88 Interesting Facts About Thailand

Last updated on September 6th, 2019

43. Thailand is heavily influenced by both India and China. They took their religious ideas from India and combined the traditional values of the Chinese to create their unique identity.

44. Thailand respects the third gender well, and has public bathrooms for transgender males, along with conventional male and female. These are known as pink toilets.

45. Bangkok is also the world’s most visited city, edging out top cities like London and Paris.

Interesting facts about Bangkok
Bangkok Skyline: Image credit – Swaminathan

46. Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand. Often deadly, it is known as “The art of eight limbs.” The knees, elbows, shins, and hands are each treated as a separate set of limbs.

47. The country has a strong history of civilization and is as old as the Bible. It started its journey way back around the first century, CE, when the Kingdom of Funan was formed.

48. It has always been an epicenter for world trade and had ancient links to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. In its heyday, Ayutthaya an ancient city of Thailand was a world-class city for international trade.

49. Buddhism remains the principal religion of the Siamese people, practiced by around 95% of the population, but the state is secular. It is one of the world’s most religiously tolerant countries.

50. Thailand is the prostitution capital of the world and is notoriously famous for its red-light districts.

51. The Academy Award winning movie The Bridge on the River Kwai is based on a real bridge in Thailand near Kanchanaburi. During the construction of the bridge, a staggering 100,000 people reportedly died.

52. Thailand has the second highest rate of deforestation in Asia. Once covered with a thriving tropical forest, the tree cover was reduced to 25% of the total land area. Currently, logging is banned in Thailand.

53. Bangkok is dense and is getting denser. Nearly one-tenth of the total population of Thailand lives in its capital city.

54. Fake monks roam around the city of Bangkok, conning tourists and acting as a menace to the authorities.

55. Tiger Woods, a world-renowned golfer, has Siamese blood running through his veins, as his mother comes from Thailand.

56. Personal appearance in Thailand is actually a form of gesture. To show respect, wear your clothes properly.

57. Thailand incorporated many religious habits from India like the namaskar gesture, which carries the symbolic meaning that the leg is a lowly part of the body, but the head, which is believed to be holy, should be revered. The head can only be touched by a priest to give blessings.

58. It is disrespectful to point your leg toward the direction of any god or holy place; footwear is strictly forbidden inside temples.

59. Thailand has the highest number of HIV+ patients, and the number is only increasing with each passing year.

60. Buddhists believe Buddha was an elephant before he took on a human form. An elephant tattoo is a powerful thing to have, so consider getting one if you’re in Thailand.

61. The Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon is a gold statue of Gautama Buddha, weighing an amazing 5,500 kilograms. It is around 86% pure and is worth $250 million, given current gold prices.

The golden Buddha, Thailand
The Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon – The golden Buddha. Image credit

62. Bangkok was once known as the Venice of the East for its many canals. As the density of the city increased and the space crunch got worse, those canals were modeled into roads.

63. Bangkok was once criss-crossed with canals or ‘khlongs.’ Buildings and houses stood on stilts. And since we must compare everything we see, it is not surprising that Bangkok was called the Venice of the East.

64. Several districts of Ayutthaya celebrate blacksmiths who make Aranyik knives in a festival called Pithi Wai Kru Bucha Tao. The festival is a reminder of the Viantian goldsmiths and blacksmiths who came over from Laos to settle in the bamboo-forested region in the early 1800s.

65. Fish mobiles are Thai prosperity charms that hang as decorations in many houses. They used to be made of palm leaves. But Thai craftsmen are changing with the times to make beautiful crafty versions of these highly collectible mobiles.

66. A Thai incantation for those who can pronounce Pali…and have a desire to vanish: (Na Mo Phutthaya Phu Tha Ha La Ti Tha SaMa Ni Na Ma Pha Tha Pha Tha Na Ma Tha Na Ma Pha Phuttho A Ra Hang)

I Ti Ri Thi

It’s not clear where you disappear to after chanting, however…

67. Thais love their country. You are required to stop and pay your respects twice daily when the national anthem is broadcast.

68. Locals wear yellow shirts on Mondays since auspicious colors are associated with certain days of the week, according to local customs.

69. The ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ is actually in Thailand, near the town of Kanchanburi. You can visit it today!

The ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ - Thailand facts
The ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ Thailand. Image credit

Funny facts about Thailand

70.  Intrigued by the temples stamped on the Thai baht coins? All of them are in Bangkok, and you can visit them in a day. See if you can match the silhouettes on the 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht coins to the temples you visit.

71. Be careful so you don’t have a close encounter with a giant centipede the size of a man’s forearm on your Thai holiday. Yes, they are very real and painfully poisonous.

72. Locals love to keep it cool and smile. There is even a commonly used phrase for “nevermind” – “Mai pen rai.” You’ll hear it used often!

73. Thailand has more than 40,000 temples. Don’t worry; no one has ever been able to visit them all.

74. Crazy-looking, fatally beautiful Thai caterpillars are usually sending you a warning sign: Stay away! They can inject clouds of poisonous hair into you to drive you mad. Scram if you hear the word “Buung Haan.”

75. Current Prime Minister and ex-army chief Prayut Chan-ocha has two songs to his name, one of which is called ‘Because You Are Thailand.’ Now how many such songwriting heads of state do you know, even if they are dictators?

76. Thai devotees typically offer juices, coffees, sugary and fatty foods in the hopes of attaining good karma. Instead, the sugary foods are taking a toll on the health of the monks who can’t really refuse an offering. Hopefully, readers will know better if they ever visit a Thai temple with karma in mind!

77. When a Thai man stole a diamond belonging to a Saudi royal family. it led to the series of events that became the Blue Diamond Affair. Saudi-Thai relations were soured, and Saudis are now banned from visiting Thailand. The Thai national, however, became a monk to redeem karma.

78. Mother’s Day in Thailand has nothing to do with your mother. It is about paying respect to the royal family.

79. What if Rapunzel posed as Mona Lisa? Thai graphic designer Thunyamon Charoensuttikul has imagined Disney princesses in Renaissance poses and settings that lovers of quirky art may enjoy.

80. It is forbidden to touch a local on the head – it’s best to lower your head — even to a child — in Thailand!

81. Thailand doesn’t have a climate conducive for winemaking, but the Hua Hin Hills Vineyard south of Bangkok is one place you can enjoy the scenery while you sip Monsoon Valley wine.

82. Twenty minutes in a speedboat from crowded Phuket lies the pristine island of KOH YAO YAI, where ‘pristine’ still means something!

the pristine island of KOH YAO YAI - facts about Thailand

83. There is a little, hidden jungle in Bang Krachao, across the river from crowded Sukhumvit, where you can rent a bike and a hand-drawn map of bike trails to explore the place that literally means ‘green lung.’

84. Visit the island of Ko Pha-Ngan for secret full-moon parties.

Thailand in movies

85. James Bond and Thailand seem to be inseparable. The Man With the Golden Gun and Tomorrow Never Dies feature Bond and Thailand.

86. If The Beach (2000) intrigued you, you’ll want to visit Ko Phi Phi Leh, though things have changed drastically since the filming of the movie took place there.

87. Two Brothers (2004) is a heart-rending movie about two infant tiger cubs set in Thailand. Keep tissues handy.

88.  The Greeks in Thailand? Not sure if that happened historically, but some of the scenes in Oliver Stone’s 2004 movie Alexander were shot on the banks of the Mekong.

Thailand – country at a glance

Independence1238 (traditional founding date; never colonized)
Table last updatedJuly 26, 2019
Capital CityBangkok
(13°45′N 100°29′E)
Largest CityBangkok
(13°45′N 100°29′E)
Areatotal: 513,120 sq km
land: 510,890 sq km
water: 2,230 sq km
Population68,615,858 (July 2018 est.)
Official LanguageThai
BordersCambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Myanmar.
CurrencyBaht (฿) (THB)
Literacy rate92.9%
DemonymThai
Siamese (archaic)
ReligionBuddhism
Life expectancy at birth75.1 Years (2018)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Climatetropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid
Terraincentral plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere
Mean elevation287 m
Lowest pointGulf of Thailand 0 m
Highest pointDoi Inthanon 2,565 m
Agricultural land41.2%
Birth rate11 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Death rate8.1 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
Sex ratio0.96 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
Literacy rate96.7%
Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory
National symbolsgaruda (mythical half-man, half-bird figure), elephant
National colorsred, white, blue
National anthem"Phleng Chat Thai" (National Anthem of Thailand)
Government typeconstitutional monarchy
MonarchMaha Vajiralongkorn
Prime MinisterPrayut Chan-o-cha
Industriestourism, textiles and garments, agricultural processing, beverages, tobacco, cement, light manufacturing such as jewelry and electric appliances, computers and parts, integrated circuits, furniture, plastics, automobiles and automotive parts, agricultural machinery, air conditioning and refrigeration, ceramics, aluminum, chemical, environmental management, glass, granite and marble, leather, machinery and metal work, petrochemical, petroleum refining, pharmaceuticals, printing, pulp and paper, rubber, sugar, rice, fishing, cassava, world's second-largest tungsten producer and third-largest tin producer
Exports$235.1 billion (2017 est.)
automobiles and parts, computer and parts, jewelry and precious stones, polymers of ethylene in primary forms, refine fuels, electronic integrated circuits, chemical products, rice, fish products, rubber products, sugar, cassava, poultry, machinery and parts, iron and steel and their products
Imports$203.2 billion (2017 est.)
machinery and parts, crude oil, electrical machinery and parts, chemicals, iron & steel and product, electronic integrated circuit, automobile’s parts, jewelry including silver bars and gold, computers and parts, electrical household appliances, soybean, soybean meal, wheat, cotton, dairy products
GDP - per capita (PPP)$17,900 (2017 est.)
Time ZoneICT (UTC+7)
Internet country code.th
Calling Code+66
Drives on theLeft