Nestled in the heart of Southeastern Asia, Thailand is predominantly a Buddhist kingdom that shares its boundary with Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia and Myanmar and is almost equidistant from India and China. Spread across a sprawling geographical territory of 513,115 sq. km., Thailand has a population of 64 million, growing at a rate of 1.5% each year. It is the 21st most populous country in the world with a diverse population of Thai, Chinese, Malay and other minority tribes like the Mons, Khmers and other hill tribes. Affectionately touted as the “Rice Bowl” of Asia, Thailand’s economic spine is largely its agricultural strength. Ranked as the fourth richest Southeast Asian nation, the budding economy of Thailand bets heavily on its export business and tourism.
Treated as somewhat of a Southeast Asian migratory, cultural, and religious crossroads, the 800-year old glorious history of the Thai people is a big enough testimony to its rich heritage. Originally hailing from Southern China, the Thais moved to Southeast Asia around the 10th century A.D. and have stayed there ever since. A royal kingdom initially, Thailand went on to defy absolute monarchy and military rule, opting instead for a more democratic elected form of government system later. Today this so called ‘land of smiles’ not only prides itself on its rich cultural history, but is also a force to reckon with both on the world’s economic and social stages.
Interesting And Fun Facts About Thailand
- According to the World Meteorological Organization, Bangkok is apparently the hottest capital city in the world.
- In Thailand it is deemed impolite to ask someone their age or salary.
- Boxing is the national sport of Thailand.
- Thai cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines in the world.
- Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country to have never been dominated by a Western power and hence retains most of its original culture.
- Although prostitution is illegal in Thailand, it is touted as the world’s biggest sex-tourism hub.
- Thailand was known as Siam till 1939.
- It is called the “Land Of Smiles," because of its ever smiling, inviting, soft spoken, friendly, and hospitable inhabitants.
- In ‘Thai’, the name Thailand signifies “land of freedom” or the “land of the free”.
- Buddhism is the predominant religion of the country. However, it has a minor populace of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and Jews, as well.
- Thailand is popularly known as the "Land of the White Elephant." It is said that white elephants were highly revered by Thai Rulers and till date are widely honored as symbols of peace and prosperity.
- In Thai tradition, the tradition of touching the head is severely looked down upon. The Thais believe that the soul resides in the head, which makes it an extremely sacred place that should not be touched.
- Thailand is the 49th largest country in the world with its total land area as big as that of France. It is bigger than the combined areas of United Kingdom, Iceland, Belgium and Austria.
- Thailand a high number of Guinness World Records, including that for the man with the longest hair, the biggest hamburger, largest ever aerobic workout, and also for the most linked skydivers.
- Every Thai male has to take up monkhood at some point in his life even if only for a short period, and at almost any age between completion of school and the beginning of a career or married life.
- In Thailand, both the Father's Day and the Mother's Day are celebrated to commemorate the birthdays of Their Majesties the King and Queen.