We’re visiting Thailand today! Guest poster Chrissy debates work-life balance at The Verdict.
When I was a child, most people would look at me quizzically when I said I was Thai, and say, “Thai – like from Taiwan?” I would have to explain that Thailand was a different country than Taiwan and that even though the countries’ names sounded similar, I was not Taiwanese. These days, nearly everyone knows about Thailand since it’s a top honeymoon and tourist destination and you can almost always find a Thai restaurant anywhere you go. If the most you’ve experienced about Thailand is the delicious food, then join me on this quick trip to learn a little bit more!
World Culture for Kids: A Virtual Visit to Thailand for Children
History of Thailand
Thailand was formerly known as Siam. It is also referred to as the Land of the Free. Thailand enjoys the status of being the only country in Southeast Asia to never have been colonized by another country.
It is a constitutional monarchy, which means a hereditary monarch (the king) is the head of state and a prime minister is the head of government. King Bhumipol Adulyadej is the King of Thailand and is the longest serving head of state in the world. His wife is Queen Sirikit – one of the highlights of my trip to Thailand last February was seeing the Queen wave to us from her car just a few feet away! Did you know: The King was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
People of Thailand
You may have heard Thailand referred to as the Land of Smiles. There are many reasons for this description, one of which is that most Thais live with the philosophy of mai pen rai, which basically means, “It’s okay” or “It’s alright.”
The majority of the population is Buddhist. Did you know: If you visit a wat, or Thai temple, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering the wat.
Language of Thailand
The official language of Thailand is Thai. Thai language has its roots in Pali and Sanskrit, which is why you might notice similarities between Thai words and words in the Indian or other Southeast Asian languages. It’s a tonal language, which means there are sometimes up to five meanings for one word, depending on how you pronounce it! For instance, the word khao can mean 1) rice or food; 2) the color white; 3) news; or 4) a fishy smell, all based on your inflection.
When Thai people greet one another, say goodbye, or thank each other, they often “wai” with their hands and say “Sawasdee” to one another. To wai, place your hands in front of your chest, with your elbows close to your body, and press them together. Did you know: When you greet a Thai person, it is polite to not only say, “Sawasdee” (sah-wah-dee), but if you are a girl, to say “Sawasdee kha” (sah-wah-dee kah), and if you are a boy, to say “Sawasdee khrap” (sah-wah-dee crup).
Flag of Thailand
The Thai flag has the same colors as the American flag: red, white, and blue.
ACTIVITY: You can print out the Thai flag here and color it in using markers or crayons.
Money of Thailand
Thai currency is the baht. It’s worth approximately 1/3 of the U.S. dollar, but it will go much further!
Food of Thailand
Rice and fish were the traditional main staples of the Thai diet back when Thailand was intersected with khlongs, or water canals, where people grew rice and fish swam freely.
In those days, floating markets – where women sold fruits, vegetables, and other fresh and prepared foods – were common. Today, floating markets are much less common, as many of those canals have turned into streets.
If you visit Thailand, you’ll find many fruits and vegetables you may not have tried before, like durian, jackfruit, starfruit, longan, and rambutan. Did you know: Durian is banned in many places because of its highly pungent odor.
Fun Facts about Thailand
- King Bhumibol Adulyadej invented and patented a rainmaking technology that increases cloud density and rainfall. He developed this cloud-seeding technique to create artificial rain in times of drought.
- Thailand is bordered by four countries: Myanmar (formerly Burma), Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia.
- Thailand is home to the world’s smallest mammal: Craseonycteris thonglongyai, also known as the bumblebee bat or the Kitti’s hog-nosed bat.
- Thailand is slightly larger than the State of Wyoming, but has a population of approximately 70 million people.
- Thailand is the world’s largest producer of tin.
I hope you all enjoyed reading along our little journey and thanks for having me here, MaryAnne!
Thank you so much for posting as part of this series, Chrissy! I learned a lot about Thailand, and I am particularly impressed by the artificial rain technique invented by King Bhumibol Adulyadej. I have heard from many people that Thailand is absolutely stunning, and I hope to visit someday!