Thailand is often referred to the land of smiles and Buddhism. Its people are incredibly friendly and relaxed, its food is amazing, the culture is incredibly intriguing and the beaches are probably some of the best in the world. Take all that into the account and you get the perfect holiday destination.

Here are 18 interesting facts about Thailand as well as further links to related articles, guides and exciting adventures to be experienced in Thailand.

Elephant Hills, Khao Sok National Park.

Elephant Hills, Khao Sok National Park.

1.    Thailand in Thai language is Prathet Thai, which means “Land of the Free.” However, the name is not that old as for centuries it was named after its dominant cities, such as Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, and Thonburi. The name of Thailand was first introduced in the 1800s, and even then it constantly switched back and forth between Siam and Thailand. 

2.    Around 30 million people visit Thailand every year, making it the second most visited country in Asia, while China is the first.

3.    Buddhism is a major religion in Thailand, in fact, 94 % of the population are Buddhist. In the past, every single Thai boy had to serve as a Buddhist monk for at least a short period of time. Today this tradition is still practiced, but it is not as common as it used to be.

4.    Thailand has some pretty crazy wildlife. The world’s smallest mammal – the bubble bat; largest fish – the whale shark; the largest lizard – the monitor lizard; the longest poisonous snake – the kind Cobra, - have at least one thing in common – they all live in Thailand. In fact, a one-tenth of all animal species on our planet have their habitats in Thailand.

5.    The world record for the largest number of skydivers in a free-fall formation happened above Thailand. The record has been achieved by 282 skydivers in 1999, who held the link for 7,11 seconds.

6.    The highest mountain in Thailand is Doi Inthanon - 2,595 m (8,514 ft). The mountain is located in Doi Inthanon National Park, also known as “the roof of Thailand”, and is a part of Himalayan mountain range. The National Park attracts crowds of visitors every year, and on the New Years Day, an estimated 12,000 people visit the summit.

7.    Bangkok is actually just a short for Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit, which translates to “City of Angels, Great City of Immortals, the 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.” No wonder why it is the longest name in the world.

8.    The tsunami of the year of 2004 was one of the deadliest natural disasters in history. The tsunami affected 14 countries, including Thailand. It killed around 230,000–280,000 people, at least 8,000 in Thailand, and more than 150,000 Thais lost their homes and businesses.

9.    Most of the tourists who come to Thailand are eager to visit the elephants. Unfortunately, tourism became one of the reasons why the number of elephants in the past century has dropped significantly. A hundred years ago, more than 100,000 elephants lived in Thailand. Now, there are only 5,000, left with less than half of them untamed. 

10.    Around 250 m (820 ft) high surrounded by forests, Thailand's most exquisite waterfall Thi Lo Su is pouring down in the Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary. Not only the waterfall is considered to be the most beautiful in the country, it is also the highest and the largest in Thailand.

11.    The wettest place in Thailand is Khao Sok National park, which is located in the southern part of Thailand and dazzles for so many reasons. The fact, that it has the highest level of rainfall in Thailand (3,500 mm per year), mainly means that it is almost impossible to visit the park on a clear day, but the lake of emerald water, the majestic limestone cliffs and a million-year-old jungle sinking in clouds, are something that attract thousands of visitors every year. 

12.    The longest cave system in Thailand is Tham Mae Lana - 12,720 m (42,000 ft). It is filled with breathtaking stalactites and stalagmites. The cave system is inhabited by the Waterfall climbing cave fish, which, as you could have already guessed from its name, has a capability to grapple on the terrain and move around on it.

13.    Maenam Song Si is the location where you can observe a unique phenomenon – the collision of the brown Mekong River and the blue Mun River. As the result of the rivers joining together, an interesting alluvium of water mixing together appear.

14.    At the end of the 20th century, a few backpackers visited the island of Koh Phangan and decided that the full moon appears larger off the island than from anywhere else. Therefore, they decided to organize a party in the moon’s honour. Now the Full Moon Party is organized on each month and it attracts more that 10,000 people each time.

15.    Phu Chi Fa is the place in Thailand often referred to as the most beautiful place in Thailand. It is a 1,442 m (4,731 ft) high mountain with the cliff standing before the never-ending horizon covered in mist and clouds. 

16.    Naga Fireball is a fully unexplained phenomenon of fireballs being spat out of the Mekong River. The lights can rise up to 200 m (656 ft) and disappear. Scientists believe that the phenomenon is caused by phosphine gas, but locals believe that its origin is the serpentine creature called Naga.

17.    Thailand is made up of approximately 1,430 islands. The most famous is considered to be Koh Phi Phi, also known as an island superstar. Its popularity grew significantly after Danny Boyle’s film The Beach was filmed there. Now it is known as the backpacker party island, and while it is always filled with tourists it still has not lost its charm.

18.    The late Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej was the longest reigning king in the world until his death in October 2016. He was king for 70 years and Thais absolutely adored him, in fact, Thailand is still mourning, and all the parties had stopped for a whole month after his death.