facts, we are going to learn about this incredible nation that has all the ingredients desired to baffle you, make you fall in love and inspire you.
So, let’s waste time no further and get started….
Thailand Facts: 1-5
1. Let’s start with Bangkok. It is one of the most startling Thailand facts you are going to learn. Do you know the full and official ceremonial name of Bangkok? The full name is
“Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit”.
2. The meaning of the full name stated above is: “City of Angels, Great City of Immortals, Magnificent City of the Nine Gems, Seat of the King, City of Royal Palaces, Home of Gods Incarnate, Erected by Visvakarman at Indra’s Behest.”
3. Hell yes, Hinduism is at the roots of Thailand, but despite this, Thailand is a Buddhism-major country where 95% of the citizens of the nation practice Buddhism.
4. Did you know that Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia which was never colonized by the Europeans?
5. The name of the country in Thai language is ‘Prathet Thai’. The literal translation of the name is ‘Land of the Free’. Well, that’s a very fitting name considering that it was never colonized.
Thailand Facts: 6-10
6. Thailand was once known as Siam. Yes, you guessed it right. Siamese cats originated from this country. Originally there used to be 23 different variants of Siamese cats. Today there are only 6 different variants.
7. Talking of Siamese cats, in a Thai wedding, if you give a pair of Siamese cats to the bride, it will be considered as good luck.
8. Thailand is home to some of the most dangerous serpents you can find on Earth. One of them is the dangerous King Cobra while another one is the reticulated python. Did you know that King Cobra is the world’s longest poisonous snake while reticulated python is the world’s longest constrictor? The longest reticulated python ever found was a whopping 33 feet long.
9. Here is one of the most bizarre Thailand facts: Red Bull actually originated in Thailand back in 1976. It went by the name Krating Daeng. It then moved out of Asia and in order to suit the tastes of the Western folks, the drink was modified into Red Bull.
10. One of the creepiest aspects of Thailand is the “Bridge Over the River Kwai”. That bridge is the part of the railway line that connects Burma and Siam. It is said that some 80,000 people died while making the bridge.
Thailand Facts: 11-15
11. Looking for odd Thailand facts? Well, we have a few for you. For instance, The King of Thailand was not born in Thailand. He was born in the USA and then received his engineering degree from Switzerland.
12. That doesn’t mean that people don’t love their King. They love and respect their King so much that the film called ‘The King and I’ was forbidden in Thailand. This Hollywood film was really derogatory (obviously that has always been Hollywood propaganda).
13. Thailand is a monarchy and the rule of the land is called ‘Lese Majeste’. What does that mean? It means that you will be imprisoned for treason in case you happen to be caught in disrespectful acts geared towards the King of the nation.
14. Do not touch anyone’s head in Thailand. Not even the head of a child. It is really important that you show respect to a person’s head when you are in Thailand and that’s by rule. In Thailand, the head is considered as the body’s most important part and not touching the head is a part of cultural practice.
15. Thai people honor monarchy a lot. This is evident from the fact that there are several ‘Royal Flags’ that are flown along with the national flag every single day. The national flag is hoisted at 8 AM sharp and is lowered at 6 PM sharp.
Thailand Facts: 16-20
16. And then there is what is known as “Monkey Buffet”. Yes, yes, you read it right. It is a treat for the monkeys. It is held annually in front of a temple called Pra Prang Sam Yot. Located in Lopburi province, this feast is a method of thanking the monkeys for attracting thousands of tourists to the village, making it a thriving tourist destination.
17. Thinking what kind of feast it is? Well, it is nothing near to being ordinary. With more than 2 tons of processed meat, fresh fruits, ice creams and more, it is more like a royal feast for the monkeys!
18. Once in Thailand, you will notice a lot of gold jewelry and a lot of golden statues and temples that will naturally make you think that gold is perhaps the most important mineral of the nation. You will be WRONG. It is actually TIN.
19. There was a time when Bangkok was actually referred to as ‘Venice of East’. The reason is that the residents of Bangkok built their houses on the silt deposits above rivers. Over time, canals were gradually filled up and the waterways were closed, transforming them into roads.
20. Never wear sleeveless shirts or shorts when entering any of the 35,000 temples spread across the nation. You need to be modestly dressed and only then you will be allowed in the temples.
Thailand Facts: 21-25
21. We mentioned in our previous article that there are thousands of temples in Thailand but, did you ever hear of Wat Samphram. It is a temple, and what makes it unique is that it is 17-storey tall and has a giant dragon structure spiraling it all the way from bottom to top.
22. Here is yet another of Thailand fun facts – Thailand is home to Maeklong Railway Market where a market stands right along railway tracks. Every time a train passes, the shop owners pull the displayed items inside and when the train passes by, things are put out again.
23. Thailand has a Tiger Temple! It was supposed to be a tiger sanctuary and attracted a lot of visitors. However, the temple came under immense heat and was subjected to investigation for wildlife smuggling and other cruel activities.
24. Thailand is home to Naga Fireballs – an annual event taking place in the Mekong River. What really happens is balls of fire explode spontaneously over the water surface. It is not man made. It is all natural and according to local folklore, the river is where the scary Naga serpent lives and spits out the fireballs.
25. Scientists have failed so far to provide an explanation for the Naga Fireballs but two of the most popular hypothesis include:
- Flammable phosphine gas is released from the river because of the marshy environment, which catches fire and explodes.
- Another explanation is that plasma is formed in the air which leads to those fireball explosions.
Thailand Facts: 26-30
26. Thailand is home to Moken People – a sea nomad tribe. Children of this tribe are capable of seeing clearly underwater. The reason is that they spend a significant amount of time looking for food underwater and their eye lenses got accustomed to it. Adults however have some problems because with age, they lose the flexibility of their eyes.
27. Cops everywhere in the world are known for petty crimes and big crimes alike. Thailand is no different. However, for those cops that commit petty crimes, Thailand has a unique punishment. The guilty cops need to wear a pink armband for a number of days. The armband has a Hello Kitty knitted on it along with two hearts.
28. Thailand is home to the largest fish in the world. Known as Whale Shark, the scientific name of the fish is Rhincodon typus. It is 12 meters long.
29. Thailand is also the home to the smallest known mammal in the world. The Bumblebee Bat or Kitti’s Hog-Nosed Bat. Measuring only 1.1 to 1.3 inches, this bat weighs a mere 2 grams.
30. In Thailand, if you are stepping out of your house, double check whether you have your underwear on or not. If you forget or you deliberately don’t wear one, you can get arrested. Yes, that practice is illegal.
Thailand Facts: 31-35
31. Never step on Thailand’s currency. It is a big time offense and you can face some serious legal heat. The reason is not to protect the currency, but because, the currency has the image of the monarch on it and disrespecting the monarch is illegal.
32. When it comes to drug trafficking and drug use, one needs to be extremely careful in Thailand. If caught in drug trafficking, the only punishment is ‘death sentence’. Caught while using drugs can land anyone in jail for a very long time and there is no exception for foreign nationals and tourists.
33. ‘Many’ – that’s the only word that comes to mind when we talk of radio stations in Thailand. The state itself owns 100 stations. Then there are private stations. The private stations have their allotted broadcast timings between the timings of state-owned stations.
34. Thailand may have never been colonized but apparently, Thai people have gotten into a habit of colonizing themselves via coups. Since 1932, there have been 12 coups in total with the latest being on May 22, 2014 that was organized by Royal Thai Armed Forces.
35. The monarch of Thailand is taken very seriously. To ensure the centuries-old custom of a low-life not crossing over the King’s head, monorails in Thailand often stop midway when a member of the Royal family is passing from down below.
Thailand Facts: 36-40
36. Talking of respecting the king, The King’s anthem is played in Thailand before any cultural program starts. Also, it is customary to play the anthem in multiplexes playing Hollywood movies.
37. Just like no undies can land you in jail, wearing no shirt in public will bring you the same fate. So, carrying a spare shirt is always advised because something wrong can always happen that may make your shirt unwearable. Just change your shirt quickly.
38. Thailand shares such deep roots with Indian culture that Thailand’s official symbol is Garuda. It is a creature from Ramayana – the Indian epic. Garuda is half eagle and half man.
39. People of Thailand are fascinated with elephants. There are 5,000 elephants in Thailand and most of them are domesticated. Only a few are found in the wild. Elephant is Thailand’s national animal. And yes, Thailand is called the ‘Land of White Elephants’. Ironically, you won’t see any white elephants there. White only signifies purity of Thailand.
40. Thai people have taken their fascination with elephants to a whole new level. They have something called Elephant Polo – a game played only in two places. Thailand is one of them and the other one is India. By the way, did you know that the game of Polo is actually an invention of India?
Thailand Facts: 41-45
41. Thailand may be a very unique country but when it comes to religion and culture, it is a fusion of India and China. India gave Thailand the religious aspect (remember that Buddhism originated in India and Thailand has many aspects of Hinduism still embedded deep in its religious and cultural heritage) while Thai people borrowed their cultural aspect from China.
42. Did you know that Thailand is know as Prostitution Capital of our world? There are a staggering number of red light areas in Thailand and the massage centers are notorious for happy endings.
43. What’s even more bizarre is that prostitution is completely illegal in Thailand but the law is barely practiced. As a matter of fact, around 30,000 to 1 million Thai women are in this business and thrive primarily on tourists.
44. Talking of prostitution, no wonder the number of HIV+ patients in the nation is gradually increasing.
45. Sitting in the temple of Wat Traimit in Bangkok, the Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon is the golden statue of Gautam Buddha. The statue weighs 5,500 kilograms and contains 86% pure gold and is worth more than USD 250 million. Parts of the statue were cast in India. The statute has 9 parts that fit in smoothly.
Thailand Facts: 46-50
46. Packing for Thailand? Here is something you should keep in mind – ‘Keep eyes open and get away from the giant centipedes’. A bite from these monsters can show you hell. The pain is excruciating and can last for 4 to 5 days. These centipedes can grow as big as a forearm.
47. Another caution! If you hear the words ‘Buung Han’, you should surely run to safety. The small caterpillar that looks drop dead gorgeous is something you should steer clear of.
48. Mother’s Day is something you find in every country. In Thailand however, the day has been twisted where it has absolutely nothing to do with your own mother. That day, you pay respect to the Queen of Thailand.
49. Before 1939, Thailand was known as Siam. The name Thailand was adopted in 1939. In 1945, however, the name was changed back to Siam. In 1949, the country changed her name again and became Thailand once again. It has not changed ever since.
50. The world’s smelliest fruit – the King of Tropical Fruits – the Durian is Thailand’s native. Guess what? It is so stinky that you cannot carry it to hotels. Airlines, trains etc. have also banned the fruit.
Thailand Facts: 51-55
51. Thai culture considers Rice as Holy. Yes, it is the staple crop of the country when it comes to religion, rice has a very high position. Leaving rice on plate is an unholy act in Thailand and stepping on Rice is pure SIN.
52. Watch out for Chang Beer – a locally manufactured beer. In case your alcohol tolerance is not high, you shouldn’t indulge in drinking much of this drink. With alcohol content ranging between 6 and 7%, it is the strongest beer of Thailand and its production is completely unregulated.
53. Thailand is where the world’s most expensive Cat Wedding took place. The groom called Phet was brought to the wedding place in a Rolls Royce. He wore a pink tuxedo. The bride’s name was Ploy who arrived in a helicopter and wore a pink satin dress.
54. Owner of Phet (groom) had to pay USD 23,202 as dowry to the owner of Ploy (bride). Apart from that dowry amount, the total cost of the wedding was USD 16,241. Number of guests invited were 500 and the total gifts received by the cat couple was worth USD 60,000.
55. Love insects? Thailand is another heaven where you can satiate yourself with some delicious edible insect. So high is the demand that Thailand needs to import 800 tons of insects per year from Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and China.
Thailand Facts: 56-60
56. Crickets are on so high demand in Thailand that there are 20,000 farms all over the nation and they are all registered. Farming of edible insects in the country generates USD 30 million for the country.
57. Some of the common insects that you will find on streets include grasshoppers, giant water bugs, bamboo caterpillars and crickets.
58. Mudskipper in Thailand is the nation’s weirdest creature. It is basically a fish that can walk on mud and can also climb up on trees. The fish uses its fins to ‘walk’ and when out of water, it uses a special mouth lining and its skin for absorbing oxygen. Mudskipper actually spends most of its time outside water.
59. On the eastern border of Thailand is the Mekong River which is home to over 1,300 different fish species. It is also the home to the world’s largest freshwater fish and catfish found there are over 660 lbs in weight and measure up to 10 feet in length.
60. In the wilderness of Thailand, you will be greeted with 1,500 orchid species. This makes Thailand the largest orchid exporter in the world.
Thailand Facts: 61-65
61. Thailand has four international borders. The countries with which Thailand shares borders are:
- Myanmar (which was previously known as Burma) to the north as well as west.
- Laos sits to Thailand’s north as well as east.
- To the southeast is Cambodia.
- Malaysia is one the south of Thailand.
62. In terms of size, Thailand is the 51st largest country in the world. If we are to compare it with the United States of America, Thailand is a tad larger than Wyoming. The overall area covered by Thailand is 198,115 square miles.
63. Of the total population of Thailand, 14% are Chinese people, 75% are Thai and remaining 11% are of other origins.
64. In Thailand, nuclear families are pretty rare. Extended large families are very common in the nation.
65. Dense hardwood forests once entirely covered the northern parts of Thailand. This is the story of some 100 years before present. However, deforestation at a high rate has now left only 1/4th of the forest standing.
Thailand Facts: 66-70
66. In Southeast Asia, Thailand stands in second position in terms of total forest loss. The country that beats Thailand in this area is Singapore.
67. To prevent further loss of forests in Thailand, the Thai government has completely banned logging.
68. It is not unusual to see traffic police in Bangkok wearing a face mask. The reason is that Bangkok has extremely high levels of air pollution.
69. Police stations in Bangkok are stuffed with oxygen tanks just in case officers get overwhelmed by exhaust fumes.
70. It is really serious that every police officer in Bangkok has some kind of lung disease because of the pollution in the city.
Thailand Facts: 71-75
71. Talking of Bangkok, it is the capital city of Thailand and is also the largest city. Guess what? The city receives around 16,000,000 visitors (non-residents) every year. Talk of Thai people, the city is home to 10% of the total Thai population.
72. Muay Thai – a style of martial arts is the national sport of Thailand. However, Muay Thai is a sport-class martial art. There are two other forms – Muay Chaiya and Muay Boran. Both of these are deadly martial arts and are not categorized as sport-class.
73. The country has a total of 1,430 islands at its disposal. The most famous island is Koh Phi Phi Lee. The film was featured in the film called ‘The Beach’. It was a movie by Danny Boyle.
74. The Great Buddha is the 9th tallest statue in the world and tallest statue of Thailand. Thailand is home to the highest stupa in the world and is known as Phra Pathom Chedi.
75. Those who like to party, the Koh Phangan island is where they should be. It is known for hosting some of the liveliest Full Moon Parties but there are versions of Black Moon and Half Moon as well.
Thailand Facts: 76-80
76. Thailand is the home to 1/10th of all animal species that live on this planet. It is also home to nearly 10% of all bird species that are found in the world. North America and Europe combined do not have that many birds.
77. There is a type of bird called Swiftlet bird. The male bird of this species uses its saliva strands to make nests known as Swiftlet nests. They can be found in caves of Thailand and are sold for USD 900+ per pound. Why? Because these nests are among the world’s most expensive and coveted food items.
78. During the 1960s and 1970s, Northern Thailand became one of the world’s major opium producers and the hill tribes there derived their income from opium production. As of today, Thailand’s northern tip, Laos’ western tip and Myanmar’s eastern corner make up the notorious ‘Golden Triangle’. That’s the place for heroin and opium production and trafficking.
79. Thailand’s national epic is Ramakien. It is actually a Thai version of Ramayana – the Indian Epic.
80. Thailand used to be the world’s top rice exporter, but in 2015, the nation lost that position to India.
Thailand Facts: 81-85
81. The term ‘Siamese Twins’ was inspired by brothers Eng Bunker and Chang Bunker of Thailand. The twins were joined at the chest. They died at the same time in 1873. The term Siamese Twins has, however, now been replaced by the term ‘Conjoined Twins’.
82. The coastline of Thailand is 3219 kilometers long.
83. Thailand follows Constitutional Monarchy.
84. Muay Thai is also known as the ‘Art of Eight Limbs’.
85. When it comes to child sex trafficking, Thailand has one of the worst records in the whole world.
That concludes our Thailand facts list. In case you think we have missed some important ones, feel free to drop the information in the comments section below. We will add them to this list.