Culture of Thailand

Explore why Thailand is known as the Land of Similes.

Thailand is one of the most welcoming countries in the world, and is known as the “Land of Smiles”. The Thai people are warm and friendly, welcoming you to a stunningly beautiful country filled with historical riches and the culture of Thailand. 

culture of thailand
Land of similes thailand

The nickname, “Land of Smiles”, was first used to promote travel to Thailand. It’s easy to see why with its white sand beaches, very affordable travel, and the generous hospitality of the local people. The cost of travel to Thailand remains extremely low in comparison to Western or European countries. This makes it excellent for families, destination weddings, and anniversaries or reunions.

Fun historical fact: originally called Siam (“Land of a Thousand Smiles”), happy faces are an honoured tradition in Thailand. In the 1930s the name was changed to Thailand (“Land of Freedom”), when a modern constitutional monarchy replaced the old system of rule by the king.

Chinese festival phuket thailand
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The Thai smile is genius as a form of visual communication, as it expresses a range of emotions. A few of the meanings behind the smiles are: teasing (yim yaw), admiration (yim cheun chom), encouragement (Yim suu suu!), politeness (Yim taak thaai), and the “no point in crying over spilt milk” smile (Yim yoh-yae).

After just a few days, you will be smiling, too, as you discover that a smile is much more than a smile, it is a subtle form of communication. What fun to learn and practice the meanings of more than thirteen different smiles in Thai culture!

Songkran water festival phuket thailand
Thailand local crafts


Thailand is one of the most popular Asia Pacific destinations! It’s not hard to understand, with its tropical climate, miles of pristine beaches, beautiful mountains, dense forests, amazing scuba diving, delicious foods, and colourful culture. Add friendly, polite, and helpful Thai people with a laid-back approach to life, and you’ll be captivated.

Thailand is also very cosmopolitan, with many international restaurants and stores, such as Starbucks. Or explore beyond the tourist trail, the hidden markets and amazing street stalls frequented only by locals and became friends with local residents. You’ll feel right at home!

There’s something for everyone, country or bustling city, temples or hidden markets. Whether you’re a travel newbie or veteran backpacker, looking for hiking or partying, delicious street food or a healthy detox retreat, you’ll find it in Thailand. You may never want to leave!

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thai elephants


As soon as you arrive in Thailand, the unpretentious friendliness of the Thai people is evident. Thais are renowned for their friendliness, kindness, and warmth, which is generously extended to foreigners. Their gracious hospitality is hard to beat! 

But the true beauty for visitors is being able to spend time with the local population. Thais are very congenial people and tend to be very welcoming to visitors. The vast majority of Thais you’ll meet are unpretentious and down to earth.

You’ll love meeting the friendly Thai people, always ready to do everything in their power to make you comfortable, from recommending restaurants, to helping with directions, whatever will make your visit easier. Wherever you go in Thailand, there will be happy, smiling, extremely polite people ready to help you!

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farmers in thailand

Thailand is the perfect family vacation destination!

Thai culture is very family-oriented, making this a child-friendly, safe place for travelling with children and babies. In recent years, Thailand has worked hard to change its reputation as a backpacker party hub, and is promoting travel for families and more discerning travellers. There’s an abundance of fun things to do, for kids and parents, offering plenty of diversity, including beaches, culture, and outdoor adventures! 

With all the amazing options, beautiful beaches, bustling cities; wonderful nature reserves, culture and sports; relaxing by a pool to experiencing a jungle adventure…where do you start? Pro tip: be selective, and don’t try to squeeze everything into one trip.

Thailand is affordable, great for visiting and travelling, with many resorts that cater to all budgets so just remember you can always come back to experience more! Internal flights are reasonable with many airports to quicken up your journey – popular ones are Phuket Airport to Samui or Chaing Mai Airports.

Thailand is a renowned tropical beach destination, but there’s far more to it than its palm-fringed sands. Tours can be invaluable, as the local guides can advise you on the best places to visit to get the most out of your vacation.

Along the coast are villages, where you can watch the local fishermen bring in the day’s catch. Inland are temples, national parks like the Similan Islands, hill tribe communities, and cities filled with delicious foods, street markets, and even cooking classes! Thailand is a good-value destination. Bring the kids and have a memorable vacation!

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traditional mask thailand


Thailand, officially known as the Kingdom of Thailand, has some of the most beautiful buildings in the world! The temples of Thailand and palace architecture is immediately identifiable, with bright colors, rich ornamentation and sweeping, multi-tiered roofs. It blends influences from Indian, Khmer, Burmese and Chinese architectural styles. Thai architecture reflects traditional designs that have gradually evolved into a more contemporary style with regional variations invented by the country itself.

Architecture’s importance to the Thai’s sense of community and religious beliefs can be seen in the temples, displaying carved religious symbols from Buddhist and Hindu mythology, constructed with care and attention to ancient principles. Temple columns were often shaped at the ends into lotus buds which symbolized the purity of Buddha’s thoughts, while eight stones were laid around the bottom to keep away evil spirits.

The architecture of Thailand is a major part of the country’s cultural legacy and reflects the importance of architecture to the Thai people’s sense of community and religious beliefs. When building a Thai home, there are three ancient principles that must be put into place. These are material preparation, construction, and dwelling.

night lanterns phuket thailand
local carnival thailand


Thailand’s culture is a blend of Buddhism, Hinduism and Animism. This fusion of spiritual practices and multiple religions influences everything from their architecture, traditions, to their daily life and relationships.

One interesting concept of Thai spiritualism can be expressed as “Mai pen rai” (never mind), an expression that encompasses a deep belief that life “is to be enjoyed”. This attitude is reflected in the playfulness and fun the Thai people enjoy in ordinary activities, smiling and laughing when interacting with others.

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thailand fireshow

Core values that form the bedrock of Thai daily life include respect, freedom, loyalty, merit, compassion, and harmony. With a strong work ethic and also a willingness to be content with what they have, Thai attitudes are reflected in their efforts to achieve satisfaction in life, playfully making the most of any situation.

Today’s Thailand has a culture that is a combination of local rituals from different parts of the country, along with Buddhist values similar to many parts of Asia. And while the monarchy and royal institutions of the Chakri Dynasty (created in 1782) are highly revered according to the original Siamese culture, societal values in Thailand tend to be more collectivist and religiously secular than in other Southeast Asian cultures.

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