Daily Archives: August 7, 2007

Amazing Thailand Facts (Part 2)

Well, here it eventually is – the second part of the ‘amazing Thai facts’ as published on www.thailandqa.com. If you liked this selection then please do have a look back at the first part.

1. The tablet form of the drug ‘Methamphetamine’ is known as Ya-Ba (Crazy Medicine).More popular though, is its original name ‘Ya-Ma’ which translates as ‘Horse Medicine’
Contrary to popular belief that the slang came from ‘having the power of a horse’, the name did in fact come from the logo which was printed on the pill when it was once legally sold over the counter in Thailand (banned in 1972). Methamphatamine, sold in its original form and distributed by the pharmaceutical company ‘Wellcome’ had its logo of a horse’s head stamped on each tablet. (Stephen)

2. “Red Bull”, the popular energy drink found in many places throughout the world, is based on the Thai soft drink “Krating Daeng” much favoured by Thai Tuk-Tuk drivers. (Khun Don)

3. King Mongkut (King Rama IV) was the first Asian monarch to be fluent in English, both spoken and written. (Stephen)

4. The first ever shower in Thailand (as most may think of a shower anyway) can be found at Vimanmek Mansion in Bangkok. (LMB)

5. Built on a marsh known as Cobra Swamp, 15.5 miles east of Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi (pronounced “Su-Wana-Poom”) boasts the world’s biggest passenger terminal under a single roof and the tallest control tower. (Jaibaan)

6. Suvarnabhumi also holds the record for ‘longest airport project in history!’
First planning of the new Bangkok airport dates back to 1960. (Stephen)

7. The original name for the new airport, before it was changed to Suvarnbhumi, was ‘Nong Ngoo Hao’. The name was changed as the original
1. Didn’t have a very good meaning (superstition) and 2. No foreigner would ever be able to pronounce it properly!Say that again – Nong Ngoo Hao – what a tongue twister! (Stephen)

8. Thailand is the only country in the world where Scouting was directly founded by a monarch. (Jaibaan)

9. In 2005, Bumrungrad Hospital treated 400,000 foreign patients—the highest of any hospital in the world—from more than 150 countries. (Jaibaan)

10. Just one kilometre north of Ko Tao is the beautiful island of Ko Nang Yuan, the only place in the world where three islands are joined together by a sandbar. (Jaibaan)

11. ‘Victory Monument’ in Bangkok was built in 1941 by PM Phibulsongkran to celebrate a brief defeat of the French in Indochina the previous year.
The name of the monument however, does not live up to much of a victory. Just four years later and with the defeat of the Japanese, Thailand was forced to hand, what it had won – back to the French! (Stephen)

12. Ancient City (Muang Boran), south of Bangkok, is billed as the largest open-air museum in the world. (Jaibaan)

13. In 1939 the country changed its name from Siam to Thailand. In 1945 the country changed its name from Thailand back to Siam. In 1949 the country changed its name again from Siam to Thailand. It is the only country in the world to change its name 3 times in 10 years. (Khun Don)

14. Thailand is the largest producer of pineapples in the world. (Jaibaan)

(Snow in Thailand! Picture courtesy of www.2bangkok.com)

15. In 1955, it supposedly snowed in Chiang Rai! (Stephen)

16. Even though he was the 13th Prime Minister of Thailand, M.R. Kukrit Pramoj is more famous for his artistic skills; not only was he an established writer, he also wrote the legendary novel ‘The Four Reigns’, was once named ‘National Artist’ for literature and even founded The Siam Rath newspaper.
On top of all that, M.R. Kukrit, 12 years prior to becoming the Prime Minister, played the part of the ‘Prime Minister of Thailand’ alongside Marlon Brando in the movie ‘The Ugly American’. (Stephen)

17. After the revolution of 1932 and the overthrow of absolute monarchy, the monarch of that era King Rama VII abdicated and moved to England.
For the last three years of his life in England prior to his death in 1941, King Rama VII a fervent gardener, was glad to spend his time happily helping other neighbours with their gardening duties. (Stephen)

18. The Thai greeting Sawatdee (or Sawasdee) is derived from the Sanskrit – Svasti. Svasti, meaning ‘well-being’ is called in English ‘Swastika’.
The word Sawatdee is Hindu in origin. (Stephen)

19. In the late 17th century, the country’s most powerful man second only to the king (King Narai) was a Greek.Constantine Phaulkon was Thailand’s Foreign Minister and played the part of Prime Minister. (Stephen)

20. Thailand’s national anthem was composed by a German, Peter Feit. (Stephen)

21.Roundabout July 22’ Ask any Bangkokian to the origins of the name of this well-known roundabout and there is a big chance that he won’t have a clue.
It was in fact, named after the date in which Thailand entered World War I and declared war against Germany and Austria-Hungary – in 1917. (Stephen)

22. Thai soldiers were killed in World War I. It is claimed that Thailand’s nurses were the only women to have served in the trenches of the Western Front.
In January 1920, Thailand became a founding member of The League of Nations. (Stephen)

23. There’s a square near Harvard Square dedicated to the King’s Honor. It is the only such square in the United States that honors a foreign monarch. (Will)

24. Before The King married Queen Sirikit, it was decided that HM too, in accordance to official procedures, had to sign a register stating his actual ‘occupation’! At first some government officials wished that his occuption be listed as ‘King’ but others wanted simply ‘Government Official’. After a long debate, it was decided that HM’s occupation be described as ‘Ruler of the Country’. (Stephen)

25. As you will probably know, Thailand’s white elephants have always been considered auspicious and used in numerous traditional ceremonies. One discontinued tradition however, is feeding white elephants from the bare breasts of young women. (Stephen)

26. Now, most folk know that the movie about King Mongkut, ‘The King and I’ is banned in Thailand. In 1985 however, HM The King and Queen went to see ‘The King and I’ on Broadway! (Stephen)

27. In November 2005, during an official trip to India, HRH Princess Sirindhorn was denied entry to a famous Hindu temple in Bhubaneshwar in Eastern India because she was a foreigner and a Buddhist! (Stephen)

28. The Mien are the only hill tribe to have a written language. (El Charro)

If you know any great facts, pls do comment! Or post them on the Paknam Web Forums if you are a member.