Whether you’ve already booked a Phi Phi island tour or you’re just interested in learning some trivia, knowing weird things about cultures and places is an excellent way to start a conversation.
Thailand is one of the most visited countries in the world, with projected tourists per annum to clock 40 million in the coming years. But then, apart from being known as the “Land of Smiles” and being notorious for Bangkok’s red light district, what else does Thailand have up its sleeves?
Thailand has a David Beckham Temple.
One of the things Thailand is famous for is having a lot of temples. The country is host to over 10,000 temples. However, the most amusing of these temples is one dedicated to former LA Galaxy soccer player, David Beckham.
The Wat Pariwas Temple is a Buddhist temple in Bangkok’s Chinatown with an image of David Beckham. The sculpture was created by Thongruang Haemhod, and is depicted as a garuda or a guardian demon. The creator added it to the temple because he believed soccer was a new religion.
There is, however, no report that Beckham himself has set foot in this place of worship.
Thailand is the home of Siamese cats…and twins.
Formerly known as the Kingdom of Siam, Thailand is the proud country of origin of Siamese cats. These beautiful feline creatures are one of the oldest cat breeds to have been domesticated. They are seen as a sign of good luck in Thailand and are often given as wedding gifts to brides.
In other Siamese news, Thailand was also home to the first recorded Siamese twins, i.e., conjoined twins. Chang and Eng Bunker were born on the 11th of May, 1811, joined at the chest. They went on to live until the age of 63 and fathered an astonishing 21 kids.
There’s a yearly festival for monkeys.
Thai people have a very unique and respectful relationship with animals. The numerous ethical animal parks and conservations are proof of this. However, this festival takes that relationship to another level.
Every November, the Pra Prang Sam Yot Temple in Lopburi hosts the Lopburi Monkey Banquet. The festival involves the preparation of over two tonnes of food for the neighboring monkeys to feed on. The menu is pretty extensive, ranging from tropical fruits to grilled sausages, and even ice cream. The monkeys come in their numbers to partake, too, typically numbering over 600.
The festival is done as a way to thank the monkeys for being the main attraction for the city’s tourists. The locals also believe that they will be blessed with good luck from treating the monkeys well.
Thailand is a great place to travel to. From the exquisite cuisine to the friendly people, and even the wildlife, it makes for the perfect holiday destination. However, even the best places have their quirks. Thankfully, these aren’t bad quirks. If anything, they add to the mysticism and fun that Thailand and its people project.