The first Thailand flag was created during the reign of King Rama II. This flag was chosen with the lucky symbol of a white elephant. The present Thailand flag, the Trai Rong or three colours was designed by King Rama VI. It was first used around 1920. The five horizontal stripes of three colours (red, white and blue) have meaning. Red is the colour of blood and represents life to the Thai people.
White symbolises the purity of the national religion, Buddhism. And blue signifies the and the monarchy and the important role it plays in the daily lives of Thai people. The flag is raised daily at all official buildings in Thailand. Large private enterprises and schools usually raise the flag at 8am to the accompaniment of the Thai national anthem. The Thailand flag is also flown nationwide on national holidays.
Symbolism plays a major role in Thai life and culture, some of the main aspects of these symbols can be read about below.
Sawadi, meaning hello or goodbye, is likely to be the first Thai word you pick up during your travels to Thailand. Ladies add a ka to the greeting, pronounced with a soft and lingering tone to express their femininty. Men add krab, spoken with a deep and resonant tone to emphasise their masculinity. Thai people do not say good morning, good evening or good night. They greet each other with a wai, which is a prayer-like gesture with palms raised. It is customary for the younger or lower in status to begin the greeting. There are various levels of wai: the deeper the wai the more respect is conveyed. When Thais wai to a monk they will completely prostrate themselves. Click through to read more about Thai culture or the Thai language.
The stupa, or chedi, is an essential element of Buddhist architecture. It is a monument erected to house a Buddha relic and the golden pointed silhouettes can be seen all over Thailand.
Muay Thai boxing is a national sport of Thailand in which competitors may strike each other with knees and elbows as well as kicks and punches. It is a spectacular and devastating martial art demonstrating many aspects of Thai culture. It is followed by many as football is in Europe. A Muay Thai fight night is a show where the audience of gamblers is almost as much of a spectacle as the fighters themselves. If you want to learn Thai boxing or see a Muay Thai fight night during your vacation in Thailand you can do so at Horizon Thai Boxing Camp.
Thailand is a land of plenty. Colourful, fragrant and sweet! Mother nature has provided Thailand with an astonishing array of tempting fruits.
Orchids are the beautiful floral symbol of Thailand. The wonderfully varied, colourful flowers can be seen everywhere in gardens, in the jungle and national parks.
These triangle-shaped cushions (or axe cushions), made of thick cotton and tinted with indigo, are a distinctive feature of Thai lifestyle. They are used to lean on while seated on the ground or at a low table. They are popular souvineer items. More sophisticated versions include a thin folding mattress attached to the cushion.
Three-wheeled tuk tuks buzz around Bangkok city on two stroke engines. A ubiquitous means of Thai transportation one is always around if you need one. A trip in a tuk tuk can be exhilarating but the traffic fumes in Bangkok can be overwhelming.
The wall ghecko (tuk ke) or house lizard (ching chok ) can be found everywhere in Thailand. People from north Thailand can eat tuk ke but nobody eats ching chok. They appear at night time and make a shrill sound. If their tail is cut, it will grow again. Whatever you do, they will always find a way to enter inside the home. It is bad luck if a ching chok or tuk ke falls on you.
Thai silk is considered to be the best in the world and the fabric is a good buy in Thailand. The course weave and soft texture of Thai silk makes it more easily dyed than harder, smoother silks, resulting in brighter colours and a unique lustre. Silk is best purchased in the north of Thailand or Bangok. Chinese silk is available at about half the cost.
Teak is a tall, sturdy, evergreen tree indigenous to the tropical climate of SE Asia. Teak wood has been a favourite among shipbuilders in centuries past for its durability. It is a tight-grained hardwood with a high oil content making it impervious to the salty wind and water, withering sunlight, and lashing rains of the sea (or even the wildness of your own backyard!) Teak weathers gracefully, maturing to an elegant, silvery grey over time.
The national symbol of Thailand and royal symbol is the Garuda, a mythical half bird, half human figure (steed of the Hindu god Vishnu) that adorns HM King Aduladej Bhumibol's sceptor and royal standard.
Thai fisherman pants are lightweight cotton trousers made very wide in the waist. The extra material is wrapped around the waist and tied to form a belt. They are used by fishermen in Thailand, but have also become popular with backpackers, pregnant women and hippy stoners. The Thais call them kang keng ley. Kang keng is the Thai word for trousers, ley is a short form of the word for sea.
This internationally known energy drink originated in Thailand. The drink remains massively popular here. But watch out! The stuff on sale here is super charged compared to what you get back home.
Street food is available in towns and villages all over Thailand. Thai food quality is generally very high and it can all be considered safe to eat. If you see lots of Thai people enjoying the food you can be sure its a good buy. In every corner of the country any gathering of people such as a concert, party or football match will spark the appearance of a mobile market selling all kinds of fresh culinary delights. You never need to saty hungry, wherever you are. remember to say ' Mai Pet' if you can't handle spicy!