Visiting Thailand may be a dream for many of us. Some of us will even get the chance to do it and if so there are a few interesting facts that are good to know and will help us get more out of this extraordinary holiday.
First of all, the country is located in the southeast of Asia and it used to be called Siam. Throughout history its culture has been dramatically influenced by India and China. The capital, Bangkok holds the Guinness record for being the city with the longest name. Apparently “Bangkok” is just the short version because the city’s ceremonial name is “Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit”. Also Bangkok is one of the hottest cities in the world. At 10 in the morning it is already very hot and if you plan to visit the Grand Palace you have to make sure you are prepared for a day in a crowded place under the burning sun.
Because of its position people usually expect that locals use chopsticks for their food. In fact, chopsticks are used only for noodle soup, when you order any other dish you will be served a fork or spoon. Also, they don’t eat much bread but when they do, it’s usually with some desert like ice cream.
Thai food is almost impossibly sweet. They add great quantities of sugary, sweeteners or other sugary syrups on most of their food from coffee to deserts. Don’t be surprised when you taste your coffee incredibly sweet.
Even if it’s known as the “land of smiles” don’t misinterpret this gesture as happiness. Asian cultures usually don’t have the same facial expressions as Europeans or other western civilizations. In Thailand a smile can be a sign of embarrassment, tension, fear or simply politeness. Even so, the Thai people are a very calm and open people. To make sure you are polite; greet them with a smile but also a little bow of your head while keeping your hands together in front of your body.
You also have to know that the country is deeply spiritual, the main religion is Buddhism and you can find temples almost everywhere but make sure you visit them with due respect; that is decent clothing and without being too noisy.
We all know the stories about the sex tourism in Thailand and this is just the infamous reality, even if prostitution is illegal. A bittersweet reality is also that sometimes men are more beautiful than women.
Take your time to visit the country and try not only to stop at the tourists’ attractions but to go deeper and catch a glimpse into the everyday life of Thai people with their customs, culture and religion, this is the only way you will ever be able to understand that Thailand is all about.