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Thailand is a country that is really easy to travel. The locals are very friendly, helpful and polite. To also act politely throughout our Thailand visit – what we obviously want to do – we put together 11 facts to prevent you from dropping a brick.

Useful facts for your first trip to Thailand

The religious faith and the culture are very important in Thailand and yes, the locals will forgive you one or another mistake. But wouldn’t it be nicer to always face the locals and their culture with the proper respect? It will definitely conjure a smile on their faces! So here they are – our 11 facts:


How to get to Thailand


1. The national anthem

At 8.00 A.M. and 6.00 P.M. the national anthem of Thailand is played in many places on speakers, in the radio or TV. The people normally drop everything and stand up, if they are not standing anyway.

For some minutes the country stands still and listens to the national anthem to pay respect for Thailand and the King. As soon as the anthem is over, everyone continues with what they did before – just like nothing happened.

6 P.M. in Chiang Mai - everyone is standing up to show respect to the King
6 P.M. in Chiang Mai – everyone is standing up to show respect to the King!

2. Offense against the Majesty

The people of Thailand admire their acutal and former king and have the deepest respect for him. You can see the former King on every banknote and almost everywhere you can see pictures of him, too.

Basically, in every Thai home and in many public places. You should not talk badly about the King as well as the Royal Family and never step on the money, as you would step on his face with this. In the worst case scenario you could go to jail for this offense.

3. Rainy season in Thailand

Many people on the web are asking if you can visit Thailand during the rainy season. My answer is always: Yes! Rainy season doesn’t mean that it rains all day long, it only rains sometimes.

If it’s raining then most certainly really heavy, but about an hour later the sun will shine again. Besides that, the hotels are cheaper during the rainy season because it’s not high season anymore.

4. Days and colors

In Thailand specific days are associated with colors and many Thais are aware of that. Often you can see Thai people wearing shirts in the color of the day. Following days are associated with following colors:

  • Monday = Yellow
  • Tuesday = Pink
  • Wednesday = Green
  • Thursday = Orange
  • Friday = Blue
  • Saturday = Purple
  • Sunday = Red

5. The name of the city of Bangkok

The Thai capital has officially the longest name in the world with 168 letters! The full name is: “Krung Thep Maha Nakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udom Ratchaniwet Maha Sathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit”.

Thai people barely use the name Bangkok, unless they are talking to a Farang (the Thai word for a foreigner). If Thais are talking about Bangkok, they usually use the name Krung Thep or Krung Thep Maha Nakhon.

If you translate the Thai name according to Wikipedia, it means something like:

„City of angels, great city of immortals, magnificent city of the nine gems, seat of the king, city of royal palaces, home of gods incarnate, erected by Visvakarman at Indra’s behest“.

View from the Baiyoke Sky Tower over Bangkok, Thailand
View from the Baiyoke Sky Tower over Bangkok – amazing!

6. Bangkok is the hottest city in the world

In general, Bangkok is referred to as the warmest or rather hottest city of the world. The Thai capital has an average yearly temperature of more than 28 degrees Celsius. A few years ago the World Meteorological Organization declared Bangkok to the hottest city in the world. Even at night the temperature doesn’t decrease too much and it will never be really cold in Bangkok.

7. The head is sacred

According to general statements, the head is the most sacred part of the body and therefore you can’t touch a Thai person’s head. At least the younger ones can’t touch the head of the older ones. The other way around it’s not so bad anymore, according to some Thai friends of mine.

They also said that this rule is not so important to the younger generation anymore. Nevertheless, I would definitely recommend you not to touch a child’s head, because this could still be considered as an offense. So remember: hands off the Thai people’s head so you won’t get into any trouble of impoliteness.

8. Feet are dirty

On the contrary to the head – which is sacred and on the top of the body – the feet – which are the lowest part of the body – are dirty. Care has to be taken about not pointing your feet at or towards other people. Thai people think that this is very rude.

Especially never at monks, Buddha images, temples or pictures of the Royal Family. Even when the Thais sit on the floor, they adjust their feet to a position where they can’t point their feet at someone else.

9. Buddhism and the belief in ghosts

95 % of the Thai inhabitants are Buddhists and most of them regularly go to a temple to pray. There is a special rule for women – they can never touch a monk!

Besides the Buddhism, it’s common to believe in ghosts and in front of many private homes, hotels or buildings in general you can see some small ghost houses. For example, if someone wants to build a new house, he needs to build a small one for the ghost first before he can even start to build his own. It’s because the Thai people believe that every property is haunted by a ghost. First a monk needs to calm the ghost down and relocate it to its new home.

If someone starts to build the house before the relocation is done, there will be a bad omen on that property. The belief in ghosts is a huge topic itself and has actually nothing to do with the Buddhism itself. In Thailand these two beliefs have somehow a really tight connection and for many Thai people they are one.

A small ghost house at a hotel in Ao Nang, Thailand
One of the common ghost houses in Thailand

10. Father’s Day and Mother’s Day

Father’s and Mother’s Day are not celebrated on the same weekday each year as we do in many western countries. The Father’s Day is always celebrated on the former King’s birthday, the 5th of December. Hence, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the Queen’s birthday, 12th of August.

So these days are not only the birthday of the King and the Queen, they are also Father’s and Mother’s Day and according to this they are celebrated with the proper respect.

11. The Thai New Year

In modern times the new year is celebrated from the 31st of December until the 1st of January like in most countries of the world. However, the traditional Thai New Year is celebrated on another day. According to the Thai lunar calendar, the festival takes place between the 13th and 15th of April. The celebration already starts around 10th of April.

Songkran, which is the name of the Thai New Year, is often referred to as the Water Festival. During the days before the actual new year and the days after you can everywhere see children along the streets playing with buckets full of water and water guns. Everyone who passes them will eventually get wet! Actually, you will spend the whole day being wet.

If your trip to Thailand is during that festival, your best bet would be to carry a water gun yourself, shoot back and just have a lot of fun! For the Thai people these days are not only fun and water, but rather going to the temples and pray for good luck for the new year.

Did we miss some important facts which we need to mention? How much do you think about the cultural background of Thailand or do you even bother? Let us know in the comments, we are really looking forward to reading your opinions!

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Tobi

Hi, I'm Tobi, a passionate travel blogger and freelancer in translations and copy writing. Mostly I travel around Southeast Asia and work remotely from different locations. If you want to know where I am or what I'm doing, just follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.