This site is all about Thailand and the experiences of Thailand, the Thai people and Thai Culture that i have experienced during my travels around Thailand.
Even if your a seasoned traveller or planning your first trip, there will be something for you to see and do.
Whether it be relaxing on one of the many fantastic beaches, being pampered by the pool or getting out and about in some of the most beautiful scenery, Thailand has something for everyone. Read some of our concise guides on lots of popular destinations and think about planning your trip. Lets start with a little bit of Thai culture.
I would like to start with a little bit about Thailand and its culture.
Since the 1950s, Thailand’s government has made efforts to preserve and strengthen the sense of national culture and national identity. During the 1980s and 1990s, however, Thailand saw a resurgence in local culture and traditions. Although there is still a strong national identity, local food, dances, music, celebrations, and beliefs have begun to play a more important role in Thai life.
Religion in Thailand
Thai culture is deeply influenced by religion. With around 95% of the country being Theraveda Buddhist. Many of the traditions and beliefs of the people in Thailand stem directly from Buddhist principles. Hinduism has also made important contributions to Thai culture, and the close links between Thailand and India can be seen in art, literature, and in many Thai customs.
One of the most distinctive Thai customs is the “wai”. Used in greetings, leave-taking, or as an acknowledgement, it comes in many forms, reflecting the relative status of those involved. The traditional greeting is with two hands prayer-like palms together known as a wâi. If a local gives a wâi to you, to be polite, it is nice to wâi back. A wâi, however, is always appreciated.
Elderly people are considered to be important in Thai culture and are revered. As such, if you are talking to or greeting someone who is your elder, you need to show them the proper respect by dropping your gaze after initially making eye contact. Furthermore, Buddhist monks should be treated with great respect, as Thai people hold them in such high regard that there are laws protecting them.
Thai people are generally polite and friendly, so smiling is important. This is often why Thailand is referred to as “The land of smiles”. The most important values that Thai people hold to are respect, self-control, and a non-confrontational attitude. Losing face by showing anger or by telling a lie is a source of great shame for Thai people. In general, displays of emotion in public are viewed in a very negative light. No matter how frustrated or upset a person might feel, he or she will always strive to maintain a positive and friendly attitude, a sense of humor, and a smile.
Thai Personal Conduct
Thai people tend to give each other a reasonable amount of personal space. Touching is not common, except between close friends of the same sex or between family members. Public displays of affection are not common, so avoid these if you can. Thai culture also places certain spiritual importance to certain parts of the body. You should not point your feet at people, touch people with your feet, prop your feet up on seats or tables or step over people sitting on the ground. The head in contrast has a much higher importance. Avoid touching people on the head as this is considered very rude.
The Thai Royal Family
You should always stand when the King’s anthem is played before movies, concerts and sporting events. Remember the royal family is treated with absolute reverence. The King was especially beloved for his six decades of public service and humble demeanour until his passing in 2016. Making derogatory remarks about any of the royal family is against the law. The penalty is 3 – 15 years’ imprisonment, depending on the severity. This includes even includes the defacing of Thai money due to the King featuring on all coins and notes. If you drop money, you should not try to stop it with your feet as this will cause offence to Thai people.
Offending Thai People
Thai people view the feet as the lowest point of the body which is why you should never point your feet at someone or use them for anything other than walking. The feet are considered to be unclean.
Thailand is full of culturally fascinating practices and things to learn about. Go ahead, learn as much as you can before you visit, and while there, ask questions and see how locals treat each other.
Thailand is separated into four distinct regions. Despite the overarching strength and unity of Thai culture, each region has its own unique cultural and geographic features.
Northern Thailand shares its border with Myanmar and Laos. This region is mountainous and filled with thick forests and river valleys. Its culture is heavily influenced by Burmese culture and it carries strong influences from the historical Lanna kingdom. In the provincial capital, Chiang Mai, the old city has noteworthy Buddhist temples dating to the Lanna Kingdom, including 14th-century Wat Chedi Luang. The sacred, gilded Doi Suthep Temple overlooks the city from nearby Mt. Suthep.
Also known as Isan, is largely isolated from the rest of Thailand by a large mountain range. A Lao-speaking majority, as well as a primarily agricultural society, characterize this culturally distinct region. Forty percent of the population is concentrated in the provinces of Khorat, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, and Khon Kaen, known as “big four of Isan”.
These provinces surround the four major cities of the same names. Agriculture is the largest sector of the economy, generating around 22 percent of the gross regional product. Sticky rice, the staple food of the region, is the main agricultural crop (accounting for about 60 percent of cultivated land). It thrives in poorly drained paddy fields, and where fields can be flooded from nearby streams, rivers, and ponds. Often two harvests are possible each year. Isan food has elements most in common with Laos and is somewhat distinct from central Thai cuisine. The most obvious difference is the consumption of sticky rice that accompanies almost every meal rather than non-sticky long-grain rice.
Located on the Malay peninsula, is home to many of Thailand’s pristine beaches and resorts. With a more tropical climate, this narrow land mass is home to a many fishing communities.
Phuket, Ko Samui and Ko Phi Phi are some of the best known of Southern Thailand’s many islands. With dozens more islands to choose from, and many of the more obscure options often provide the best experiences. When selecting an island or two for your trip, it pays to do some research. Phuket is Thailand’s largest and most popular island, with over a third of all tourists to Thailand finding themselves here at some stage during their trips.
Many budget travellers have long steered clear of Phuket, put off by the higher prices and heavily touristed nature of the place. If your interested in a backpacking style holiday then islands off the west coast could offer the best experiences in Ranong, Phang Nga, Krabi, Trang and Satun provinces. The coast of Krabi province, is home to some of Thailand’s most spectacular scenery. The stunning beaches and towering limestone karsts have made Krabi a major rock-climbing destination.
It is the region of Central Thailand that is predominant, though. This region is the seat of Thailand’s modern-day capital city, Bangkok. With its fertile plains, it has also long been the economic center of the country, producing the majority of Thailand’s rice. Central Thailand is also the area that has the greatest population density, and the greatest concentration of the ethnic Thai majority. It is the political, economic, and cultural center of Thailand.
So whatever your choice of destination, there is something for everyone in Thailand.
Religion plays a big role in Thailand. Click the link below to find out more.
Check out our guide to public holidays and festivals. Click the link below to find out more.
Before you travel to Thailand it is advisable to see you local medical professional. Here is a quick guide to healthcare in Thailand. Click below to find out.
As with all counties, Thailand has it’s own unique currency. Click the like below to find out more.