Thailand has become one of the worlds most affordable and desirable places for westerners to move to. From a booming economy to amazing food and weather. Thailand is at the forefront of any expats list. But that’s not to say it’s without a bit of culture shock moments for people moving here. Here’s a list of a few interesting facts about Thailand that expats may not know.
Plenty of Convenience to Go Around
Any visitor to Thailand will quickly notice the huge number of 7/11 convenience stores. That’s because Thailand has the 2nd Most 7/11s in the world behind only Japan, understandable as it’s a Japanese company. Thailand has over 8,800 stores with half of them located in Bangkok.
Whats In A Name?!?!
Thailand’s capital city might be the hardest to pronounce for foreigners. I’m not talking about the name Bangkok. I’m talking about it’s real name in Thai. Bangkok’s full ceremonial name in Thai is, Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit
Southeast Asia has long been a vital region for European expansion. However, Thailand has historically been immune from this expansion. Thailand is the only country in SEA to have never been colonized by Europeans. In the late 1800’s Siam (Thailand) found themselves between two global powers. The British and French. The British wanted to keep Siam as a buffer between them and the French expanding in the east while France wanted to take over Siam. Thanks to some smooth negotiating by the Siamese Ambassador, the British and French signed an agreement which maintained Siams independence and protected them from future invasion attempts by any other country.
A Cradle of Life and Longevity
Thailand is one of the world’s most vital locations for animal research and conservation. For example, Siamese Cats are native to Thailand. Hence the name, Siamese after the former name of Thailand. Thailand is also the home of the world’s smallest mammal, Kitti’s hog-nosed bat as well as the world’s largest living lizard. The Monitor Lizard. The later you can see roaming freely in Bangkok’s famous Lumpini Park
Feeding the World through Innovation
Thailand is one of the world’s leading exporters of rice and the leading exporter in ASEAN. Regularly having, and competing for the top spot globally. Rice is extremely important to Thailand. The rice production industry takes up almost 50% of Thailand’s arable land and over half of the countries labor force is in the rice industry. Thai rice has become important culinarily, even outside of Thailand. For example, Thai rice is the primary ingredient in Okinawa’s famous Awamori drink.
Thai Beer Culture Rivals the Worlds Best
Leo Beer is the Best Selling Beer in Thailand. This inexpensive brew is the drink of choice for many Thais all around the country as well as quite a large number of ex pats. While buying of alcohol can be restrictive during certain hours, you’ll find Leo Beer all around Thailand and a surprising number of places outside of Thailand. I had one in Amsterdam.
Respect for Royalty
It’s illegal to criticize the monarchy. This is also why it’s illegal to step on any Thai money since it depicts the king. Also, the Film and Play, The King and I, are banned in Thailand due to their depiction of the Thai Monarchy. Before films being played at cinemas across Thailand, audiences must rise and hear the Kings anthem.
The World’s Most Beautiful Flowers
The Orchid has become synonymous with Thailand. Thailand is the world’s leading exporter of orchids with 1500 species growing wild throughout Thailand. These multicolored gems have become a large part of Thai design and identity.
Culture of Respect from Head to Toe
In Thai culture, it’s rude to touch someone’s head. Your head is meant to always be below someone of greater status or age. This is why you’ll often see younger peoples bowing to their elders and monks. Thai culture places a heavy emphasis on respect. Not only for family, but anyone of an elevated professional and social stature.