Introduction to Essential Facts about Thailand

Welcome to our Thailand facts page for visitors! Thailand is a wonderful Southeast Asian country famed for its gorgeous beaches, tasty food, and rich culture. Whether you’re planning a trip or simply interested about this interesting country, here are a few essential facts to know. So keep reading to discover more about the amazing Thailand and start organizing your vacation right away!

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Thai Cuisine - Pad Thai

Thai Cuisine

Thai cuisine is well-known for its rich tastes, a balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors, and use of fresh herbs and spices. Here are some popular Thai foods that you could experience while in Thailand:

  • Tom Yum Kung: A spicy and sour soup containing shrimp, mushrooms, lemongrass, galangal (a ginger-like root), and kaffir lime leaves. Fish sauce, chile paste, and lime juice flavor the soup.
  • Pad Thai: A stir-fried rice noodle dish containing tofu, egg, peanuts, and bean sprouts. It’s one of the most well-known Thai meals, commonly seasoned with fish sauce, tamarind paste, and chili flakes.
  • Green Curry: A paste of green chilies, lemongrass, garlic, and other herbs are blended with coconut milk and cooked with your choice of protein to make Green Curry. It’s normally served with steamed rice and is fairly spicy.
  • Massaman Curry: A rich and creamy curry cooked with coconut milk, peanuts, potatoes, and a variety of spices. It is often lighter than other Thai curries and is frequently prepared with beef or chicken.
  • Som Tum (Papaya Salad): This famous salad prepared with green papaya, chilies, garlic, peanuts, and fish sauce is a terrific way to savor the freshness of papaya, but beware of the spiciness!
  • Khao Pad (Fried Rice): Thai fried rice is a popular meal prepared with jasmine rice, egg, onions, different meats or shellfish, and occasionally pineapple.
  • Mango Sticky Rice: A popular treat prepared of sticky rice cooked in coconut milk and sugar. It’s then topped with fresh mango slices.

These are only a handful of the mouthwatering Thai dishes that may be enjoyed. Thai cuisine differs by area as well, therefore distinct cuisines may be found throughout the country. To experience the range of flavors and cuisines accessible when traveling, it’s a fantastic idea to explore several varieties of Thai cuisine.

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Languages in Thailand

The majority of the population speaks Thai, which is Thailand’s official language. Nevertheless, a variety of other languages are also used in the nation, depending on the community and the region.

  • Thai: The majority of the population speaks this language, which is Thailand’s official language. It is a tonal language, which means that the way words are spoken may alter their meaning.
  • English: English is commonly utilized as a common language between Thais and visitors and is widely spoken in tourist regions. Particularly in bigger cities and popular tourist destinations, many Thais in the service and commercial sectors speak at least a little English.
  • Chinese: Mandarin and Cantonese are commonly spoken in Thailand because of the country’s sizable Chinese-Thai population. Furthermore, a large number of Chinese visitors visit Thailand these days. As a result, a lot of hotels and stores can now communicate in Chinese.
  • Malay: The Malay language is extensively spoken in the southern provinces close to Malaysia’s border, where there is also a sizeable ethnic Malay community.
  • Other languages: Small populations of speakers of various languages, including Khmer, Mon, and Lao, can be found in some parts of Thailand.

It’s important to note that the majority of the media and education in the nation are in Thai. Even though many Thai people will have a basic grasp of English, it still helps to know a little Thai if you intend to visit the country. English is frequently spoken in large cities and commercial districts, but as you go outside of urban centers and popular tourist spots, you could hear less English.

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Languages in Thailand - A couple looking at a tourist map
Religions in Thailand - A woman pay respect to Buddha statues

Religions in Thailand

Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country, with the majority of its people practicing Theravada Buddhism. The country also has a sizable Muslim minority, as well as a lesser number of Christians, Hindus, and people of other faiths.

  • Buddhism: Buddhism is the most frequently practiced religion in Thailand, accounting for around 95% of the population. Theravada Buddhism is the primary form of Buddhism in Thailand, emphasizing personal spiritual development and achieving enlightenment via meditation.
  • Islam: Muslims make up around 5% of Thailand’s population and are concentrated in the southern regions along the Malaysian border.
  • Christianity: Christianity is practiced by a small proportion of Thailand’s population. There are Roman Catholics, Protestants, and other Christian denominations.
  • Hinduism: A tiny number of Thais, primarily in the south, practice Hinduism, as do some Thai-Chinese populations.
  • Other Religions: Other religions, such as Taoism, Confucianism, and Sikhism, are practiced by a limited number of individuals in Thailand.

Religious toleration is a guiding principle in Thai society, and several religious holidays and festivals are observed throughout the year. It is worth emphasizing that Buddhism is very significant in Thai culture, and many parts of daily life, such as the customary Thai greeting “Wai”, are influenced by Buddhist rituals and beliefs.

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Cultural Etiquette in Thailand

Thailand is well-known for its rich culture and traditions, and there are several customs and etiquette guidelines that tourists should be aware of in order to respect the local people and their way of life. When visiting Thailand, keep the following points in mind:

  • Be mindful of body languages: Touching someone on the head, pointing your feet at someone, or revealing the soles of your feet are all considered disrespectful in Thai society. Also, avoid touching others with your feet and pointing with your feet or fingers.
  • Be mindful of temple etiquette: It is necessary to dress modestly and remove your shoes before entering a temple. Inside the temple, visitors should likewise be quiet and reverent. It is considered rude to point your feet towards the altar while seated on the floor.
  • Take off the shoes: It is common to remove your shoes before entering a temple, residence, or some workplaces.

It’s crucial to note that these are broad principles, and customs may differ based on the location you’re visiting. By following some fundamental customs and etiquette, you may help guarantee that your trip to Thailand is enjoyable and courteous.

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Cultural Etiquette in Thailand - Alms offering

Taxes in Thailand

Thailand has a number of taxes that visitors should be aware of before visiting the country. Here are some of the most important taxes you should be aware of:

  • Value-added Tax (VAT): Thailand’s VAT rate is 7%. Most goods and services are subject to VAT, which is included in the amount you pay. VAT may not apply to some products and services, such as basic food and medical treatments.
  • Excise Tax: Excise tax is applied to some products such as cigarettes, alcohol, and luxury items. Cigarette taxes, for example, are among the highest in the world.
  • Service Charge and City Tax: Some hotels and restaurants have a 10% service charge, which is usually included in the bill. Some hotels additionally charge a city tax, to its hotel room price ranging between 50 and 200 Baht per night.
  • Import/Customs Duty: Visitors are permitted to bring in specific quantities of items without having to pay import duty. Custom duty is needed for some items, such as cigarettes, alcohol, and luxury goods.
  • Income Tax: Visitors to Thailand are normally exempt from income tax if their stay does not exceed 180 days. If you intend to work in Thailand, however, you may be liable to income tax.

If you have any questions or worries concerning taxes in Thailand, it is always a good idea to contact with a local tax expert. Remember that rules and regulations might change over time, so always double-check the most up-to-date information.

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Living Costs in Thailand

The cost of living in Thailand can vary greatly based on where you reside, your lifestyle, and your spending patterns. However, as compared to many Western nations, the cost of living in Thailand is quite modest.

  • Housing: Housing expenses in Thailand can vary greatly based on location and kind of housing. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost between 20,000 and 30,000 Baht ($660 and $990) per month, although a comparable apartment in a less costly location or outside the city center can cost as low as 10,000 Baht ($330) per month.
  • Food: Food prices in Thailand are typically inexpensive. A lunch from a local street seller or market can cost as low as 20 to 40 Baht ($0.66 to $1.32), but a meal in a mid-range restaurant can cost between 100 and 200 Baht ($3.30 to $6.60). Fresh fruits and vegetables are likewise reasonably priced, and local markets are excellent sources of fresh, high-quality products.
  • Transportation: The cost of public transportation in Thailand is quite affordable. A bus or rail ticket usually costs between 10 and 20 Baht ($0.33 and $0.66). Taxis and Tuk-Tuks are also reasonably priced, with short rides costing between 35 and 50 Baht ($1.16 to $1.65).
  • Utilities: In general, utility expenses in Thailand are fairly inexpensive. Electricity, water, and internet can cost between 2,000 and 3,000 Baht ($66 and $99) each month.

While living costs in Thailand might be comparatively affordable. It’s critical to remember that costs differ based on where you live, where you buy, and your lifestyle. Furthermore, the cost of living in popular tourist locations like Bangkok or Phuket may be greater than in other parts of the country.

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Living Costs in Thailand - King Rama IX Banknotes
Postal Services in Thailand - Post Box

Postal Services in Thailand

Thailand has a strong postal infrastructure that allows for the domestic and international delivery of mail and parcels. Here are some fundamental details about the postal services offered in Thailand:

  • Sending mail: Post offices, which are found in most towns and cities, are where mail may be sent. Most countries need 1-2 weeks to get international mail, and each country needs 1-2 days to receive local mail.
  • Sending parcels: You may send packages locally and internationally through the post office, as well as through courier services like DHL, FedEx, and UPS, which can provide quicker delivery and tracking options.
  • Postage costs: The amount you pay for postage will vary according to the size, weight, and final destination of the package. Online or in-person at the post office, you may check the postage price.
  • Postal codes: The five-digit postal code system used in Thailand is similar to that in the US. The province is indicated by the first two digits, the district by the next two digits, and the post office or zone itself by the last digit.
  • Tracking: You may keep tabs on the whereabouts of your mail and packages by visiting the post office, using the tracking number the post office provides, or utilizing one of the many courier services, like DHL, FedEx, and UPS.
  • Customs: Any overseas shipments must pass through customs clearance in the recipient nation. Ensure that the package’s contents are not restricted or forbidden, and include any relevant customs paperwork.

Although Thailand’s postal system is typically dependable, there may occasionally be delays, particularly for foreign mail during the busiest months. Additionally, using a courier service or purchasing insurance for any important or fragile items you’re mailing can help assure their safe arrival.

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Public Holidays in Thailand

Throughout the year, Thailand has several official public holidays. The government establishes these holidays, which are celebrated by both the public and private sectors. The following are some of Thailand’s important public holidays:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1st): New Year’s Day is a public holiday in Thailand, and it is celebrated in the same manner as in many other countries, with parties, fireworks, and other celebrations.

  • Chinese New Year (February or March): Chinese New Year is a public holiday in Thailand and is celebrated in Chinese communities around the country with parades, dragon dances, and other traditional Chinese celebrations.

  • Makha Bucha Day (February or March): Makha Bucha Day is a Buddhist celebration that remembers the day when 1,250 of the Buddha’s disciples came to meet him and listen to his teachings without previous preparation.

  • Songkran (April 13th-15th): Songkran is the Thai New Year and the year’s most important celebration. Water fights, parades, and other events mark the occasion.
  • Crowning Day (May 5th): Coronation Day is a national holiday in Thailand that honors the coronation of Thailand’s most respected monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
  • Vesak Day (May or June): Vesak Day, also known as Buddha Day, is a Buddhist celebration commemorating the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and death.
  • Asahna Bucha Day (July or August): This Buddhist celebration celebrates the day the Buddha first delivered his renowned “Wheel of Dhamma” teaching.
  • Chulalongkorn Day (October 23rd): Chulalongkorn Day honors the death of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), who is largely regarded as Siam’s modernizer.

  • Loy Krathong (November): Loy Krathong is a light festival in which people build miniature boats out of banana leaves and candles and float them in the water. Many of these boats are magnificent to view drifting through the rivers and canals in the evening.

  • The King Rama IX’s Birthday (December 5th): King’s Birthday is a public holiday in Thailand to commemorate King Rama IX’s birthday.

These are some of Thailand’s major public holidays, but there are numerous regional and religious holidays that may be observed. Nevertheless, certain private firms and institutions may observe different holidays than others.

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Public Holidays in Thailand - Loy Krathong Festival at Sukhothai Historical Park

Loy Krathong Festival at Sukhothai Historical Park in Sukhothai

Conclusion to Essential Facts about Thailand

To sum up, Thailand is a lovely and fascinating country with a deep cultural heritage. Visitors may anticipate encountering a vast range of traditions, religions, and delectable cuisines. It is an excellent location for visitors and expats since it has a well-developed infrastructure and a comparatively inexpensive cost of living.

Visitors must, however, be aware of the laws, customs, and etiquette of the country as well as the taxes and postal regulations. Visitors are encouraged to engage with the local culture and take on all the varied characteristics of the country, such as the breathtaking natural beauty, delectable cuisine, and the kind and hospitable locals.

A vacation to Thailand may be a wonderful experience with enough research and planning. Feel free to explore the following other sections on trip planning:

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