I fell in love with South East Asia earlier this year while travelling with Contiki, and I’m already planning my next trip back! While I have previously visited Thailand, it has been on family trips to visit resorts in Phuket. While I did enjoy Phuket, I feel that as a teenager I was unable to fully appreciate the cultural differences between Australia and Thailand due to Phuket being such a tourist attraction.
I joined the Contiki Asian Adventure group which traveled Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. I will be doing an article on the other two countries as well, at some point, but here is ten facts about Thailand that I didn’t already know!
These facts are not in the order in which I learnt them, nor in order of importance. Simply things I discovered and thought were interesting.
- Each day has a colour attached to it. The current king, and previous king (for whom Thailand is still in mourning), were both born on a Monday, and the colour of that day is yellow. This is why in portraits, they are more often than not, wearing bright yellow clothing.
- King Rama the Ninth was greatly loved by his people. When he passed away, the entire country shut down, out of respect, but causing some irritation on party islands due to restrictions on drinking, loud music, and partying.
- The long-neck hill tribe people only arrived in Thailand twenty or so years ago, thought to have fled unrest in and around Burma (now Myanmar). The women of this tribe have metal rings around their necks, elongating and pressing down their collarbones. Partly for beauty, they are placed around the necks of five-year-old girls and a new ring is added yearly until they are grown. This practice is not as common due to the problems it causes when the girls interact with the modern world (for example, schooling and working).
- The story behind the rings is that a girl was attacked by a tiger one day. Tigers bite into the necks of their kills, so to protect the ‘weaker’ gender (who couldn’t fight off a tiger), it was decided all females would wear the rings around their necks, to protect them.
- It is illegal to go commando in Thailand.
- An educational organisation/restaurant set up by King Rama 9 aims to educate families on the importance of education. We visited a cafe on the way to Chiang Rai. Check out Cabbages and Condoms, and remember, their food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy.
- The Best Thai Cooking School really is the best.
- Monks wear orange robes dyed with turmeric, as at the time most coloured dye was rare, but turmeric was plentiful.
- Female Buddhist monks wear white but are not generally as well-accepted.
- Scorpions taste like dirt. And there are very few bins on the streets.
It’s always interesting learning new things and while some trivia may show up in tv quizzes, sometimes you learn things that you remember simply because it amuses you at the time.
When traveling through some of the world’s poorest countries, a sense of gratitude comes along with it, and so for these ten random, interesting (to me, at least) facts, here is one thing I didn’t expect to became grateful for: I am fortunate to have a space for a clothesline to hang my clothes to dry.
I decided to do something a little different with this post because I can talk about my travels for a very long time but it’s hard to fully articulate and condense it all as it was such a jam-packed few weeks. I thought that by putting up some facts I learned while IN the country and experiencing the culture, it can still give you an idea of how different the experience was. I would definitely recommend you visit Thailand but I would also recommend you find a guide to help you out, because they have the best stories and the most interesting facts!! I hope you enjoyed this post 🙂
**~ Have you visited Thailand? Let me know any interesting facts or stories!!~**