Seeing monks in their orange gowns and shaved-off heads is ubiquitous in the streets of Thailand. According to the Thai tradition, when a male turns 20, he should enter a monastery for a certain time and study the teachings of Buddha. The time spent in the monastery can be just a few days and reach up to a year or more.
Anyone who wishes can become a monk, however, the sooner, the better, especially before settling down and having a family. Those who succeed in practicing this tradition are thought to earn respect for this great religious practice and the gift of touching the spiritual world.
The European countries have ruled most of the world. France ruled most parts of Africa, the Italian Romans had their share of imperialism, and Great Britain ruled huge chunks of the world until 70 years ago. Thailand is the only Asian country that has never been under any other European country.
The people of Thailand are no fools. They are proud of their culture, their food (we are proud of it, too, and will never say no to a satisfying and spicy Pad Thai), and the fact that they have managed to preserve their identity, unlike neighboring Vietnam or Laos.
Float on a Market
The floating markets in Thailand are a landmark to visit. In Thai, they are translated into 'water markets,' which mainly support tourism, however, things were not always like this. Many years ago, the canals in Thailand were the primary transportation path and, to this day, hold a historical significance.
Most of the trade was held on these water streams, and the magical riverside shopping experience has preserved its uniqueness until today. Most of the traders inherited their floating market stalls from their ancestors. However, today, they operate them for entirely different reasons. It is not about the goods they have to offer, but more about the concept.
The Land of Many Languages
French is spoken in France, Spanish is spoken in Spain, Italian is spoken in Italy, and Thai is spoken in Thailand. But it doesn't end there. Besides Thai, many other languages are spoken in Thailand, and it all depends on which region you visit.
Each area or province has its local vocabulary, way of pronouncing and phrasing. Lao, Chinese, Malay, and Khmer are spoken here, as are Akha and Karen. So, next time you visit Thailand, don't be surprised if not everyone understands the few words you manage to pick up or if you don't comprehend what is spoken to you after spending so many hours in Thai lessons.
The Holy Elephant
In the rich days of Thai history, elephants were mainly associated with royalty. The beautiful animal symbolized strength and power. They had a key role in the country's economy and were the main factor in transportation and forestry. The welfare of the elephants has become a big concern for the Thai people, especially in the tourist industry that has developed over the years.
The awareness of protecting and caring for this precious animal has escalated tremendously, however, the numbers are showing no success. In 1990, there were more than 100,000 elephants in Thailand, and today, there are only 4,000 that are captive and a little over 3,700 in the wild.