Sunday, 8 August 2010

10 other amazing facts about Thailand

Hoping to add something useful to the unfinished list of '200' things you didn't know about Thailand, I felt the urge to submit my own contribution.
Maybe a few facts have already been submitted before, but I give it a try:

1. The old name for Bangkok is the longest name of any place in the world namely: "Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit".
In the official English romanisation, this is certified as the longest place name in the world in the Guinness book of records, meaning: "The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn". Thai school children are obliged to learn the name by heart, but if you would use it to buy a train ticket for example, the train would probably already have left.

2. Also named the king of invention, in 1993 King Bhumipol became the world’s first monarch to be granted a patent. The patent was issued for an aerator used in wastewater treatment, after that he was granted several other patents concerning water treatment and rainmaking.

3. If we may believe Forbes magazine, as of 2008 King Bhumipol is the richest monarch in the world, surpassing the sultan of Brunei. According to Forbes in that year his possessions were being estimated to be worth $35b.

4. Thailand is the only country in East-Asia to have never been colonized. Although during WWII they were outranked by Japanese troops resulting in a collaboration pact whereby the government remained intact, they refused to declare war on Britain and America, however people were being maltreated by the Japanese during this time, amongst other during the construction of the infamous death railway between Bangkok and Rangoon, Myanmar.
Other East Asian countries which do not qualify:
-  Korea: Has been colonised by the Mongols from 1231 till 1270, by Japan from 1592 till 1598 and 1910 till 1945. South Korea has a major military presence by the US from 1950 till now.
- Japan: Was occupied only once by the allied troops led by the US from 1945 till 1952 and similarly to South Korea, US military never left.
- China: Besides British influence and partly being occupied by Japan in WWII in the aftermath being defeated by the Russians, China has once been fully colonised for more than a century by the Mongols from 1294 till 1420.

5. Thailand is the only country to have separate toilets for effeminate gays/ladyboys in schools.
Where do masculine lesbians/tomboys go on?

6. Isan which occupies 20 9 provinces of Thailand, accommodating almost 1/3 of the population, has a different mother tongue than Thai. Instead Isan language is a dialect of the Lao-language. Some older people are able to speak Isan language only. So before you start learning Thai, think twice, does your partner happens to come from Isan or you like to be the center of attention in lady-bars? Better learn Isan.
It's great for your holidays in Laos too. Learn one get two.

7. The inventor of Red Bull is a Thai, currently the richest entrepeneur of Thailand, after Thaksin left.

8. Roi-Et city and Roi-Et province in Isan are the only city/province in the world which represent solely a number, namely 101.

9. Thailand does not have 75 or 76 provinces anymore, as of of August 3rd, 2010 Bung Kan has been officially declared the 77th province of Thailand or the 20th province of Isan.

10. What's the capital of Bung Kan? Easy. All capital cities of the Thai provinces share the same name as the province itself.

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