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Thailand

Interesting facts
Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country that was never colonized by an European country. In fact, in the Thai language, the name of the country is Prathet Thai which means “land of the free.” Very fitting!

Thailand is where you’ll find both the smallest and the largest creatures. The smallest mammal in the world, the bumblebee bat, calls Thailand home. You can also find the largest fish, the whale shark, in Thai waters.

Males were all Buddhist monks for a while. There was a time when all young men in Thailand (including royalty) were required to become Buddhist monks–even if only for a short period of time–before they turned 20. This practice is not observed as it used to be these days, however.

You’re lucky that you know Bangkok as “Bangkok.” Its real name is one of the longest names of a place in the world, made up of Pali and Sanskrit root words: Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit. What does that name mean? It means “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.”

People often marvel at the forests and jungles of Thailand, but there used to be more. What most people don’t realize is that over one hundred years ago, nearly all of northern Thailand was covered in hardwood forest. Today, about a quarter of that forest is left. Only Singapore has lost more trees. For this reason, logging is completely banned in Thailand.

One-tenth of the entire population of Thailand lives in Bangkok. It is the capital of this great nation, and, of course, the largest city. Bangkok is the largest city in Thailand.

Thailand loves its King, and shows great respect for the monarchy. The well-known Hollywood movie “The King and I” was never shown in Thai theaters because it was considered to be derogatory to the King. How serious are they about their King? Thailand has the lese majeste rule, meaning that if you commit disrespectful acts toward the King, you could be imprisoned for treason.

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States. He is the grandson of King Chulalongkorn or Rama V. The King is highly educated, with an engineering degree from Switzerland. His grandfather was credited with bringing modernism to Thailand.

There are about 35,000 temples in Thailand. Thailand is truly a land of temples. Visiting them requires modest clothing, meaning no shorts or sleeveless shirts.

Showing respect for another person’s head is imperative in Thailand. The head is considered to be the most important part of the body, and so Thai culture forbids touching anyone on the head (even a child). Should you meet someone who is older or more important than you, it is best to lower your head in deference to show proper respect.

 

 

 
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