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FASCINATING FACTS: 20 Weird And Interesting Facts About Thailand

Thailand is one of the friendliest countries in the world for tourists. It has many attractions both exquisite and weird for people with tastes that vary between either ends of the spectrum. It has a culture and history that brings out the explorer out of the most disinterested and food that tickles the palette of even the non-foodies. There are so many more facts about Thailand that will leave you with a longing to visit this beautiful country, and we have listed some of them for you to read.

1. Buddhism is Thailand’s main religion. It is practiced by almost 93.6% of the population.

Image Source: maytermthailand

In the country Buddhism has become part of the local folk religions and is heavily influenced by Theravada school. Buddhism itself had come to most of the Southeast Asian countries during the period between 5th and 13th centuries from India.(source)

2. Among all the Southeast Asian counties, Thailand is the only one that has never been colonized by Europeans.

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In the 19th and early 20th century the British and the French have decided not to colonize Thailand. They felt that it would serve as a neutral area for preventing conflicts between their colonies. Before democracy Thailand had monarchy until 1932 and sixty years of military rule.(source)

3. Thailand has 1,430 islands including the famous Koh Phi Phi, Phuket and Koh Lipe. Koh Phi Phi was featured in Danny Boyle’s movie The Beach.

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The beaches and the islands are some of Thailand’s famous retreats and exotic locations for tourism. Depending on the location, all the islands come under three main categories – the Andaman sea island group, the southern Gulf of Thailand island group and the east of Bangkok island group.(source)

4.  Bangkok has a very long ceremonial name – “Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit”.

Image Source: bangkok.peninsula.comWikimedia Commons

It translates to “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 Vishvakarman at Indra’s behest”.

The name was given during the reign of King Mongkut and is made of words from both Pali and Sanskrit. The short name of the city Bangkok means “a village situated on the stream” as there are many islands with many rivers and canals crisscrossing often.(source)

5. The world’s smallest mammal, Kitti’s hog-nosed bat, is found in western parts of Thailand. It is just two to three centimeters long and weighs only 2 grams.

Image Source: animalstimenationmultimedia

These bats, as their name suggests, are characterized by their pig snout like nose. These vulnerable species enjoy living in the limestone caves along the rivers and feed on insects in the forests surrounding them. As mammals can only give one offspring at a time these species are becoming extinct because of habitation destruction.(source)

6. The demand for edible insects is so great in Thailand that they have to import over 800 tons per year from Cambodia, Myanmar, China and Laos.

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There are over 20,000 registered cricket farming facilities in Thailand and farming of edible insects alone generates as much as 30 million USD according to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Insects other than crickets used as food are bamboo caterpillars, giant water bugs and grasshoppers.(source)

7. It is illegal in Thailand to leave the house without wearing underwear.

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There are many other such laws in Thailand that might seem funny to the outsiders. It is also illegal to stop on the country’s currency, to drive a car without wearing a shirt, or to throw chewing gun on the sidewalk. Being appropriately dressed seems to have a lot of importance in Thailand community.(source)

8. In September 1996, two cats named Phet and Ploy were married in a $16,241 lavish ceremony with 500 guests and received over $60,000 in gifts.

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The wedding was done in style. The groom, Phet, was dressed up in a pink tuxedo and arrived on a Rolls Royce. The bride, Ploy, wore a beautiful pink satin dress and came in a helicopter. Phet’s owner paid $23,202 to Ploy’s owner as dowry for their marriage. Phet’s “diamond eyes” is actually a blue colored film that developed because of glaucoma.(12)

9. During the Vegetarian Festival of Thailand, a version of Taoist Nine Emperor Gods Festival, the devotees practice ritualistic mutilation in a trance-like state.

Image Source: telegraph

The festival is celebrated as a way to respect their gods and ancestors. The mutilation is done without the use of anesthetic and the trance-like state experienced by the devotees is claimed to make them calm and focused during the days after.(12)

10. Miss Tiffany’s Universe, a beauty contest for transgenders, takes place annually and attracts over 15 million viewers on National Thai television.

Image Source: bangkok.coconuts.co

The contestants come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including doctors, engineers, pharmacists and university students. They compete for the titles of Miss Photogenic, Miss Sexy Star, Miss Congeniality and Miss Popular. The contest seeks to promote the rights and equality of transgender community in Thailand.(source)

11. One of the food markets in Thailand is located along a train track. Every time the train comes the shopkeepers take the food displayed inside and put them back out after it leaves.

Maeklong’s food market is perhaps one of the most active markets in the sense that it gives the shopkeepers a lot of exercise bringing out and putting back the crates of vegetables, fish and eggs. The market has become famous for this and is called “Talat Rom Hup” meaning “umbrella pull down market”.(12)

12. There is a not-so-well-known temple in Thailand called Wat Samphran Temple that is 17-storey tall with a huge dragon spiraling and scaling it to the top.

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The temple, though rarely featured as part of regular tourist location, has a giant bronze statue of Buddha. According to those who have visited the temple there are various other statues and shrines in the temple. The dragon is a hollow structure with parts of being able to be walked in while many other parts of the temple are closed to the public.(source)

13. The Monkey Buffet Festival held annually in Lopburi, feeds over 2,000 local population of monkeys with fruits and vegetables.

Image Source: worldsim

Lopburi Province is situated in the north of Bangkok and during the festival an estimated 4,000 kilograms of fruits are used to feed the monkeys. The festival is celebrated to thank and reward the monkeys for attracting tourists.(12)

14. There was a temple in Thailand called the Tiger Temple built as a sanctuary for tigers and tourist attraction for an admission fee.

Image Source: usatodaybbc

In the beginning when the temple was first built in 1999 there were eight tigers at the temple. The tigers in the temple were taught to be friendly with visitors and to let them take pictures with them. However, the temple was mired in many controversies and reports of animal abuse from animal rights activists, until in May 2016 it was closed by officials after finding almost 40 frozen cubs in a raid.(source)

15. Each year in Mekong River a phenomenon known as Naga Fireballs occurs when balls of fire spontaneously explode over the surface of the water. According to local myths, the balls are spitted by the serpent Naga that haunts the river.

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So far there haven’t been any scientific proofs, though one explanation suggests that the marshy environment releases flammable phosphine gas which turns into a fireball. Another explanation involves the concept of plasma formation in the air.(12)

16. The children of a tribe of sea nomads called Moken people can see clearly underwater because they spend a lot of time diving underwater for food that their eyes got accustomed to it.

Image Source: aquatic-human-ancestor.orgread.helpost

According to Anna Gislen of University of Lund in Sweden, the children could keep their eyes open when they are looking for clams, shells and sea cucumbers without any difficulty. The adults, however, she observed lost this ability as the lenses in our eyes become less flexible with age.(source)

17. It is common for people in Thailand to greet you with the question “have you eaten yet” rather than asking “how are you”.

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As a lot of Thailand culture was influenced by the Chinese who take eating and food seriously, people tend to ask you about food first. They are also very easy going when it comes to life using phrases that mean “it doesn’t matter” or “don’t worry” that show that they don’t believe in feeling down because of difficulties.(source)

18. In 1880 the queen of Thailand Sunandha Kumariratana drowned after her boat capsized even though there were many around because they were forbidden to touch her on pain of death.  

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The queen had a daughter who also died during the incident. A memorial was erected in memory of her and her unborn child by the king Chulalongkorn. The queen was 19 when she died.(source)

19. Almost half the workers died while building the railway bridge over the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi. The town in the west of Thailand was under Japanese control at that time who used forced laborers and prisoners of war to build it.

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The deaths are commemorated by a memorial, two museums and films such as The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Return from the River Kwai (1989) and The Railway Man (2013). The workers and prisoners died of accidents, disease and maltreatment.(source)

20. Thai cops who commit minor offences are punished with a bright pink Hello Kitty armband that they have to wear for several days.

Image Source: reutersnowiknow

The armband is embroidered with a picture of Hello Kitty with two hearts. According to the officials the armband is meant to shame the officers who are late, park at wrong places or any other such minor offences. The officers are not allowed to tell other people why they are wearing it.(source)

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