What follows are some interesting facts about Thailand that you may not know unless you’ve lived in Thailand for a number of years. These facts are outside the typical facts you usually hear and already know . . .
1) In Thailand it is sometimes presumed that all Thai people like to eat spicy food. But in fact, about 25% of Thai people don’t like their food to be too spicy.
2) When you buy something in Thailand you will sometimes see the seller swipe his or her goods with the banknote you gave over for the purchase as if dusting his or her products. This happens if you are the first customer of the day. It is seen as good luck to touch the rest of the goods in the store or selling booth with your banknote for further sales success.
3) Most people know that it is impolite to point your feet at someone or touch a Thai persons head, but did you know that it is considered ugly to put your bag on the floor? This is because the feet and floor are seen to be dirty and low. In fact, if you put your bag on the floor there will often be someone who will suggest that you put your bag on a chair instead.
4) On visiting Thailand you will immediately notice that there are many homeless dogs at the side of the road. The main reason for this is that it is considered a sin in most Thai people’s eyes to have their dog spayed.
5) If you flash the headlights of your car in the West, we will recognise this as someone giving way to let the other person go. However, it has the opposite meaning in Thailand. Flashing your headlights in Thailand means ‘I’m coming through, don’t get in my way!’
6) Crossing your fingers in the West usually indicates that you are wishing for something, or wishing for someone to have good luck. This is not the case with Thai body language interpretation, as crossing your fingers in front of your body as well as behind your body means that you are telling a lie.
7) Thai money is waterproof. Drop a banknote into some water and amaze your friends if your friends are easily entertained.
8 ) Anyone having a meal with Thai friends will notice that everyone is reluctant to start eating first. Being the first to dive in and eat can look mildly ugly and mildly greedy. A way to get around this is to agree to all start eating at the same time.
9) The Thai ‘dtua dtaw’ wasp (which is usually mistaken for a bee most of the time) is very dangerous. 7 stings can kill you. They do not usually attack unless provoked however. By the way, most Westerners will mistakenly call ordinary house lizards ‘geckos’ which is fine, but if you see a real gecko in Thailand you’ll see that it is very colourful and loud. Most Thai people are especially scared of geckos. These creatures are often associated with ghosts or just considered plain ugly.
10) Many Thai people wear gold (especially in the countryside) as savings for a rainy day as well as a symbol of wealth. Thai gold can be traded back in at any time for about a 90% return.