With a long history of over 700 years, Thailand boasts a strong culture, traditions, beliefs, values and customs that are unique and extraordinary -- a harmonious mix of cultures intertwined with the quintessential Thai way of life.
From 2015 - 2016, Thailand's tourism policy has focused on promoting the values of Thai culture and therefore TAT launched the "Discover Thainess" campaign. The campaign aims to create an understanding of Thailand and the Thai people's way of life so that foreign travelers may appreciate authentic and unique examples of Thai culture.
According to the information provided by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Discover Thainess is divided into seven categories. Each section shares insights about travel destinations, services, venues and activities.
One of the unique attributes of the Thai people is they are fun-lovers. Most aspects of Thai lifestyle, whether music, sports, games, or even daily routines, are remarkably attractive thanks to the pleasurable activities they incorporate. Visitors can take pleasure in such aesthetic aspect of Thainess and have a unique kind of fun alongside the Thai people, just as many do during the famous Songkran festival. With numerous white sandy beaches and clear blue sea water, Thailand offers many beach activities and water sports that will give you a fun-filled day at the beach. Besides, martial arts like Muay Thai, the national sport, will get you fit and have fun.
In Thailand, rich and colorful festivals are held all over the country throughout the year. Every region celebrates its unique culture and some provinces are well-known outside of Thailand for their spectacular celebrations. Most festivals are connected with religion and the cultivation cycle of rice. Among tourists, Songkran - often referred to as the Water Festival - is very popular. During the celebrations people splash, pour and shoot water at each other for three fun-filled days. Another colorful festival held annually across Thailand is Loy Krathong, celebrated on the full moon night of the 12th lunar month (roughly in November). It is the time for Thai people to pay respects to the goddess of water by releasing beautiful lotus shaped crafts, decorated with candles, incense and flowers into the rivers or canals.
Thai cuisine is one of the most renowned in the world. It is well known for the diversity of ingredients, outstanding spiciness and ample medicinal properties. It is characterized by a remarkable balance of sour, sweet, creamy, salty and spicy flavours. Each part of Thailand features a different cuisine prepared with essential local ingredients. Apart from its long tradition, Thai food owes its fame to the meticulous attention needed for ingredient selection, flavouring, cooking, and even the graceful arrangement of food in elegantly decorated containers. Such qualities represent the charm of Thai cuisine, earning it worldwide recognition.
Thai Way of Life
Thai people's hospitable personality is what contributes to the unique feature of a Thai community. Each community possesses an identity shaped by its local environment, which is reflected through its member's livelihood, house building and designing techniques, production of household and farming articles, and adherence to a religion and beliefs inherited from their ancestors. You can experience true happiness in simplicity just by spending some time with local community members and learning to live in harmony with nature.
Thais are well-known for being hospitable. This outstanding trait has been applied to Thai massage, which is a cultural legacy. Available in both the traditional and applied styles, Thai massage is also integrated with spa treatment, resulting in a famous science that fuses Thai wisdom with modern techniques of body treatment. If you want to understand more about Thai traditions, values and culture, try exploring some of the spa treatments at five-star hotels or other local venues, and you will gain pleasure from the experience. Here are some recommended hotels offering spa treatments:
Bangkok: Aetas Bangkok, Well Hotel Bangkok
Pattaya: Pattaya Sea Sand Sun Resort and Spa
Phuket: Sukko Spa, Deevana Hotels and Resorts, The Royal Paradise Hotel & Spa, The Senses Resort Patong, The Vijitt Resort Phuket, Kata Beach Resort and Spa, Phuket Orchid Resort and Spa, Beyond Resort Karon, The Metropole Hotel
Thai art features exquisite and delicate characteristics emanating from the integration of Buddhism-influenced Sino-Indian artistic traditions, each region's local inhabitants' lifestyle, and authentic Thai identity. These qualities are manifested in the architecture, paintings, dramatic performances, and literature. Examples of traditional Thai architecture and paintings can be clearly seen in the old temples that are scattered around Bangkok and other provinces.
Obvious examples of Thai arts include the martial art of Thai boxing, the theatrical mask performance called "Khon", and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok.
As Buddhism is embraced by the majority of Thais, Buddhist teachings are manifested in their beliefs and way of life. Some obvious examples are merit making, alms offering, Buddha image worshipping, and meditating. These Buddhist practices are gaining popularity amongst people around the world. Besides, Thailand boasts a large number of temples and meditation spots for those who would like to practice and seek peace of mind.
Though it is not easy to thoroughly discover Thainess in a short time, it makes your traveling more fun and interesting to learn about Thai culture and way of life. Your travels will be more meaningful if you see everything through eyes of the locals and do what the locals do.