12 Thailand Culture Facts That Will Amaze You
There are plenty of interesting things and facts to highlight in Thai culture. Whether you planned a trip over there, or just by curiosity, here are 12 Thailand culture facts that will totally amaze you:
1. Talking very loud
Talking very loud is a disrespectful action to do in Thailand, since you’d be losing self-control, which is not accepted in this country. So keep it quiet, especially in public places. Thais refer to it as “Jai yen yen”, which mean “cool heart”.
2. Thailand has never been colonised
This country has never been colonized by any European country. In fact, it’s the only country in Southeast Asia that has always been free. You can even see it in the local language way of saying “Thailand”, “Prathet Thai”, which literally means “land of the free”.
3. Around 95% of Thais are buddhist
This number makes Buddhism one the most spread religion / philosophy in the country. You can find other religions like Islamism, which is practiced by 4% of the population and Christianism, practiced only by 1% of Thai citizens.
4. They don’t open gifts
It is normal not to open gifts until the giver or guest leaves the house. The usual thing to do is to set aside the present, since it would be disrespectful to open it with the other person staring at you.
6. Logging is banned
The huge and impressive forest that covered the country a hundred years ago has almost disappeared. Only 25% of the woods is left, becoming the second country that has lost the largest amount of its forest. The first one is Singapore. However, if you dig a little bit, you’ll find incredible sustainable spots to travel in Thailand.
7. Taking off your shoes is a must
When visiting anyone’s home, taking off your shoes is almost compulsory. The host may tell you “it’s okay, you can leave them on”, but always respect the tradition of leaving them at the entrance of the house. It’s not well seen to enter someone’s home with “all the dirt you picked up from the street”.
8. Thai families are usually big
It’s rare to see a small family where there are only the parents and the kids. The most common thing is to see large families living all together in the same place.
9. You can find over 35,000 temples in the country
This huge amount of temples makes Thailand the land of temples, a name that perfectly matches the reality. Just pay attention to the clothing and respect signs you have to follow during your visits. You can’t wear shorts or sleeveless shirts.
10. The head is the most sacred part of the body
Unlike feet, the head is the most sacred part of the body. Unless you have a strong bond with someone, do not dare to touch their heads. And even if you’re close, better avoid this sign of affection when your are in Thailand. You can only do it if you have the explicit permission of the person.
11. Bangkok is a very polluted city
Some policemen have to wear masks while working in the streets. This pollution can causes exhaustion, and some police stations are equipped with oxygen tanks to help officers breath better if fumes are too strong.
12. You shouldn’t point around Thai people
We (Westerns) usually joke around and point unintentionally, but it’s pretty offensive for them, so try to avoid it. Do not ever point at monks or at pictures of the Royal Family, who are highly respected.
This list is a fairly brief overview, and there is a ton of other customs and traditions out there. Thailand is such a unique country that it is difficult to stop at just 12 facts! Each visitor to Thailand leaves with a better understanding of how special the country is.