Thailand
  • Compare your :
  • Flights
  • Hotels
  • Flight + Hotel
  • Private Rentals
  • Cars
  • Holidays
  • Destination

Culture Thailand

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile

Thailand : Discover the country's culture

Read

Farang: Thailand through the eyes of an Expat, I Corness (2007)
Kingdom of Make-Believe: A Novel of Thailand, D Barrett (1999)
A Nail Through the Heart: A Novel of Bangkok, T Hallinan (2008)

Guides

The Rough Guide to Thailand, L Ridout & P Gray (2009)
Thailand's Islands and Beaches, A Burke et al (2008)
Thailand Handbook 7th Edition Footprint Travel Guides (2009)
Thailand (Lonely Planet Country Guide), C Williams (2009)

Music

String (Thai pop) bands such as Clash, Bodyslam and Silly Fools
Luk Thung and Mor Lam folk music such as Pumpuang Duangjan

Thailand : Discover the country's history

Historical dates

8th century:The Thais' ancestors migrate from southern China down to present day Thailand
11th - 13th century:Khmer domination, centred around Lopburi
1238: Sukhothai, the earliest Thai kingdom of Siam, declares its independence from the Khmers
1378: Ayuthia, the rival kingdom subjugates Sukhothai
1431: Ayuthia captures Angkor
1549: The first Burmese attack on Ayuthia
1685: Louis XIV in Ayuthia
1688: Expulsion of the French, closing the country to the West
April 1767: Ayuthia is looted by the Burmese
November 1767: General Taksin defeats the Burmese and is crowned king
1782: General Chakri takes the crown and starts the current dynasty, Bangkok becomes the capital
1868-1910: The reign of Chulalongkorn (Rama V) opens up the kingdom to westernisation and safeguards its independence against the English and the French
1932: Coup d'état. Beginning of the constitutional monarchy
1941: Collaboration with the Japanese
1944: Close ties with the United States of America
1946:Crowning of Bhumibol Adulyadej, the current king
1947-1973: Successive coups d'état and miltiary regimes
1973-1976: Incidental democracy, left-wing reforms
October 1976: Military coup d'état, right-wing repression and birth of communist regime
1988: Restoration of democracy
1991-1992: Last military rule, crushed by student riots
1997: The fall of the Thai Baht signals the beginning of the economic crisis for the country
2001: Election of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra
2004: A majority of theThai people are discontent with the government
6 February 2005: Legislative elections. Another landslide victory for the Thai Rak Thai party; 399 seats out of 500. Thaksin Shinawatra, the Prime Minister, thus has more powers than any other democratically-elected Prime Minister has ever had in Thailand.

Thailand : Stay up to date on the country's holidays and events

Events

January/February: Chinese New Year, celebrated notably in Bangkok and Nakhon Sawan Province. Celebrations include processions in which local people carry huge lions and dragons through the street. In the past, members of the Royal Family have even opened the celebrations.
14 February: Valentine's Day is now commonly celebrated in Thailand. On this day in the Trang Province, there is an annual underwater wedding ceremony. In the North, celebrations take on a different form as the locals lay on a huge feast for elephants.
Mid-February: Feast of the Makha Bucha. This is to commemorate the ninth day after Buddha's enlightenment when over 1250 monks visited him to pay their respects. Celebrations are calm and serene - usually in a local temple.
Early March: Pattaya Music Festival (Pattaya Beach, Chonburi). A huge festival celebrating some of Thailand's most recently discovered music talent.
13-15 April: Songkran festival, Thai New Year. This is one of the biggest celebrations of the year as locals and tourists alike partake in huge water fights in the street to mark the end of the dry season.
3-5 May: Coronation Day. The monarchy is extremely important to Thai people and most Thais even have calendars showing pictures of the King in their homes. As such, Coronation day is celebrated nationwide with religious ceremonies, feasts for monks, presentations of decorations for those considered to have done a great service for the state, and a procession with the King dressed in full regalia.
Second weekend in May (Yasothan Province): Rocket festival. Intended to encourage the rainy season to start, locals have a competition to design the most impressive rocket, before launching them into the clouds to coax out the rain.
June: (Loei province): Phi Ta Khon festival, a celebration Buddha's penultimate stage of reincarnation before enlightenment. Local men dress up as the spirits who were said to have joined Buddha at this stage and parade through the streets.
12 August: The Queen's birthday sees street parades throughout the country, as well as displays of colourful flowers and paintings. Some of the best celebrations take place on Ratchadamnoen Avenue and in the areas around the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
Late September: Mooncake festival. Traditionally celebrated to commemorate the end of harvest season in Chinese culture, Mooncake festival is now celebrated in areas of Thailand with Chinese communities. During this festival, Thais exchange gifts and make mooncakes - delicious desserts made from egg and lotus seeds (similar to an English custard tart).
Full moon of October: Thai vegetarian festival. Many Thais partake in this festival, even if they are not vegetarian throughout the year. As it is celebrated nationwide, be prepared to see less meat on offer in most restaurants if you travel to Thailand at this time.
29-30 October: Naga Fireball festival. Throughout the year, an unexplained phenomenon occurs in Nong Khai whereby fireballs rise from the Mekong River. These rising fireballs are most numerous around October time and locals celebrate with boat races and fireworks.
Full moon of November: Loi Krathong and Yee Peng festivals. Tiny, brightly lit boats are released onto rivers with candles and offering to the water spirits. To see these festivals at their best, go to Chiang Mai in the North.
Last Sunday of November (Lopburi): Monkey banquet. A banquet prepared by the Chinese community of Lopburi and presented to the local monkeys.
5 December: The King's birthday and National Day. The world's longest reigning monarch, the King's birthday is cause for huge celebrations in Thailand. Thai people take to the streets for processions and parties, and Royal Palaces throughout the country are open for visits.
25 December: Christmas Day. Although Thailand is not a Christian country and therefore Christmas is not an official holiday, you will still see Christmas trees in large towns and tourists can often find restaurants that serve traditional Christmas dinners.