Capital is Bangkok
The Thai New Year (Songkran) is celebrated From April 13, 14 and 15
The Official symbol is the Elephant
Official Sport is Muay Thai Kickboxing
Official Flower is Lotus
The national flower/tree, Ratchaphruek (Cassia fistula Linn.)
A computer program for Devanagari characters – or “Pasa Khaek” was invented by the King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej
Tuk Tuk (3 Wheel Vehicle Taxi) Originated in Thailand
Thailand (/ˈtaɪlænd/ TY-land or /ˈtaɪlənd/ TY-lənd; Thai: ประเทศไทย, RTGS: Prathet Thai), officially the Kingdom of Thailand (Thai: ราชอาณาจักรไทย, RTGS: Ratcha Anachak Thai; IPA: [râːt.tɕʰā ʔāːnāːtɕàk tʰāj] formerly known as Siam (Thai: สยาม; RTGS: Sayam), is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Burma. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India in the Andaman Sea to the southwest.
The country is a constitutional monarchy, headed by King Rama IX, the ninth king of the House of Chakri, who, having reigned since 1946, is the world’s longest-serving head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history. The king of Thailand is titled Head of State, Head of the Armed Forces, Adherent of Buddhism, and Upholder of religions.
Thailand is the world’s 51st-largest country in terms of total area, with an area of approximately 513,000 km2 (198,000 sq mi), and is the 20th-most-populous country, with around 64 million people. The capital and largest city is Bangkok, which is Thailand’s political, commercial, industrial and cultural hub. About 75% of the population is ethnically Tai, 14% Thai Chinese, and 3% is ethnically Malay; the rest belong to minority groups including Mons, Khmers and various hill tribes. The country’s official language is Thai. The primary religion is Buddhism, which is practiced by around 95% of the population.
Thailand experienced rapid economic growth between 1985 and 1996, and is presently a newly industrialized country and a major exporter. Tourism also contributes significantly to the Thai economy. There are approximately 2.2 million legal and illegal migrants in Thailand, and the country has also attracted a number of expatriates from developed countries.
Customs and Culture
Thai value systems regarding dress, social behavior, religion, authority figures, and sexuality are much more conservative than those of the average Westerner. Thai social behavior are less clearly defined than those concerning the monarchy or religion-especially in a city like Bangkok where Western customs are better known and more widely accepted. However, what is acceptable with people from Bangkok may not be as acceptable with people from the countryside where the old ways are still strong.
Thais do not normally shake hands when they greet one another, Thailand’s traditional form of greeting is a lovely prayer-like gesture accompanied with a slight head nod called the wai. Generally, a younger person will first wai an elder, who then returns it.
Thai people will often address someone by their first name; for instance, Mr. Peter, Miss Ann, or Dr. Jill, instead of by your surname. This is because Thais refer to one another in this manner, usually with the title “Khun” (Mr., Mrs., or Miss) in front.
The Thai people do not generally like to touch, they consider it too intimate a gesture and an invasion of personal space. Thai anatomy has it’s own special considerations. Thai people regard the head as the most sacred part of the body both literally and figuratively, it is inhabited by the kwan, the spiritual force of life. So Never pat a Thai person on the head. Not even in the friendliest of circumstances or gesture.
Similarly, if you watch Thai people in a social gathering, you will notice that young people go to considerable lengths to keep their heads lower than those of the elder ones, to avoid giving the impression of “looking down” on them.
Standing over someone older, wiser, or more enlightened than yourself is also considered rude behavior since it implies social superiority.
The feet are the least sacred, so when sitting they should not point at anyone. Many Thais may sit on the floor with their feet tucked under their bodies behind them. To point, particularly with foot, is extremely insulting. It is considered rude to point your foot at a person, so try to avoid doing so when sitting opposite anyone.
Public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon. You may see some very Westernized young Thai couples holding hands, but that is the extent of the displaying of affection in this polite society.
Thai people are extremely polite and their behavior is tightly controlled by etiquette, much of it based on their Buddhist religion. It is a non confrontational society, in which public dispute or criticism is to be avoided at all costs. To show anger or impatience or to raise your voice is a sign of weakness and lack of mental control. It is also counter productive, since the Thais who will smile, embarrassed by your outburst of anger or frustration is far less likely to be helpful than if you had kept better control of your emotions.
Losing your temper, especially in public, is not favorable.
Thai People believe that such displays denote poor manners, and you are more apt to get what you want by remaining calm and concealing your emotions. “Face” is very important in Thailand. Candor and emotional honesty are qualities that are highly prized in some Western societies, are considered embarrassing and counterproductive with people from old world Thailand.
So Never lose your temper or raise your voice no matter how frustrating or desperate the situation. Only patience, humor, and jai yen ( cool heart ) is positive.
The use of the word ‘heart’ ( jai ) is very common in the Thai language, for example; jai lawn means angry, nam jai means feelings, nowk jai means unfaithful, jai dee means good hearted, jai dum means black hearted.
Understanding these basic cultural habits of the Thai people will help you fit in at any Thai gathering.
The Official Sport Of Thailand Muay boran, and therefore muay Thai, was originally called by more generic names such as pahuyuth (from the Sanskrit bahu-yuddha meaning unarmed combat), Toi muay or simply muay. As well as being a practical fighting technique for use in actual warfare, muay became a sport in which the opponents fought in front of spectators who went to watch for entertainment. These muay contests gradually became an integral part of local festivals and celebrations, especially those held at temples. Eventually, the previously bare-fisted fighters started wearing lengths of hemp rope around their hands and forearms. This type of match was called muay khat chueak (มวยคาดเชือก). Kickboxing was also a component of military training and gained prominence during the reign of King Naresuan in 1560 CE.
Muay Thai is referred to as the “Art of Eight Limbs” or the “Science of Eight Limbs” because it makes use of punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes, thus using eight “points of contact”, as opposed to “two points” (fists) in boxing and “four points” (hands and feet) used in other more regulated combat sports, such as kickboxing and savate. A practitioner of muay Thai is known as a nak muay. Western practitioners are sometimes called Nak Muay Farang, meaning “foreign boxer.”
The ascension of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) to the throne in 1868 ushered in a golden age not only for muay but for the whole country of Thailand. Muay progressed greatly during the reign of Rama V as a direct result of the king’s personal interest in the sport. The country was at peace and muay functioned as a means of physical exercise, self-defense, recreation, and personal advancement.
Masters of the art began teaching muay in training camps where students were provided with food and shelter. Trainees would be treated as one family and it was customary for students to adopt the camp’s name as their own surname. Scouts would be sent by the royal family to organize matches between different camps.
King Rama VII (r. 1925-1935) pushed for codified rules for muay, and they were put into place. Thailand’s first boxing ring was built in 1921 at Suan Kularp. Referees were introduced and rounds were now timed by kick. Fighters at the Lumpinee Kickboxing Stadium began wearing modern gloves during training and in boxing matches against foreigners. Rope-binding was still used in fights between Thais but after the occurrence of a death in the ring, it was decided that fighters should wear gloves and cotton coverlets over the feet and ankles. It was also around this time that the term muay Thai became commonly used while the older form of the style came to be known as muay boran, which is now performed primarily as an exhibition art form.
With the success of muay Thai in the mixed martial arts, it has become the de facto style of choice for competitive stand-up fighters. As a result, western practitioners have incorporated much more powerful hand striking techniques from boxing although some Thai purists accuse them of diluting the art.
In 1993, the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur, or IFMA was inaugurated. It became the governing body of amateur Muay Thai consisting of 128 member countries worldwide and is recognized by Olympic Council of Asia.
In 1995, World Muaythai Council, the oldest and largest professional sanctioning organizations of Muay Thai was set up by the Royal Thai Government and sanctioned by the Sports Authority of Thailand.
Today, there are thousands of gyms spread out across the globe.