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10 Things You Never Knew About Thailand

by Travelbag on 26 November 2018, 10:11AM

Koh Phangan Thailand

When thinking about holidays to Thailand, the country’s sweeping beaches, flavour-filled food and tropical sunshine immediately spring to mind. But there’s so much more to this Southeast Asian gem. We’ve rounded up some fascinating facts and figures about Thailand to give you a taste of how vast and diverse this place really is. We’ve tried to avoid the obvious – like the fact that Thailand’s national animal is an elephant – and have gathered some pretty weird and wonderful stats. So, without further ado, here are 10 things you never knew about Thailand.


1. Thailand has more than 1,400 islands, ranging from snorkelling havens to party hotspots. Not sure where to start? Popular Phuket is an all-rounder with top resorts, bustling towns and sandy swathes, while Koh Samui offers fantastic diving. But if you’re looking for peace-and-quiet beaches, retreat to tranquil Koh Lanta.


2. ‘The Land of Smiles’ is home to a tenth of the world’s bird species – that’s more than Europe and the USA combined.


3. It might surprise you to know that the official name of Bangkok is much longer. Made up of 169 letters, the capital’s full Thai name translates as ‘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’. Try saying that five times faster.

Sunset in Bangkok

4. Thailand has both the biggest and smallest animals on the planet. You’ll find the thumbnail-sized bumblebee bat in riverside caves, and the 10-metre-long whale shark swimming off the Similan Islands.


5. Despite having a land border that’s 4,863 kilometres long, Thailand only shares boundaries with four other countries: Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos and Myanmar. Seeing more than one country is easy with our tours. You can combine Thailand and Cambodia, or visit Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in one 30-day trip.


6. Thailand is a Hollywood star, having been used as the backdrop of several blockbusters. Big names include ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’, ‘Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason’ and ‘The Hangover: Part Two’. But perhaps the most famous of all is ‘The Beach’ – this cult classic catapulted the Phi Phi Islands to fame. Maya Bay became so popular, in fact, that it’s since been closed to allow the beach and corals to recover. If you were desperate to go, check out the best beaches to visit instead of Maya Bay.

Maya Bay Thailand

7. Welcoming more than 20 million international tourists in 2017, Bangkok is the most-visited city on Earth – beating the likes of London, Dubai and New York.


8. It's thought that 74 languages are spoken in Thailand, with Thai being the most common tongue. If you want to say ‘hello’ in Thai, you should say ‘sah-wah-dee-khrap’ if you’re a man, while women should pronounce it like ‘sah-wah-dee-kah’. You might not pronounce it perfectly, but your efforts will be appreciated by the locals.


9. Bangkok holds the title for being the hottest city on the planet, thanks to its year-round thirty-plus temperatures. And it gets even warmer between March and June.


10. This country may look reasonably small on a map, but don’t be fooled. Thailand covers an area of 513,120 square kilometres. That’s more than double the UK, and the equivalent of 63 million football pitches. That two week holiday suddenly doesn’t seem long enough, does it?


If you’re thinking about planning a tropical trip, find out what the food’s like in Thailand or get inspired by our holidays to Thailand.

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