Get to Know Thailand

Get to Know Thailand

Profile name: LandofSmiles

My details:

Birthday:  December 5

I speak: Thai

Religious affiliation: Buddhism

Ethnicity: Thai 95.9%, Burmese 2%, other 1.3%, unspecified 0.9% (2010 est.)

Relationship Status:  Constitutional monarchy – King

Hometown: Bangkok

Number of fb friends:  67,976, 405

Does size really matter?   513,120 sq km (slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming)

I drive on the:  Left

If we go dutch, I’m paying in: Thai Baht

A Brief Summary of What I’m all about:

“All the women, who independent, throw ya hands up at me.” Destiny’s Child totally gets me. It is a point of pride to say that I am the only one of my fellow peeps in this part of the world that hasn’t been colonized. Competent leadership over four centuries was able to capitalize on the beefs between France and Britain and ensured that I remained a “buffer state.”

In 1932 a bloodless revolution led to a change in my relationship status. I went from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy and in 1939 I decided I needed something different- so I changed my name from Siam to Thailand.

You know how December 7, 1941 is “a date which will live in infamy”? Well, the next day I was attacked by the Japs who were demanding to move troops freely through the country down to my southern neighbor Malaysia. Lasted like eight hours before I said- “ok dude. You win.” A month later I had to be like, “Um, US- we’re like totally in a fight.”  Outwardly I was aiding the Japs but meanwhile there was an active underground movement better known as the “Free Thai Movement” that worked against the Japanese in Thailand. In later years the US and I made up and I went on help out in Korea and Vietnam.

More recently there has been a looootttt of dramz in my life. It has been a constant state of major political crisis- complete with two coups in the last ten years (the last one being in 2014), vote buying being a huge problem in elections and all around abuse of power.

I wish I could tell you a little more about my beloved king! But that’ll be a little bit later down the road.

 The first things people usually notice about me….

I’m quite well known for my Southern region…. Obviously by that I mean island life. Pristine beaches and endless islands make for a top vacation destination.

Six Things I Couldn’t Live Without:

  • My King
  • Rice Rice baby. Consumed with almost every meal, I am also one of the largest exporters of rice in the world.  Over 5,000 varieties of rice from Thailand are preserved at the International Rice Research Institute (yep, that’s a thing)- of which my king is the official patron. Mic drop.
  • Muay Thai – signature Thai sport. And a badass one too.
  • I put sugar in EVERYTHING. I add sugar to soup and dump gallons of condensed milk into any and all drinks. Bring on the sweet.
  • Elephants! The national animal. It’s quite apparent too. Elephant everything is available everywhere you look.
  • Mai pen rai. I have this saying- and it means- don’t worry. For me, it’s a way of life. Don’t get worked up about things. I live my life with little confrontation and I believe that makes my life a lot more simple and enjoyable! There is little sense in getting worked up about things. It just won’t help.

I spend a lot of time thinking about….

Responsible Tourism

** Please make sure to practice responsible tourism while traveling! I don’t mean to get all righteous here, but I think it’s extremely important. There are many new and exciting experiences to try abroad- but make sure you do your research!!  Many developing countries rely heavily on tourism and there are some activities that are solely for tourists. They are there to make money and conditions can be terrible. Many times we are unaware of what we are contributing to, but that is exactly why it is so crucial to stay informed!**

  • Elephant riding: DO NOT- I repeat- DO NOT RIDE ELEPHANTS! Elephants are wild animals. Training them is not the same as training a dog. The tactics used are brutal and cruel.  They are beaten into submission and prodded with metal hooks.  It also damages their spines. Some elephants are used for begging. Baby elephants are paraded around the streets and tourists can pay to take pictures or buy food to feed them. These elephants have also been tortured into submission. They are sometimes painted and they are kept in very poor conditions.  Some are orphans, having lost their mothers to the brutality of the industry.
  • Hill tribes: The Karen Long Neck hill tribe are mostly Burmese refugees- except the Thai government won’t actually recognize them as refugees. They can’t really make a living any other way so they open their doors for tourism selling souvenirs and collecting tips by posing for photos. Additionally, the heavy gold rings around their necks pose major health problems to the women.  Many attribute the visit to be much like a human zoo.
  • Tiger Kingdom: Touching a tiger is cool, right?! Except if you stopped to think about it for three seconds you’ll realize it doesn’t make any sense. In what world does hanging out with a tiger end well? The tigers are heavily drugged and kept in less than ideal conditions.

How can I help?

Don’t support these things! Boycott them! Make sure you do research on everything you do.  By no means are these the only things to look out for.  You can read more about responsible tourism in Thailand here.

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