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Thailand is a lovely, scenic and easy going country that is one of the most popular and affordable beach, sun and sand, holiday destinations in Asia if not in the world.
There are many attractions that Thailand is famous for, most of all its numerous world-class sandy beaches and water adventure sports. But when you step off the regular tourist trail to understand the rich local culture, beliefs and way of life of the country and the super friendly Thai people, there is a lot that is not well known.
So we decided to do a bit of digging around to come up with our own compilation of lesser known yet really cool facts and trivia about the cultural heritage of Thailand that we are sure you will love to know about. While being fun and interesting, knowing this cultural trivia can help enrich your holiday, as you will understand and appreciate Thailand’s culture and the customs and traditions of the Thai people better.
With world-class beaches all along its long coastline, the breathtakingly beautiful islands of Krabi, Koh Samui, thrilling water sports like jet skiing, scuba diving, swimming and snorkelling, the buzz at night street markets and malls, and the young and vibrant energy of Bangkok’s swish rooftop bar parties, Thailand always feels like the perfect party destination, no matter what the occasion or time of year.
Thai culture is deeply respectful and this is quite evident in the way the Thai greet and address one another, treat guests, the traditional customs followed and the reverence at temples. However when it comes to the King of Thailand and the monarchy, one needs to be extra careful. Thailand holds its King in very high esteem. Any form of even the slightest disrespect towards the monarch and the monarchy could result in severe punishment including imprisonment for treason.
Very similar to a Namaste, ‘Wai’ is the traditional Thai greeting that also involves folded hands and bowed head. But did you know that the level at which you place your folded hands directly indicates the level of respect and politeness towards the person you are greeting? That’s right. For example, if you are doing a wai for an elderly person then the hands are usually raised up to the forehead or bridge of the nose. For a same-age person then hands are usually in line with the chest.
Buddhism is the predominant religion in Thailand with close to 95% of the Thai people practising Buddhism. A deeply religious country, Buddhism is the pivot around which most of a local Thai person’s life revolves. And it is not only about visiting the ‘wats’ or Buddhist temples and monasteries and observing Buddhist religious festivals such as Songkran and Makha puja. Traditionally young Thai boys would spend some part of their lives as a Buddhist monk before they reached the age of 20.
Thailand has two Buddhist universities. And some of the wats even teach the correct techniques of traditional Thai massage and fundamentals of meditation.
Being culturally well informed about your destination is a good trip preparation to do especially if this is going to be your first visit to Thailand.
Before you set out on your vacation to Thailand, make sure you purchase travel insurance. Thailand is crowded and always packed with locals and visitors so you should take good care of your valuables. When travelling abroad however, it is best to be secure. Having international travel insurance is essential to protect you from a mishap such as your luggage getting lost or misplaced, an accident, theft or sudden illness that could occur while you are holidaying in Thailand. Even if your flight gets delayed or the trip itself gets cancelled, your travel insurance plan for Thailand will cover you financially so as to minimise financial loss.
Check out our travel guide for essential information on Thailand such as the best time to visit, must-try Thai delicacies, top beaches, and other such travel information so that you can plan your trip accordingly.
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