Thailand Fun Facts

  • 15 August 2007
  • USA

Thailand Fun Facts AKA: “Did you know?”
From Lonely Planet’s Bestselling Thailand

Record Levels (p.51)
Thailand has a penchant for Guinness World Records, including: man with longest hair, largest aerobics workout, largest mass scuba dive, biggest hamburger, and most linked skydivers

An Ox with Wings? (p. 56)
The energy boosting beverage Red Bull has its origins in Thailand and was originally called Krating Daeng, or Red Gaur (a type of ox).

Taking Robe and Bowl (p.59-60)
Every Thai male is expected to become a monk for a short period in his life, optimally between the time he finishes school and the time he starts a career or marries. Women who live the monastic life are largely outnumbered by males- by 46 to 1.  The first female ordination on Thai soil was in 2002.

Pop Pleasures (p.67)
Thongchai ‘Bird’ Macintyre (also known as Pi Bird) is a pop legend in Thailand with Madonna’s staying power. He has had an album almost every year since his first hit in 1986 and he fast-tracks into every emerging pop trend.

Next Napa? (p.79)
Thailand has a burgeoning wine industry centered around the cool hills of Khao Yai where chenin blanc grapes prosper.

Sweet Breads (p. 78)
Thais like bread to be sweet and air and it is often served toasted with sweetened condensed milk and served as a dessert.

Stick Etiquette (p.81)
Thais only use chopsticks to eat noodle soups or other dishes inherited from China. Most rice dishes are eaten with a fork and spoon and for certain northern Thai dishes, with fingers.

You’ll Never Forget (p.92)
There’s an estimated population of around 2000 wild elephants in Thailand.

A City By Any Other Name… (p. 104)
Bangkok’s official name contains 15 words and roughly translates to “Great City of Angels, Repository of Divine Gems, Great Land Unconquerable, Grand and Prominent Realm, Royal and Delightful Capital City Full of Nine Noble Gems, Highest Royal Dwelling and Grand Palace, Divine Shelter and Living Place of Reincarnated Spirits”

Chow On This!
Thai food is currently the pin-up model of international cuisine with outpost kitchens in almost every city and town across the globe. A culinary pilgrimage to the mother country will expand your appreciation of the cuisine’s versatility, simplicity and communal traditions. Food is everywhere in Thailand and you will quickly discover that eating is one of the country’s great preoccupations. The average Thai takes time out to eat, not three times per day, but four or five!

If you need to break out of the phàt thai rut, try these quintessential Thai dishes from vendor carts and day markets that don’t always register on the tourist radar:

  • náam phrík plaa thuu– chilli dip made with shrimp paste and served with steamed mackerel and parboiled vegetables; available at vendor carts
  • plaa dàet diaw– ‘once sunned fish’, a whole fish split down the middle, sundried for half a day, then deep-fried and served with a mango-peanut sauce; usually available from day markets as a takeaway dish
  • sangkahayaa fák thawng– creamy egg-and-palm-sugar custard baked inside a Thai pumpkin; usually available from day markets 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Lonely Planet Thailand 12th edition
By: China Williams, Aaron Anderson, Brett Atkinson, Tim Brewer, Becca Blond, Virginia Jealous, Lisa Steer
ISBN: 978-1-74104-307-5
820 pages
$26.99
Available at a bookstore near you or at www.lonelyplanet.com