In Thailand, a smile is much more than a smile… This may raise new questions - like what more does a smile represent in Thailand? – to the already existing ones: why is Thailand called the land of smiles? Why should I visit Thailand? All these questions and more are answered in this article and we at Kahera Luxury are here to help you get all the information you need.
Historically known as Siam (from the word Śyāma, which means dark or brown, in reference to the skin color of the native people), the Kingdom of Thailand as it is officially known, is a country located in the centre of mainland Southeast Asia. Bordered to the north by Myanmar 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 Myanmar, Thailand spans 513,120 square kilometers (198,120 square miles), with a population of almost 70 million (the 11th most populated Asian country according to Worldometer, 2022). The country has its largest city, Bangkok as its capital. Thai is the official language of the Thai people, but a major portion of the population are also fluent in Isan, Kam, Mueang, Pak Tai, Malay and English. The pie chart below gives a quick overview of the distribution of her ethnic groups.
Thailand offers a divers ecosystems that encompasses the hilly forested areas of the northern frontier, the fertile rice fields of the central plains, the broad plateau of the northeast, and the rugged coasts along the narrow southern peninsula.
About 94% of the people practice Buddhism with Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism being the other religions. A small sect identifies with no religion. The country runs a unitary parliamentary monarchy system of government and has Prayut Chan-o-cha as her prime minister.
As at 2022, Thailand has a nominal GDP of $8,356 per capital and uses Baht as its official currency.
EXPERIENCE THE LAND OF SMILES
Smiling makes you more attractive to others and the smile is more contagious than the flu. Asians including Thais are known for their longevity and smiling is known to boost the immune system and relieve stress. Imagine visiting a location and having the ability to increase your life by just sharing smiles, which cost nothing, with others (wink). There are 13 different smiles a Thai person can use and they are highlighted as follow with their specific meanings:
Yim thang nam taa: The “I’m so happy I’m crying” smile.
Yim thak thaai: The “polite” smile for someone you barely know.
Yim cheun chom: The “I admire you” or “I’m proud of you” smile.
Fuen Yim: The stiff smile, also known as the “I should laugh at the joke even though it’s not funny” smile.
Yim mee lessanai: The smile which masks something wicked, such as bad intent.
Yim yaw: The teasing, or “I told you so” smile.
Yim yae-yae: The “I know things look pretty bad but there’s no point in crying over spilt milk” smile.
Yim sao: The sad smile.
Yim haeng: The dry smile, also known as the “I know I owe you the money, but I don’t have it” smile.
Yim thak thaan: The “I disagree with you” smile, also known as the “You can go ahead and propose it but your idea’s no good” smile.
Yim cheuad-cheuan: The “I am the winner” smile; a smile given to a losing competitor.
Yim soo: The “smiling in the face of an impossible struggle” smile.
Yim mai awk: The “I’m trying to smile, but can’t” smile.
Thai cuisine which is the country’s national cuisine places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components and a spicy edge like:
Pla Kapung Neung Manao (Steamed lime fish).
Mango Sticky Rice.
Hor Mok Ma Prow Awn (seafood coconut curry).
Kao Ka Moo.
There are over 2,000 miles of coastline and 8,000 islands with many have luxurious white sand, endearing warm water and beautiful scenery that travelers can choose from. A few are:
Railay Beach, Krabi.
Phra Nang Beach, Krabi.
Mai Khao Beach, Phuket.
Kantiang Beach, Koh Lanta.
Chaweng Beach, Koh Samui.
There are over 40,000 temples in Thailand. Most are active while others are in ruins – as is the case of the many structures still standing in the historical parks of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai.
As a Buddhist country, it's no surprise that the bulk of wats in the country are Buddhist sanctuaries, although Hinduism and other religions are also well-represented with colorful temples.
White Temple, Chiang Rai
Wat Arun, Bangkok
Wat Pho, Bangkok
Blue Temple, Chiang Rai
Sanctuary of Truth, Pattaya Kao Ka Moo.
Thailand has a very rich history of centuries old royalties. During the reign of the Chakri dynasty, so many palaces were built around the country.
Chitralada Palace, Bangkok.
Bang Pa-in Palace, Ayutthaya.
Bhubing Palace, Chiang-mai.
Grand Palace, Bangkok.
Mrigadayavan Palace, Hua-hin.
Thailand is brimming with opportunities for exploration, excitement and exploits. There are many fun activities to partake in such as:
Caving Mrigadayavan Palace, Hua-hin.
Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destination and the reason is not just its scenic beauty, beaches, water-sports, food and temples. There are several festivals celebrated in Thailand that you must attend if you are a culture-traveler.
Chinese New Year (Bangkok – January or February).
Water Festival (Songkran) (Everywhere – April).
Ghost Festival (Phi Ta Khon) (Dan Sai, Loei Province – June or July).
Rocket Festival (Boon Bang Fai) (Yasothorn Province – June or July).
Candle Festival (Ubon Ratchathani – July).
Buffalo Racing Festival (Wing Kwai) (Chonburi – October).
Vegetarian Festival (Phuket – October).
Lantern Festival (Chiang Mai – November).
Lopburi Monkey Banquet (Lopburi – November).
Wonderfruit Music and Arts Festival (Pattaya – December).
HOTELS & ROMANTIC GETAWAYS
Amara Bangkok Hotel - SHA Extra Plus.
Andamantra Resort and Villa Phuket - SHA Extra Plus.
Bangkok Saran Poshtel.
Pathumwan Princess Hotel - SHA Extra Plus Certified.
Ruean Thai Hotel.
There are so many hotels and romantic getaways depending on your taste and budgets.
THE SONGKRAN FESTIVAL
The Songkran festival is the traditional Thai New Year's Day celebrated from April 13th to April 15th. It is a celebration that embraces goodwill, love, compassion, and thankfulness, using water as the means of expression. Songkran is the epitome of fun. In a nutshell: vast quantities of water are stored in whatever vessels take your fancy (squirt guns, buckets and water balloons are all acceptable), before being used to saturate your nearest and dearest.
Tracing its history, the word Songkran is from the Sanskrit language and means the passage of the sun from one sign of the Zodiac to another. That means there are twelve Songkrans each year, but the significance of this Songkran (sometimes called Major Songkran is to distinguish it from the others) is when the sun enters the sign of Aries the Ram. The particular event was also closely related to the Vernal Equinox. Celebrating New Year at the time of the Vernal Equinox was very common in the past.
The Importance of Songkran Festival
Songkran is regarded as one of the most important traditions in Thailand because it encompasses the three major values in the Thai way of life which are:
Value of family: Songkran is the time when family members come together to show appreciation, love and respect as well as making merit and paying homage to their ancestors.
Value of society: Through active participation and interaction with each other, Songkran brings the people in the community together to enhance goodwill and unity in the society.
Value of religion: Making merit by offering food to monks. Going to the temples and attending Buddhist sermons are auspicious activities done during Songkran.
WHAT ELSE YOU CAN DO IN APRIL?
Cool off on the islands and beaches in the south. Dive off Ko Tao, climb in Krabi, kayak around Phuket or hang in a hammock wherever you like. The parties and attractions are numerous to keep you smiling all day!
Ready to start your adventures in Thailand? Why not speak to one of our specialists! Here at Kahera, we want to make your travel experience the very best from start to finish. Click here to get started!