18 facts you didn't know about Thailand

written by Lottie Gross
updated 11/4/2019
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Sixteen million tourists fly into Thailand each year, and despite the influx of visitors, this country's cultural integrity remains relatively intact. From the idyllic islands to the bustling cities, there are 77 provinces housing 63 million people across mountains – so if you're thinking about visiting, why not clue up on a few of these interesting facts about Thailand:

1. Thailand was actually known as Siam until 1939 (and again from 1945 to 1949).

2. Siamese cats are native to Thailand.

3. In Thailand, it is illegal to leave your house without underwear on.

© Igor Bukhlin/Shutterstock

5. Thailand is the world's largest exporter of rice.

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6. Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, much like England.

7. Thai brothers Eng & Chang Bunker inspired the term "Siamese twins" and were joined at the chest. They died in 1873.

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8. Bangkok's real name: Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.

© Cyrsiam/Shutterstock

10. Around ninety per cent of Thai people are Buddhist.

11. Muay Thai boxing, Thailand's national sport, is known as "the art of eight limbs".

12. It is illegal to step on any Thai currency.

© Huw Penson/Shutterstock

14. Thais must always keep their head lower than that of anyone older or more important than them.

15. It is illegal to drive shirtless in Thailand.

16. Thailand was voted the world's fifth friendliest country by Rough Guides readers.

17. A Thai woman lived for 33 days & nights in a glass room full of scorpions, setting a new world record.

© Thanakornbb/Shutterstock

Top image © saravutpics/Shutterstock

Explore more of Thailand using the Rough Guide to Thailand, or see the entire region with the Rough Guide to Southeast Asia on a Budget.

Book hostels for your trip and don't forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

Travel advice for Thailand

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written by Lottie Gross
created 1/29/2014
updated 11/4/2019
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