Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Thailand Travel - 10 Interesting Facts About Thailand

It's certainly the mesmeric land of Thais that attracts more visitants than any other country in the Southeast Asia. Thailand is the country known for beguiling scenic beauty, stunning beaches, impressing culture, commendable hospitality, fantastic temples, ruins & souvenirs of fabulous ancient kingdoms, gastronomic riches, and lovely, smiling, and welcoming people.

Thailand certainly the destination that appeals you, bewitches you, captivates you, enthralls you....! It's the place that makes you visit it again and again. It's the vacation destination that you dream of. Surely, you can find oodles of interesting things in Thailand, but here are the 10 most interesting facts about Thailand.

It is often nicknamed as the "Land Of Smiles," because of the perceived gentleness of its people. The country is really populated by smiling, inviting, and receiving people. Thais are really gentle, polite, soft spoken, friendly, and hospitable human beings.

Siam was the old name of Thailand. It was the official name of the country until 1949, when it was changed to Thailand by official proclamation. 'Thai' in the Thai language means 'freedom'. So, Thailand means "land of freedom" or "land of the free".

The Mon ruled over what is now known as Thailand. The area was also held by Khmer. The Mon Empire was a great Buddhist empire, and the empire had trading relations with Indians for centuries.

Thailand retains much of its original culture, because it is the only Southeast Asian nation that has never been colonized. Thai culture is kin to the Cambodian culture & religion, which was adopted by Thais in the 13th century, after the fall of the Khmer Kingdom.

King Rama I, the founder of the Chakri Dynasty, established Bangkok as the capital in 1782. Bhumibol Adulyadej, the current King of Thailand, is also a Chakri Dynasty ruler. He is also known as Rama IX. He is the longest serving monarch in the Thai history.

95% of the Thai people are Buddhists of the Theravada tradition. 4.6% of the people are Muslims. Malays are mainly concentrated on the southern tip of Thailand. 0.75% of the people are Christians, mainly Catholics. Sikhs & Hindus are tiny, but influential. The nation also has a small Jewish community.

Thailand is also known as the "Land of white Elephant." White elephants were highly esteemed and valued by the Thai Rulers. Elephants are still highly revered in Thailand. They are considered as the symbol of peace and prosperity.

Thais do not like someone touching them on head. They believe that soul, which is considered extremely sacred, resides in head. So, don't ever touch a Thai on the head, not even a Thai child.

Thailand is the 49th country area wise, with its total land area of 514,000 km² (198,000 sq mi). It is comparable to the size of France, and it is somewhat larger than the California State of the United States.

Thailand has 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which include Ban Chiang Archaeological Site near Udon Thani, Dong Phayayen - Khao Yai Forest Complex, Historic City of Ayutthaya & Associated Historic Towns, Historic Town of Sukhothai & Associated Historic Towns - including Kampang Phet and Si Satchanalai, and Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries.

Author writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing listings for Hotels, Villas, Holiday villas in Thailand, and Holiday villas worldwide.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=James_Burrows