After the last few days long motorbike ride we take it easy today. Nothing much to report, so I dug up a little info on Thailand I didn’t know. Maybe you didn’t either.
The day is shortly described as follows:
- Katja do Yoga, I do pictures and blog
- We do lunch
- We go shopping for a new shorts for Katja
- We blog and do more about the pictures
- We have dinner
- The end.
There you have it. A recovery day from what we been through the last days.
Thailand have never been occupied by colonial forces like France, England and Portugal. That was news to me. It was accepted as a “free space” between the countries dominated by especially England and France. Thereby steering clear of the rule of a foreign nation.
When the second world war started Thailand claimed neutrality, but was invaded by the Japanese in 1941. The war lasted somewhere between 6 and 8 hours based on what I can find. The Thai government accepted Japanese troops to move freely through Thailand and kept it’s control over both armed forces and foreign diplomacy. Thailand became sort of a puppet state under Japanese control. Japan wanted to take on Burma which was under British rule at the time. I mentioned the Memorial bridge over river Pai a couple of days ago. That led the Japanese towards Mae Hong Son, close to the Burmese border. They succeeded in their conquest and that was the start of the South-East Asia theater of war.
Thailand had a lot of resistance that both attacked the Japanese as well as fed the Allied with information. America, as the only Allied nation, did not declare war on Thailand, seeing it was under the Japanese thumb at the time. This makes for an easier recovery after the war.
Did you know that the royal families flag is purple? You’ll find it side by side with the national flag many places. The King’s flag is yellow as he’s born on a Monday, and the Queen’s is blue for her Friday. This corresponds pretty well with the “Color of the week” display we saw when we visited the Silver Pagoda in Phnom Phen in Cambodia.
Thailand was named Siam before the name Thailand was set in 1939. The first registration of “Sayam” is from the temples in Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and it’s translated into “Brown people”. The local people of Thailand have historically called the country Mueang Thai.
A few fun facts:
- Thailand is the worlds largest rice exporter.
- It’s illegal to drive shirtless in Thailand. (Tell that to a lot of the tourists, please!)
- It’s year 2558 here. The Buddhist calender is 543 years a ahead of the Gregorian one.
- The longest place name in the world is the full name of Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand: Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit. It means “City of Angels, Great City of Immortals, Magnificent City of the Nine Gems, Seat of the King, City of Royal Palaces, Home of Gods Incarnate, Erected by Visvakarman at Indra’s Behest.”
- Thailand is home to the world’s longest poisonous snake, the king cobra. The cobra can reach more than 18 feet long, and one bite from it can kill an elephant
- A century ago, more than 100,000 elephants lived in Thailand, with about 20,000 of them untamed. Now, there are about 5,000, with less than half of them wild.
- Northern Thailand was a major producer of opium in the 1960s and 1970s, which was a major source of income for the hill tribes. The northern tip of Thailand, the western tip of Laos, and the eastern corner of Myanmar make up what is called the “Golden Triangle” and is notorious for the production and trafficking of opium and heroin
- In Thailand, the head is the most important part of the body. Consequently, no one must ever touch another person, even a child, on the head. Thais always try to keep their heads lower than the head of any person who is older or more important, to show respect.
Good to know, right?