By Calla Totaro
The country of Thailand is found in South East Asia; it is known for its food, beaches, temples, and people. Its capital is Bangkok, a very big and polluted city. The currency is 30 baht to the dollar. It’s very cheap there, which explains why we got so many souvenirs while we were there. The government is a constitutional monarchy; which is a type of government where they have a king, but he doesn’t make his own laws he has to use the laws written in the constitution. The King’s name is King Phumiphon Aduynadet. The main religion is Buddhism, so there are a lot of beautiful Buddhist temples everywhere you go. Although most of the country is Buddhist, there are some populations of Muslims in the south of Thailand. The total population in Thailand is 67,448,120 based on the July 2013 census. The main language is Thai, although if you are in a more touristy part of Thailand, some local people can speak English. The time difference is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Time in the United States.
The Thai kingdom was founded in the mid-14th century. It was called Siam until 1939. Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European country. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. In alliance with Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US treaty ally in 1954 after sending troops to Korea and later fighting alongside the United States in Vietnam.
A lot of tourists choose to go to Thai islands; though we did not go to any of the big tourist islands like Phuket and Koh Phi-Phi, they did sound nice. Krabi Town is supposed to be a nice small city, although we didn’t explore very much in Krabi. We went to the night market there, but it is known for its seaside cliffs and its harbor, where most people get on the big boats to go to the islands.
Another travel destination is Bangkok, of course, the capital city. Bangkok is a very big city and most things are spread apart, which is why there are taxis EVERYWHERE! There are many shopping malls, and some can be very cool. We went to one with an art gallery inside! More destinations are Chiang Mai, Ayutthaya, and Sukhothai, which are known for their massive or just extremely decorated Buddhist temples.
There are some customs to be aware of before you go to Thailand. Never point your feet at people because it is a sign of disrespect, kind of like flipping your finger. Always smile and be nice and try not to get mad or aggressive. Treat the monks with a lot of respect, as you would if meeting the king. Always take off your shoes when entering a temple, someone’s home, or even some shops. Never disrespect the Buddha, the Royal Family, or the King.
When you go to Thailand try to learn a few basic phrases like hello: sa wa dee ka or sa wa dee khap ,(ka at the end of your sentence is you are a woman, and khap at the end if you are a man). Thank you in Thai is: kop khun ka/khap. Thai people appreciate you trying to speak their language!
Thailand was probably one of my favorite countries because the people are so nice (Thailand is nicknamed the Land of Smiles just for that reason!). Everywhere we went was so beautiful, and yet so different! I have to say that even though we didn’t go to the islands most tourists go to, the islands we went to – Koh Jum and Koh Lanta – were lots of fun! It was good that they were not totally touristy, you saw locals everywhere and the beaches were very nice and not completely crowded. The food was delicious, whether served spicy, Thai spicy, or not spicy. I recommend trying pad Thai, Penang curry, tom yum, and anything stir fried! The temples all around are really beautiful and each one is so different in their own ways! Definitely go and see some! My overall rating of Thailand is 1,000,000 out of 10 😛
Calla and her family visited Thailand midway through an 11 month trip around the world.