The culture of Thailand has developed over the centuries, influenced by the peoples of Asia. You can often hear how Siam is also called the “land of smiles”, which is not surprising: just look around at the always smiling and hospitable Thais – passers-by, shop assistants, children… And this is also one of the features of culture – never show your negative emotions. So, let’s take a closer look at the benevolent kingdom!
According to City Population Review, Buddhism is the main religion in the kingdom, it is practiced by more than 90% of citizens. To a lesser extent, Muslims (only about 4%) and Christians (less than 1%) live in the solar kingdom, and the king is the patron of all religions.
For many centuries, it was Buddhism that influenced the cultural characteristics in Thailand. More than 30,000 Buddhist temples have been built in the country, most of which are located in rural areas.
10 interesting facts about Thailand and Thais
- The reckoning in the country does not begin from the Nativity of Christ, but from the day of the death of Buddha in 543 BC. Thus, “our” 2020 corresponds to the year 2563 according to the Buddhist calendar.
- Siam ranks first in terms of the number of monks per capita. More than 370 thousand monks live in the temples. Thus, there is 1 monk for every 170 people, this ratio is not found anywhere else in the world.
- Open expression of aggression in Thailand is considered bad manners. Here it is not customary to resolve disputes with shouts and rudeness. And how can you be aggressive in a country where everyone is smiling? By the way, in no case should you be rude to the police.
- Thailand has never been a colony, the Thais have always been free.
- All white foreigners in Thailand are called farangs. This word does not carry a negative connotation, so do not be offended by it.
- Until 1913, surnames were not used in Siam, the Thais had only first names. Even today in official institutions it is not customary to use surnames when referring to each other.
- The word “hunger” does not exist in Thai.
- Thais respect and love the royal family. Criticism towards monarchs is unacceptable.
- The locals are calm and balanced. A welcoming attitude towards Thais will help you feel most comfortable during your trip.
- A little thai is the name of traditional Thai clothing.
Features of behavior in Thailand: what a traveler needs to know
As we wrote above, Siam is a benevolent country with its own characteristics and culture. Before the trip, it is important to study the rules of conduct in Thailand so as not to run into misunderstanding and anger of the locals.
- In no case should one show disrespect for the state religion and for the Buddha.
- When planning a visit to temples, dress modestly, not defiantly. Your shoulders and knees must be covered.
- It is forbidden to export any images and images of the Buddha from the country.
- Before entering the temple, it is customary to take off your shoes, and you can’t enter Thai houses in shoes.
- The fair sex is strictly forbidden to touch Thai monks.
- It is forbidden to touch the head of a Thai. The locals believe that the human soul is contained in the head. If you accidentally touched – be sure to ask for forgiveness.
- Topless sunbathing is not accepted on the beaches.
- If the Thais treat you, it would be bad form to refuse. Even if you don’t feel like eating, at least try it.
- In Siam, it is not customary to point with fingers or toes. The waiter in the restaurant should also not be called by raising your finger. Raise your hand with your fingers in a fist.
If you remember these simple rules of what tourists should not do in Thailand, your vacation will be unforgettable!
Holidays in Thailand
Perhaps the Thais are friendly because there are many holidays in their country, which have no analogues anywhere in the world. What is the magical Chiang Mai Flower Festival, which annually begins on the first Friday of February. The main event of the holiday is an incredible parade during which hundreds of thousands of flowers are carried around the city.
In April, from 13 to 19, the Thai New Year is celebrated – Songkran. Are you planning a trip at this time? Be sure to take part in the celebration, it’s really fun and noisy. During the celebration, it is customary to pour water on each other, just like in childhood!
Another unusual holiday is the Monkey Banquet. The event takes place 140 kilometers from Bangkok, in the city of Lopburi. The god Rama, according to one of the legends, presented these lands to the monkey king Hanuman. It was the warlike monkeys who helped save Rama’s wife, Sita. The local townspeople still believe that the Lopbury monkeys are the descendants of those warriors, which is why they hold an annual holiday. A truly magnificent banquet is organized for primates – huge tables with red tablecloths are bursting with an abundance of bananas, pineapples and other fruits. The event takes place on the last Sunday of November.
A spectacular and beautiful holiday, a must-see for connoisseurs of beauty – Loi Krathong. It is held annually on the first full moon of November. At night, under the light of the moon, thousands of small boats made of banana leaves with lit candles are launched into the water. Some of them are like real works of art! On the same evening, air lanterns with wishes written on them are launched into the sky.