Khao Sok 1

15 Weird & Wonderful Facts about Thailand

Jun 20, 2023 | Thailand

Most travellers already know that Thailand is home to incredible islands, fabulously fiery food and some of the friendliest people in the world. But did you know that Thailand has the longest capital city name in the world, that Thais believe in spirit worship or that it is home to a fish that walks? Here are just a few interesting, unusual and fun facts that will leave you in no doubt that Thailand is a country like no other!

Bangkok river

1. Bangkok’s real name is a bit of a mouthful…

Bangkok’s full ceremonial name is the longest place name in the world: Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit! This translates to ‘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’. Luckily this has been shortened to Krungthep!

2. Thai’s stand to attention twice a day…

Twice a day at 8am and 6pm the national anthem is blasted out on speakers in public places all over Thailand, such as skytrain stations, shopping malls and parks. Everyone stops walking and talking for several minutes and then life resumes as normal. The national anthem is also played in cinemas before the film starts so be prepared to stand up.

Bug snack

3. Bugs are nutritious snacks…

Crickets, grasshoppers, beetles and worms are popular snacks in Thailand. Fried in a wok with chillis and soy sauce on roadside stalls, these creepy crawlers are packed full of protein – we dare you to try them!


4. Its the land of the free…

Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that has never been colonized – an achievement that Thai’s are particularly proud about. The name for Thailand in the Thai language is Prather Thai, which translates to ‘land of the free’.

Phu Quoc Long Beach

5. The world’s oldest evergreen rainforest…

Khao Sok National Park is believed to be the oldest tropical evergreen rainforest in the world – a 160-million-year-old ecosystem that is even older than the Amazon Rainforest! Its huge limestone mountains, deep valleys, breathtaking lakes, exciting caves and wildlife-filled jungle make this a must-see destination in Thailand. 

6. The birthplace of Red Bull…

The popular energy drink was actually created in Thailand way back in 1976 by Chaleo Yoovidhya – although in those days it was known as Kratang Deang. In 1987, the taste was modified to better suit Westerners, however the original can still be bought in small glass bottles in 7-11s in Thailand.

Island Thailand

7. A land of Islands…

If you’ve been to Koh Phi Phi, Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Samet, you may think you’ve seen the majority of the Thai islands. Not so, as there are a staggering 1,400 of them!  

8. Home to the Siamese Twins..

The Siamese Twins really existed! In a nutshell – conjoined twins, Chang and Eng, were born in 1811 just outside Bangkok, travelled the world in shows as curiosities, married two different women, sired 21 children and died in 1874. 

9. And to Siamese Cats…

These elegant, blue-eyed felines originate from Thailand – or Siam, as it used to be known – and can be traced back to the 12th century.

Bangkok Klongs

8. Bangkok was once the ‘Venice of the East’…

In its early days, Bangkok was a city built on stilts above canals or khlongs. While most of the waterways have since been built over, the remaining klongs offer a glimpse into a traditional way of life.

9. These fins are made for walking…

The kingdom is also home to a fish that can walk on land! Endemic to Thailand, Cryptotora thamicola, also known as the ‘waterfall climbing cavefish’ can grapple onto terrain and climb using its fins. These tiny blind fish can be found living in water in caves in Mae Hong Sorn province.


10. One of the biggest markets in Asia…

Covering over 35 acres, the shoppers paradise known as Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok is one of the biggest in Asia with over 15,000 stalls selling all manner of clothes, jewellery, antiques, art, snacks, electronics – even pets.

11. Spirites rule…

Miniature shrines can often be seen outside houses and buildings throughout Thailand. These dolls-house-like structures are homes for spirits or ‘phi’ who were there before humans moved in. Daily offerings of incense, flowers and food are placed in the houses to appease the spirits – who could become mischievous otherwise.


10. No durian allowed…

Thailand’s durian fruit has a pungent smell that has been likened to rotten onion and even raw sewage. It is so malodorous that it has been banned from hotels, trains and public places. If you can get past the excessive odour, the taste has been likened to sweet custard and is a popular ingredient in many Thai desserts. But be warned if you do – as the late chef Anthony Bourdain said: “Your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother.”

11. It’s all about the pants…

And finally, just in case you were contemplating this – some say that is actually illegal to leave your house without underwear on. We’re not sure if it’s correct – but best be on the safe side.

Our Hotels & DMCs in Thailand

ICS Thailand
Rembrandt Hotel & Suites Bangkok
137 Pillars Bangkok
Paresa Resort Phuket
The Slate Phuket
The Nai Harn Phuket
Pimalai Resort & Spa Koh Lanta
137 Pillars House Chiang Mai
Villa Mahabhirom Chiang Mai
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