Top 10 most visited countries in the world
In 2013, Forbes listed Bangkok as one of the world’s 10 most visited cities.
In 2012 – 2016, International Overnight Visitors by MasterCard ranked Bangkok as the top 3 overnight international visitors in the world.
Overnight visitors are people arriving from other country and who stayed at least one night in Bangkok.
For 5 straight years, Bangkok has had more overnight visitors than London, Paris, Dubai, Tokyo, Seoul, New York, Rome, and so on.
2016 – Bkk #1 with 21.47 mil overnight visitors
2015 – Bkk #1 with 19.59 mil overnight visitors
2014 – Bkk #3 with 17.03 mil overnight visitors
2013 – Bkk #1 with 17.47 mil overnight visitors
2012 – Bkk #1 with 15.82 mil overnight visitors
Here’s the bad stuff…
In 2016, Forbes listed Bangkok as the second most traffic congested city in the world. First on the list is Mexico City and Los Angeles is ranked #10.
Bangkok River (Chao Phraya River)
Parts of the Chao Phraya River were man-made during the Ayutthaya period to bypass large loops in the river and to shorten the travel from the capital city to the sea.
Bangkok is sinking
According to studies, Bangkok was built on top of a swamp and it is sinking at a rate of about 2 centimeters (about 0.8 inches) every year. The sinking rate, combined with the rising sea level, means Bangkok will be fully under water by 2100.
Bangkok’s real name
English: Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit
Thai: กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยา มหาดิลกภพ นพรัตนราชธานีบูรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์
How to pronounce it: Watch here
The Thais pronounce Bangkok as “Bong-Gok”. If you want to impress a Thai person, pronounce Bangkok as Bong-Gok and if you really want to impress a Thai, pronounce Bangkok as Krung Thep, because in Thailand, Bangkok is known as Krung Thep.
Central World in Bangkok
Central World in Bangkok is rank 10th biggest shopping mall in the world. It is the biggest shopping mall in Thailand.
Siam Paragon (maybe 20 minute walk from Central World) – is ranked the 13th biggest in the world and ranked the 2nd biggest shopping mall in Thailand.
Chatuchak Weekend Market is known to be the world’s largest outdoor market.
Thailand was never colonized by Europeans
Vietnam – colonized by the French
Laos – colonized by the French
Cambodia – colonized by the French
Myanmar – colonized by the British
and so on.
No Alcohol for sale
Ban the sale of alcoholic beverages from 12am – 11am & 2pm – 5pm
In addition, on a Buddhist holiday throughout the year, the sale of alcohol is banned in seven/11, bars, nightclubs and everywhere in the country. Check out my free eBook to find out the next Buddhist holiday in Thailand.
The world’s biggest water fight is held throughout Thailand each year in April. The Songkran is the Thai New Year celebration and it can last for 3-4 days and the world’s biggest wet t-shirt contest is held in Pattaya during Songkran.
The word Farang
The word farang is a Thai phrase that describes a foreigner or westerners. It typically describes someone from European descent.
I was looking for the correct spelling of the full phrase for farang. I came to a Wikipedia page, but the article on wiki didn’t have the full phrase for farang.
Wikipedia says “The word farang may have either originated from the Hindi word firangi (Devanāgarī: फिरंगी, “foreign”), a derogatory term for Europeans that was coined during British colonial rule in India, or from the Persian word farang (فرنگ) or farangī (فرنگی), meaning “Frank, European”.” And so on. So basically, wiki says the Thai got the word farang by taking it from the Indian or Persian. I don’t think that’s what happened because Wiki only talks about the phrase, Farang which is the abbreviation of Farangsay.
I think some of the info in Wiki is just incorrect and this is one of them. To me, the word Farang in Thailand has no negative annotation. Farang is a neutral word, although Thais that know and respect you will not use Farang to describe you. While not offensive, it is not complimentary either. It can be an insult but it will depend on the context.
Where the word Farang and Farangsay came from?
To me, I think this is how the phrase Farang and Farangsay first came about. If you look at the history of Thailand and the first recorded Europeans to come to Thailand. It was the French, and when the French came, I don’t think they brought any Persians or Indians as translators.
When you speak with a French person and ask them to pronounce France in their native tongue, they will not pronounce France as France, the same with other words like Montreal.
When the French came, they would try to tell the Thais they came from France, and when the Thais try to pronounce France like a French person, it came out as Farangsay because a Thai person has a hard time pronouncing the letter R. Don’t believe me? Just ask a Thai person that doesn’t know much English to pronounce the letter R.
Then to make it more easy, Faransay just became Farang.
But you’re not French, you’re an American or Austrian. Why are you being called a Farang? To an average Thai person who doesn’t understand English, they cannot tell the difference between the two languages. Also, Americans as well as other people from Western countries look very similar. That’s why Thais call you Farangsay or Farang.
Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Cambodian, Laotian, Indian (Middle Eastern)
1. Main Thai that everyone uses in Thailand
2. Isan (North East)
3. North (Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai
But if you know the first one (Main Thai), you’ll be able to communication to everyone in Thailand. Most Thais know at least two different Thai dialects, usually the main Thai language and one more from the region they grew up.
If you want to learn Thai, learn the main Thai language that all Thai use. That way you’ll be able to communicate with all the Thais in different parts of Thailand.
Public display of affection
Kissing, especially French kissing in public, is taboo in Thailand. From a Thai perspective, French kissing in public is like seeing people having sex. Holding hands, kissing your children in public is ok.
Religion in Thailand
The main religion is Buddhism, which is practiced by 90% of Thais. The rest are Islam, Christianity and non-religious.
All the males shave their head to become a monk and live in a temple when they each 21 year’s old. Some males may not be able to do this because of financial reasons. Serving in the monkhood can last a week or a lifetime.
Females do not have to do this but a female can serve as a monk. They are not required to shave their head, but are required to wear white robes and live in the temple.
Thais believe pointing your finger at someone is a sign of disrespect. Avoid pointing your finger at another Thai person or a Buddha image; pointing your fingers at anything else is ok.
But why are they pointing fingers? Because that person is an alleged criminal and criminals do not get any respect in Thailand.
Red Bull (Krating Daeng)
Red Bull is a Thai / Austrian company first developed in Thailand in the 70’s for Thai working class.
In the 80s, Red Bull teamed up with an Austrian to form what we know as Red Bull and modified the ingredients to suit the taste of Westerners. The original Red Bull is still in Thailand; you can grab one for 10 baht. The western Red Bull is at least 6x more expensive. Why? Maybe it’s a farang price. Maybe they need someone to pay for all the ads. I don’t know.
Today, Red Bull is one of the world’s most powerful brands, mostly associated with extreme sports and athletics.