10 things you do not know about Thailand

Interesting facts you probably do not know about Thailand 

Do you think you know all about Thailand? You have read a lot about the Land of Smiles from beautiful beaches to visit, exquisite cuisine, beautiful nature, friendly people and the lists go on. You think you have all Thailand figured out. You might be surprised after reading this article. There are some interesting facts that are surprising for tourists. Let’s travel back to Thailand history and find out together. 

Sriracha sauce 

The original Sriracha sauce 

Sriracha is a hot spicy sauce and can be found in most grocery stores and tabletops in most Asian restaurants. The origin and history is debated. It is believed to have been invented in Sri Racha in Chonburi province near Pattaya in Thailand, by a woman named Thanom Chakkapak. But the family never patented the name. Thai leading manufacturer Thaitheparos bought the recipe from the family and the chilli sauce has been manufactured and sold under the name Sriraja Panich. The US counterpart Sriracha is under the Rooster brand by Huy Fong’s Tran, the king of American Sriracha. They have different tastes and band royalties. Tran’s Sriracha uses fresh red jalapenos from across the U.S. while Sriraja Panich uses cayenne peppers from northern and central Thailand. 

Bangkok, Thailand

The history of the name “Bangkok” 

Foreigners refer to the capital as Bangkok. For Thais it is Krung Thep. The origin of the name “Bangkok” is unclear. One theory says that it might derive from the name Bang Ko. Bang means village or settlement on a bank of river and Ko means island. Thus the name refers to the city’s watery landscape. Another theory says that the name is shortened from the word Bang Makok. Makok is an olive-like fruit plant and the theory is supported by the former name of Wat Arun, a historic temple in the area. It was once called Wat Makok. Thus Bangkok can be translated to “olive village”. 

Bangkok known as Venice of the East 

Bangkok claimed Venice of the East due to the number of buildings built on stilts above the river and because it was home to a network of waterways across the city. Today, most have been reclaimed and paved over to make rooms for roads and to accommodate the rising population. But a massive network of waterways still cross-cross the city. This could you give a reason to imagine why this could have been called Venice of the East. 

Bridge over River Kwai, Kanchanaburi

Bridge over River Kwai 

“The Bridge on the River Kwai” is a 1957 epic war film, based on the 1952 novel written by Pierre Boulle. The bridge is located near Kanchanaburi town and is a part of the Burma-Siam railway and is also known as a Death Railway. It was a horrific history. Thailand has never been colonised, but certainly occupied at various times, including by Japanese during World War Two. Japan invaded Thailand (previously called Siam) in December 1941 and sought to build a transport route through Siam into Burma, in order to reduce its reliance on sea transport and facilitate onward moves to India. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted in Siam (Thailand) and Burma. 

Coconuts

You have seen coconut palm on the beaches and in orchards, coconut milk in a can in many supermarkets and perhaps you enjoy drinking coconut juice while enjoying your vacation in Thailand. Do you know that coconut oil is used as a light sunscreen and tanning secret? It has SPF 4-5 and contains antioxidants that help protect the skin.  

There is a myriad of ways in which Thais make use of the versatile coconut palm. Palm fronds can be woven into different shapes and sizes to make a basket or a hat. Mature coconut palm fronds which have dried and turned yellow can also be tied together at one end to make a broom. 

In the past, Thais taught their children to swim in rivers and canals using life preservers made from coconuts. Two of them were tied together leaving enough space for the swimmer to slip in between. It was cheap and easy to make and would never sink. Big coconut shells are made into a Thai stringed musical instrument called “saw”. The more perfectly round the shell, the finer the sound of the instrument. Moreover, it is used as timer like an hourglass. The upperpart with the hole is cut off and set the shell afloat; as the water seeps in through the hole, it gradually fills and sinks.  

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