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10 Things You Didn't Know About Thailand

Updated on February 12, 2014

When visiting a place for the first time, what you know may not be enough to get you anywhere.

You may come equipped the quintessential travel books. You may have booked the prerequisite city tours. But it’s no surprise that there are a lot of places not included in these tours. Places not listed on the books.

It’s these little known places and facts that give the place character and uniqueness.

And what you don’t know about the place can actually spell the difference between a regular out-of-the-country tour to something exotic and magical.

It’s the little known nooks and crannies that can be the most fun to go to, after all.

So while in Thailand, why not come in as the one tourist who knows what other people don’t. Here are 10 things about Thailand that may come as big surprises to you when you get there.

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10. Thailand is Packing Heat

If the men in Thailand aren’t happy to see you, take it seriously. When in Thailand, if it looks like a gun, it probably is one. So don’t trick yourself into thinking otherwise.

Many men in Thailand carry their guns around with them. But that doesn’t mean the streets are unsafe for tourists. It simply means that you need to mind your manners more.

Thai men take protection seriously and they’re not afraid to show you where you don’t belong. The law against banning weapons isn’t clear in the country. It’s very common to see young men with guns tucked behind their waists.

So be careful when you’re out and about at night. Make sure you give everyone a nice smile. Don’t go looking for trouble.

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9. Women are Vain

Thai women take vanity to a whole new level.

Women invest in cosmetic products more than they do on food. But it’s hardly uncommon.

Being a top tourist destination, many Thai women enjoy looking good for foreigners. See one with colorful braces? Don’t ask why. They’re mostly fake. They’re made to look real in order to attract favors from visitors.

It doesn’t hurt businesses to have a beautiful woman manning the stalls, does it?

And with cosmetics being a big industry in Thailand, don’t be surprised to see women dressed and made up to the nines all the time. Thai make-up is cheap and is said to be among the best beauty products in the world.

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8. Don’t mess with Buddha

Buddha is revered everywhere in Thailand. There’s always an event or two celebrating Buddha. Sometimes, it feels like every day is Buddha’s day.

You might get turned away from a tourist spot, don’t be too concerned. There’s always someone waiting to explain why. And if you haven’t been paying attention, it probably has something to do with Buddha.

The Palace in Bangkok is never really closed, unless it’s Buddha day.

If you haven’t gotten the point by now, it’s this. Thailand has some great places to see. But don’t argue with Buddha day. In case an establishment is close, just go get a tuk tuk and drive someplace else that’s open for visitors.

Not to worry, Thailand will have no shortage of those places.

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7. Don’t mess with the Monks

If you can’t mess up Buddha Day, then it goes without saying that you can’t mess with their monks either. That’s just a sacrilegious.

Monks are the men in dressed in orange who have the run of the place. They are revered here as well. Like the priests in churches, the people who become monks are treated with special favors. That’s because it’s not an easy process to become a monk in Thailand (or anywhere else for that matter). It’s considered a great honor if you have a monk as a family member.

So remember your simple courtesies, folks, and never make fun of the religious devotees.

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6. King is God and Not the Other Way Around

The members of Royal Family are the most famous celebrities in Thailand.

The King is worshipped by the people. There’s an obvious respect with which the people treat their King. So it’s a bad idea to make fun of any member of the Royal Family.

Even stepping on a Thai coin can be bad. Why? The reason is because it has the face of the King on it. That’s how much the royalty matters.

You can’t insist that the rules don’t apply to foreigners. But you’re in their territory and their laws are absolute. Don’t risk jail time for criticizing what the current King said or has done. Keep your thoughts about the Royal Family to yourself. Or, don’t judge at all!

5. Drive on the Left Side of the Road

If you enjoy driving to get to and from destinations in Thailand, it helps to know that they drive on the left side of the road.

Of course, it’s not uncommon for some cars to veer to the right side. Drivers here ignore road signs, traffic lights and traffic cops. Cars just speed up anytime and can come from anywhere. So when driving, be careful.

At the same time, when you’re a pedestrian, be extra careful as well. Car accidents are frequent in Thailand. And 80% of accidents are from motorcycles. You’d do quite well if you have both eyes alert when you cross on the road. And always look twice.

4. Taxi Rides Are Personal Encounters

There’s no boundary between you and the taxi driver in Thai taxis. So each ride is a personal encounter of some sorts.

The drivers don’t really know what personal space means. Some start talking to you about their lives. They also even ask you how your day has been.

They call Thailand the “Land of Friendship.” So don’t be a grump when talking to the locals. They’re just being very friendly. They’re also used to having a lot of foreigners around. So shy they won’t be.

Don’t be surprised, your personal taxi driver will probably ask where you’re staying. Then he’d show up at your hotel the next day to offer his services.

Don’t be paranoid. They’re mostly harmless. Their smiles are simply gestures of genuine happiness in meeting a tourist. So smile back. Smiles are free.

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3. Massage in a Different Light

Now this one you’ve probably heard before.

When in Thailand, take caution when asking for a “massage”. Massage parlors often mean “brothels”. Sex dens disguised as houses and karaoke shops are everywhere.

No massage parlor is merely a spa for the ladies to enjoy. They’re for the gentlemen with specific needs as well.

Prostitution is still illegal in Thailand, in case you’re wondering. But it might as well be legal. Most places overtly advertise “entertainment services”. Someone can simply approach you and pimp out a girl outright.

So when you talk to the locals, don’t use the word “massage” when you really want to spend your day at the spa. Legit spa places are basically attached to the big hotels and nowhere near the famous red light districts.

This doesn’t mean that the morals are loose in Thailand either. This is just an industry that is less regulated than most. They draw in more foreigners than their restaurants do. So if you have an industry that’s bringing in more dollars by the day, it’s easy to understand why the police can look the other way.

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2. Beautiful Wo-MEN

The women in Thailand are very pretty. They’re also everywhere. But not every woman you see is a woman since birth and of legal standing.

Transvestites are everywhere in Thailand and they flourish. They bring color to the place, absolutely. Thailand is known for cheap cosmetic surgery. And because of this, people around the world invest to get some kind of plastic surgery done. It’s a legal trade. And when the doctors are plenty, the patients wear their work loud and proud. Their most famous “lady-boy” was kick boxer.

In Thailand, the transvestites are called by the locals as “lady-boys”. They even have beauty queens dedicated for the third sex. There’s no room for bigotry in Thailand. They’re women represent all shapes, sizes and sexes too.

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1. The Alcohol is strong

Thai beer is strong. Wait, they’re really strong. In fact, at 6—7% alcohol content, Thai beer gets you in a party mood with a single bottle. For some people, that may not be nearly enough. But never underestimate the brute power of Thai beer. Why is this number one on the list? The after effects of Thai beer are what you need to make your way through the mirages. People aren’t what they seem to be. But if you want a good time, it’s easy to find one. You already know that the prices are low in Thailand. So when you’re here, party the night away without breaking the bank!

Thailand is known in Asia as the land of smiles. So, whatever your reasons for travelling to this exotic, wonderful country, always remember to be surprised at every turn. It may be enough to make you come back for more!


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    • srsddn profile image

      srsddn 3 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

      self-counsel, I am glad to learn about Thailand from you. Facts mentioned in this Hub may not be found in books. You have really depicted the inside story which every tourist needs to know to make visit to a country enjoyable. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and useful.

    • self-counsel profile image
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      self-counsel 3 years ago

      Hi srsddn!

      Thanks for your feedback. Thailand has beautiful people and rich cultural heritage. Tourists should look forward to seeing and discovering what the place could offer. Since Thailand have certain practices that are different from other other regions, tourists should be mindful of their behavior when visiting the place as well.

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