Thailand – It’s one of the most popular countries in the world and travellers flock to the islands of Thailand in their masses to experience the wealth of beauty and culture it has to offer. There are some essential things you need to know before heading to the Asian paradise though and here are a select few facts.
* 24,000 die on Thailand’s roads every year
It’s not a pleasant fact but it’s important regardless – Thailand’s roads are the second most dangerous in the world, only coming behind Libya’s. In fact, the reputation of the roads in Thailand is so prevalent that twice a year the government sets targets for reducing fatalities. It’s necessary, especially if you consider 478 people lost their lives in just seven days during the past New Year. Bear this in mind before hopping on a motorbike without a license or registration.
* 30,000 partygoers descend on a Thai island every month
You’ve likely heard of Thailand’s renowned Full Moon parties, taking place during a full moon period on the island of Koh Phangan. It’s likely to spur a feeling of envy within your friends if they know you were one of the 30,000 people arriving upon the island, where fire dancers entertain guests partying the night away on beaches and in bars. This Thailand survival guide details that alcohol is served in buckets and UV paint is everywhere, calling it a “party animal’s paradise”, so it really is a spectacle.
* 95% of the country is Buddhist
Stepping foot in Thailand, you’ll notice the prevalence of Buddhism immediately.
Whether it be through the good-natured locals who believe strongly in good karma to live longer and happier lives, or through the abundance of magnificent Buddhist temples throughout the country, it’s hard to ignore the religious influences.
Being that Buddhism is taken so seriously in Thailand, you’ll need to be careful to respect it in every way – treat Buddha statues with respect and don’t mock any religious practices in order to stay in check.
* Thailand boasts 1,430 islands
If you’re planning to do a spot of island hopping when in Thailand, you’re in for a challenge. The country consists of no less than 1,430 islands, some of which aren’t even inhabited. There are a fair few commonly highlighted as worth visiting, though – consider seeing Ko Chang, the country’s second biggest island that offers a wildly different experience to Phuket, its bigger sister. It’s an uncharted and scenic island that you’ll find it very easy to get lost in. And then there’s the Ko Phi-Phi islands, the stunning paradise that you may recognise from the 1999 film, The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
* Over 30 million tourists visited last year
One thing you cannot deny about Thailand is just how popular a tourist destination it is. A record 32.59 million people visited the country last year, likely allured by the aforementioned standouts – the stunning islands with their equally impressive beaches, the huge parties and the positive Buddhist aura that flows throughout.
It’s now the eleventh most-visited country in the world, as well as having the title of the sixth largest tourism industry by revenue to its name, too. One thing is for certain – travelling in Thailand is something you need to tick off of your bucket list.