Looking for fun facts about Thailand? I got you covered.
You see, Thailand is a place that never ceases to amaze me. It is a country that we have traveled and lived in over the last couple of years and no matter how many times we’ve been, we always seem to come back.
Known for its breathtaking coastlines, incredible cuisine, and captivating cultural heritage, it’s one of our favorite countries in Southeast Asia.
In fact, at the time of writing this article, I am currently living in Phuket, Thailand!
When researching more into this incredible country that we love, I stumbled across a few incredibly peculiar and fascinating facts.
So, get ready to amuse as we unearth some of the wackiest and thrilling facts about Thailand!
- Fun Facts about Bangkok
- 1. Bangkok Has a Statue Worth $250 Million
- 2. Bangkok’s Name isn’t Really Bangkok
- 3. You Can Find a Reclining Buddha Here
- 4. Bangkok is Home to the Largest Outdoor Market in the World
- Interesting Facts About Thailand
- 5. Thailand was Never Colonized
- 6. The World’s Smallest Mammal Can Be Found in Thailand
- 7. Thai People Don’t Often Shake Hands
- 8. Thai is a Complicated Language
- 9. Thailand Uses Two Calendars
- 10. You Can Visit a Town Overrun by Monkeys
- Fun Facts About Thai Food
- 11. Rice is a Dessert in Thailand
- 12. Bugs are a Delicacy
- 13. They Have a Certain Type of Fruit that is Banned from Hotels
- 14. Thai People Do Not Use Chopsticks
- Fun Facts about Thai Culture
- 15. Songkran is the Biggest Water Fight Festival in the World
- 16. They Love their National Anthem
- 17. Showing Your Feet is Disrespectful
- 18. There are Over 70 Minority Groups in Thailand
- Other Facts About Thailand
- 19. Siamese Cats Came from Thailand
- 20. Thailand Wasn’t Always Called Thailand
- 21. Siamese Twins Started in Thailand
- 22. Tuk Tuks are Originally from Thailand
- 23. They Make Offerings to Ghosts
- 24. Logging is Illegal in Thailand
- 25. There are Different Levels of “Wais”
- 26. It is Illegal to Step on Thai Baht
Fun Facts about Bangkok
Let’s start with the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok. This chaotic, bustling capital is the center of Thailand’s tourism and is the starting point for most travels around the country. Everytime I step foot in Bangkok, I am always floored by how beautiful and chaotic it is.
Known for its energetic streets, delectable cuisine, and rich cultural heritage, Bangkok is a city that you have to visit at least once in your life. In this section of the article, I will share some of the most interesting facts about Bangkok.
Bangkok is a city full with amazing sights and odd local traditions, so there’s always something fresh and fascinating to learn about.
1. Bangkok Has a Statue Worth $250 Million
Did you know that Bangkok has the world’s largest solid gold Buddha statue? It’s called the Golden Buddha, and it’s tucked away in Wat Traimit temple. This beauty weighs over 5.5 tons and is worth a staggering $250 million.
The Golden Buddha is a magnificent sight to see, standing at about 10 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Made entirely of solid gold, this statue is adorned with intricate details that are awe-inspiring. The Buddha is sitting cross-legged in the lotus position, with one hand resting on his lap and the other hand touching the ground.
In Thai, the Golden Buddha is called Phra Phuttha Maha Suwana Patimakon.
But the most fascinating fact about the Golden Buddha is its history. To protect the statue from invaders, it was concealed in plaster for many years. It was not until the mid-1800s that the plaster cracked, revealing the shining gold underneath.
2. Bangkok’s Name isn’t Really Bangkok
Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, boasts the world’s lengthiest official city name in the native language. In Thai, locals call it “Krung Thep.”
But its official name is: “Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.”
That name literally translates to “The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn.”
Whew! What a mouthful. Regardless of its name, there are SO many things to do in Bangkok that visiting here is always a fun time.
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3. You Can Find a Reclining Buddha Here
Bangkok’s temples are home to some of the most remarkable cultural landmarks in the world. One of the most iconic temples in Bangkok is Wat Pho, which houses one of the largest reclining Buddha statues globally.
The statue, plated in a thin layer of gold and stretching over 46 meters long and 15 meters high, is a breathtaking masterpiece. It’s so huge that it almost spills out of the temple!
The reclining Buddha denotes the moment when Buddha entered Nirvana, a state of perfect harmony and joy.
As visitors explore Wat Pho, they can take in the exquisite details of the statue, including the 108 bronze bowls on the walls, symbolizing the 108 propitious characters of Buddha.
Wat Pho also recognized as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage, making it an ideal place to unwind after a long day of temple visits.
4. Bangkok is Home to the Largest Outdoor Market in the World
If you’re into shopping, you might have heard of the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market, the largest outdoor market in the world.
This weekend market covers over 35 acres, and it’s the biggest of its kind globally. Over 200,000 people visit this market every day, walking around its whooping 15,000 stalls.
The market is also home to many unique and quirky items that you won’t find anywhere else. For example, you might come across stalls selling vintage vinyl records, handmade jewelry, or even live animals like exotic birds and reptiles.
Aside from this market, Thailand also has a plethora of night markets in Bangkok to visit.
Interesting Facts About Thailand
After discussing a few intriguing facts about Bangkok, let’s move on to some general information about Thailand.
It should come as no surprise that there are many fascinating and interesting facts about this lovely country since Thailand is a place rich in culture, tradition, and history.
Travelers from all over the world are drawn to Thailand because of its breathtaking beaches and historic temples.
5. Thailand was Never Colonized
Did you know that Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that never got taken over by a European power? Yeah, that’s right! This means that Thailand has been able to hold on to its own unique culture and traditions, which is pretty amazing if you ask me.
Even with all the different cultures that have come and gone through Thailand over the centuries, the country has stayed strong and independent.
They managed to avoid colonization from European countries because the French and the British decided to keep it as a neutral territory between them.
In the Thai language, Thailand is also referred to as Prathet Thai which means “land of the free.”
Want to find out how Thailand compares to other countries in Southeast Asia? Check out a few of our comparison guides.
6. The World’s Smallest Mammal Can Be Found in Thailand
The world’s smallest mammal is called a bumblebee bat or Kitti’s hog-nosed bat. The crazy thing about this animal is that it is super tiny – like, smaller than a penny tiny! These bats have an average body length of just over 1 inch.
In fact, it’s only about the size of a big bumblebee (hence the name!).
These little guys are endangered, and they can only be found in a few caves in western Thailand, so if you ever get the chance to spot one, consider yourself lucky!
7. Thai People Don’t Often Shake Hands
Instead of shaking hands, you might notice that locals greet each other in a special way.
It’s called the “wai”, and it’s a sign of respect that involves placing your palms together in front of your chest and slightly bowing your head, similar to when you bow in yoga.
The wai gesture is often accompanied by the Thai word “sawasdee,” which means “hello” or “welcome.”
8. Thai is a Complicated Language
The Thai language has a unique and complex writing system that includes 44 consonants, 32 vowels, and 7 tone marks. That’s a total of 76 letters which is why learning the Thai can be hard.
The tone marks dictate your overall intonation which is why the Thai language can be a little sing-songy. The Thai language uses five tones, called mid, low, high, rising, and falling.
9. Thailand Uses Two Calendars
In Thailand, you might be surprised to learn that people follow not just one, but two calendars. The first is the Gregorian calendar, which is the same as the calendar used in the Western world. The second is the Buddhist calendar.
The Buddhist calendar is 543 years ahead of the Western calendar and is based on lunar cycles.
Thai people use the Buddhist calendar for cultural and religious events such as festivals and holidays. The Gregorian calendar is used for official purposes like business and government.
10. You Can Visit a Town Overrun by Monkeys
Lopburi is a small town located in central Thailand which has become famous for its unique inhabitants – a troop of playful macaque monkeys!
These creatures have taken over the town and can be seen jumping from rooftop to rooftop and playing in the parks. What started as around 400 monkeys or so has now grown to over 4000 animals!
To celebrate the monkeys, the town holds an annual Monkey Buffet Festival, where laid out some lavish feast of fruits and vegetables for the monkeys to enjoy. The festival is a lively and colorful event that attracts visitors from all over the world.
Fun Facts About Thai Food
Thai food is some of the best in the world. It is famous for its unique and delicious blend of flavors, mixing sweet, spicy, sour, and savory tastes all in one dish.
People all over the world love it, and it’s easy to see why – it’s just so darn tasty!
In this section, I’m going to share some fun and mouth-watering facts about Thai cuisine that will have you drooling in no time.
From the most popular dishes to the weirdest ingredients and cooking methods, Thai food is full of surprises that will excite any foodie out there.
Whether you’re a Thai food expert or just starting out, you’re bound to find something interesting and delicious in these facts about Thai food. So let’s dig in and get ready to satisfy your hunger for knowledge (and for food)!
11. Rice is a Dessert in Thailand
While not unique to Thailand (the Philippines does it too!) Thai people consider rice as a dessert too.
Thai desserts consist of coconut milk, sticky rice, and fresh fruit. One popular dessert in the Thai cuisine is mango sticky rice. It is one of my absolute favorite Thai dishes and is so damn good!
Mango sticky rice is made with sweet glutinous rice, ripe mango, and a drizzle of coconut cream.
12. Bugs are a Delicacy
Ready for another fun fact about Thailand? If you’re visiting Thailand and feeling curious about the local street food cuisine in Thailand, you might want to try some of the unusual foods on offer.
When you’re in the touristy areas, expect to see a variety of Insects and bugs.
Some of the most popular insects serving on the streets include deep fried crickets, grasshoppers, and silkworms.
The insects often seasoned with salt, pepper and sometimes chili powder and crunchy kaffir lime leaves. They scoop them up and place them in a plastic bag so you can munch on them like a bag of chips!
Personally, I first tasted these fried insects during a trip to Bangkok when I was in my teens and although it was out there, it was something I’m glad I tried them!
Would you try them during your trip?
13. They Have a Certain Type of Fruit that is Banned from Hotels
Durian is a tropical fruit that is popular in Thailand. The fruit itself is so stinky that some hotels and public places ban it.
That’s right – durian has a sweet and creamy taste, but it also has a super strong odor that can be overwhelming for some people.
It is not uncommon to see signs in hotel corridors and lobbies banning the fruit from the premises due to its insanely pungent smell.
14. Thai People Do Not Use Chopsticks
Did you know that Thai people have their own unique way of eating that doesn’t involve chopsticks?
Contrary to popular belief, chopsticks commonly not used in Thailand, with locals typically eating with a spoon and a fork instead.
This eating style is said to have been influenced by Western dining practices that were introduced to Thailand many years ago. Furthermore, Thai food often made up of small, easy-to-eat pieces that can be easily handled with a spoon, making chopsticks less necessary.
Fun Facts about Thai Culture
The culture of Thailand is extremely fascinating, diversified, and has a long history. The long-held traditions and practices of the Thai people are highly valued.
This section is dedicated to some interesting and fun facts about Thai culture that will give you a taste of how people live in this stunning nation.
Thailand’s culture is incredibly rich, with fascinating festivals and customs, plus a few cultural no-no’s when traveling this country!
15. Songkran is the Biggest Water Fight Festival in the World
Did you know that the Songkran festival is the biggest water fight in the world? This festival marks the Thai New Year and celebrated in mid-April with lots of water fights and splashing.
During this festival, people playfully throw water balloons, use water guns, and large hoses as they splash each other with water.
If you’re in Thailand during Songkran, be prepared to get soaked and have a blast! We have personally celebrated Songkran 3x in Thailand and can attest to how fun it is.
16. They Love their National Anthem
Coming at you with another fact about Thailand and this time, it has something to do with their national anthem.
Thailand’s national anthem, “Phleng Chat Thai” (The Thai National Anthem), plays everyday at 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. in public places across the country, such as train stations, parks, and government buildings. Usually, a Thai flag will also be in display nearby.
But did you know that it’s also played in cinemas before every movie screening? Yes, that’s right! Before the movie starts, the audience stands up to show respect while the national anthem is played.
It’s a unique and patriotic tradition that reflects the deep respect that they have for their monarchy.
17. Showing Your Feet is Disrespectful
Another fun fact about Thailand is that showing your feet is actually considered disrespectful. It is very common to take off your shoes before entering someone’s home or sacred places like temples.
This is because in Thai culture, feet are considered the lowest and dirtiest part of the body, while the head is the highest and most sacred.
In fact, if you show the soles of your feet, it is seen as a sign of disrespect. With that in mind, having slippers or sandals which you can easily slip on and off is convenient, especially when you’re sightseeing around temples.
18. There are Over 70 Minority Groups in Thailand
Did you know that Thailand, like other countries in Southeast Asia is home to more than 70 different ethnic groups, each with their own distinct language, customs, and traditions?
Some of the largest ethnic groups in Thailand include the Thai, Chinese, Malay, and Khmer, but there are also many smaller ethnic groups that contribute to their overall culture.
Naturally, the largest group is the Thai, who make up the majority of the population. Next is the Thai-Chinese, who have lived in Thailand for generations.
When you visit places like Northern Thailand, you also may encounter members of the hill tribe groups like the Hmong, Karen, Akha, and Mien. Hands down, some of my favorite experiences when traveling Thailand was when I spent time meeting some hill tribe minorities in Chiang Mai.
Other Facts About Thailand
Can’t get enough of these fun facts about Thailand, keep on reading as we have more for you!
19. Siamese Cats Came from Thailand
Siamese cats are a popular breed of cat with distinctive markings and friendly personalities. They actually originated in Thailand when the country was still known as Siam.
Thai culture highly values siamese cats and often kept as pets in palaces and temples.
20. Thailand Wasn’t Always Called Thailand
Did you know that Thailand was known as “Siam” until 1939, when the country’s name was changed? Interestingly, the name “Siam” was used again for a brief period from 1946 to 1948.
Today, Thailand is the official name of the country and reflects the country’s strong cultural heritage and identity.
Thai national flag’s colors are red, white, and blue. White stands for religion, blue is for the monarchy, and red represents the Thai people.
21. Siamese Twins Started in Thailand
Did you know that the term “Siamese twins” originated in Thailand when the country was still known as Siam?
The term was inspired by the famous conjoined twins, Chang and Eng Bunker, who were born in Siam in the early 19th century.
The brothers were joined at the chest and traveled the world as a circus attraction, gaining international fame and inspiring the term “Siamese twins.”
While this term is no longer considered politically correct, it has since been replaced by the preferred term “conjoined twins.”
22. Tuk Tuks are Originally from Thailand
Did you know that the Tuk Tuk originated in Thailand? Although other countries like Sri Lanka or the Philippines have their own version, the very first ones came from Thailand.
These open-air three wheeled vehicles are often brightly colored and decorated with various designs. The name “Tuk Tuk” comes from the sound of the 2-cycle engines that are commonly used in these vehicles.
They are very common in Bangkok as well as in Chiang Mai.
23. They Make Offerings to Ghosts
Did you know that in Thai culture, there’s a superstition that the seventh month of the lunar calendar is known as “Ghost Month.” During this month, ghosts are believed to roam the earth freely.
This tradition has its roots in ancient Chinese folklore and is marked by a custom of making offerings to the ghosts to prevent them from causing harm.
When walking around Thailand, you may notice offerings for these ghosts by the form of little sweets, drinks, and more.
24. Logging is Illegal in Thailand
An awesome fun fact is that logging has been prohibited in Thailand for over three decades? In 1989, the government imposed a nationwide ban on logging to protect the country’s forests and prevent environmental damage.
However, despite this ban, there have been reports of illegal logging activities in some parts of the country.
25. There are Different Levels of “Wais”
Did you know that the Wai greeting, a traditional Thai gesture of respect, has different levels of politeness depending on the height of the hand position?
When greeting someone of higher status or age, it’s customary to raise your hands higher, up to the bridge of your nose as a sign of respect.
Conversely, when greeting someone of equal or lower status, the hands are only raised to the chest level.
So, the next time you’re in Thailand, keep in mind that the height of your hands during the Wai greeting can convey a lot about your respect for the person you’re greeting!
26. It is Illegal to Step on Thai Baht
Stepping on the Thai currency, Baht, is prohibited. This law is taken seriously, and if you are caught stepping or stomping on the baht, you could face a hefty fine or even imprisonment.
This law is in place to show respect for the Thai Royal family, as the image of the current King or past Kings is often featured on Thai banknotes and coins.
So, if you’re in Thailand, be sure to treat their currency with the utmost respect and avoid stepping on it!
Overall, Thailand is a fascinating country with a rich history and culture, and these fun facts offer just a glimpse into the many interesting aspects of Thai life.
From the beautiful temples and traditional greetings to the unique food and festivals, there’s so much to discover and explore in Thailand.
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, learning about Thai culture and customs can help you better appreciate and understand this amazing country.
So, next time you’re planning a trip to Thailand, be sure to keep these fun facts in mind and enjoy all that this wonderful country has to offer!