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How to retire in Hua Hin, Thailand

Thailand has been a dream retirement destination for many people – and for a good reason! Beside magnificent scenery, rich culture, and delicious cuisine; the cost of living in Thailand is much more affordable in comparison to most of the western countries. In other words, your hard-earned pension can go a longer way. Hot and sunny weather, friendly people and plenty of white-sandy beaches to relax on; sounds interesting? If yes, continue reading this article and find out what it takes to retire in Hua Hin , Thailand!

What is the average monthly cost of living in Hua Hin, Thailand?

In general, it is estimated that cost of living in Thailand is between 30 – 40 % more affordable in comparison to U.S or majority of the European countries. In terms of monthly budget, the 50,000 THB (1,500 USD) would be enough for living reasonably, while 65,000 THB (2,000 USD) would allow you to live more comfortably. Those who could afford to live on a budget of 4,000 USD to 5,000 USD (130,000 THB – 160,000 THB), would be able to afford quite a luxurious lifestyle.

A one-bedroom apartment close to or in Hua Hin centre averages around $370 –  460$ (12,000 – 15,000 THB) per month for rent, while two-three bedroom would cost between $470 – $780. (16,000 – 25,000 THB), depending on location and facilities. Houses can range from 600 USD (20,000 THB) up to 1,500 USD (50,000 THB) per month, depending on location, size, and features such as private swimming pool etc.

Follow this link to view a more detailed breakdown of living cost in Hua Hin, Thailand: Cost of Living in Hua Hin Thailand

What is a better option for expat retirees: To rent or To buy?

If you plan to retiree in Thailand for long-term, you will need a place to stay. It is not difficult to find a suitable property due to a large choice of condominiums, houses, townhouses, or pool villas. However, the most important step in finding your new ‘home away from home’ is to answer a fundamental question; are you going to rent or buy? That decision has both financial and lifestyle implications. Read our article below on whether to rent to or to buy a property in Hua Hin, as well as Pros and Cons of both: Buying vs Renting a Property in Hua Hin

Getting an Initial Retirement Visa for Thailand

In order to retire in Thailand, you will need to get a retirement visa, also known as a Non-Immigrant Long Stay Visa. This can be done in Thailand or at an Embassy in your home country, and the process is fairly simple. People who are eligible for a retirement visa have to be at least 50 years old, have a valid passport that doesn’t expire for at least one year and lastly, fulfil one of the financial requirements:

a) Open a Thai bank account with at least 800,000 baht (about $24,500)

b) Or have a monthly income or pension of at least 65,000 baht (about $2,000)

c) Or combination of the previous options, if they bring your total funds to at least 800,000 baht ($24,500)

For the first option a), you will need to have the money in the account for at least 2 months prior to applying for a visa and provide a letter from the bank showing the proof of deposit.

After getting the retirement visa, it is valid of one year, however you will still need to report every 90 days to the immigration office, otherwise the visa may become invalid. The retirement visa also does not allow you to work, and not even volunteer, as special permits are required for labor.

When leaving or re-entering the country, you will also need a Re-entry visa before your departure. One way would be to get immediately a multiple entry visa when applying or extending your yearly retirement visa, or you can visit the immigration office and get a single re-entry visa for each individual trip. The process is very simple and requires an application form, recent photo as well as a 1,000 THB fee.

Once the retirement visa comes close to expiration, you will need to apply for an extension. The process is very similar to the initial application with additional requirements such as proof of address, copies of bank statements and copies of passports.

Healthcare in Thailand

Healthcare in Thailand is excellent and much more affordable than in western countries, however it should be factored into your budgeting. There is no public health care insurance for expats in Thailand, therefore you need to have your own health insurance.

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Family activities to do in Hua Hin, Thailand

Hua Hin is frequently visited by families with children, and like most places in Thailand, there are many activities. The challenging part is to find family activities in Hua Hin, which are entertaining for children as well. For this reason, we included 5 interesting things to do and place to visit in Hua Hin and surrounding area.

Cicada & Tamarind markets

Night markets can be a lot of fun for both children and parents. The famous Cicada market is well know for theatre performances and small concerts. There, you can find handy craft items, artwork, souvenir shops and delicious street food.

Within short walking distance from the Cicada, you will discover the Tamarind market. Furthermore, Tamarind market is more oriented towards the culinary experience with live music. It has a concept of an open market with variety of food stalls. Since the market is settled in a very natural environment, it has a cozy laid-back feel to it.

Both markets are located only short walking distance from each other. Therefore, it is a good idea to visit both of them in the same night. We would suggest starting with Tamarind market due to a larger variety of food choices. Followed by visiting the Cicada market and enjoy the multiple entertainment venues and shopping areas.

Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park

Sam Roi Yot national park is a perfect place for a family day trip. It is located on the coast of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, some 60 kilometers south of Hua Hin. Its famous for its magnificent mountain peaks, hence the name Sam Roi Yot, which translates to ‘The Mountain with Three Hundred Peaks’. The main attraction, however, is the Sam Phraya beach and Phraya Nakhon Cave with its iconic royal pavilion and huge chamber. The beach and the cave can be reached by a boat from the neighboring Bang Pu Beach or by hiking along the mountain, which will reward you with stunning views.

Khao Tao Reserve

One of the most peaceful and relaxing areas of Hua Hin is Khao Tao reserve, located some 12 kilometers from town center. There you can find two secluded beaches (Khao Tao and Sai Noi), beautiful Thai and Chinese Buddhist temples, a freshwater lake with 2-kilometre walkway around it and plenty of restaurants with both Thai and Foreign cuisine. Ideal place for a relaxing day away from the tourist crowds. In addition, Pranburi Forest Park featuring amazing mangrove forest is located close to Khao Tao and is definitely worth visiting.

Hua Hin Hills Vineyard

Yes, that’s right, Hua Hin has a vineyard which is home to an award-winning Monsoon Valley wine. Situated some 45 minutes’ drive from Hua Hin, the vineyard is set between the mountain ranges with continuous stretches of grape vines. There is a restaurant on site, with amazing food paired with their delicious wines. The vineyards can be toured with a bicycle ride and there is an elephant on site. During the harvest season (mid-February to March), it is possible to participate in activities such field harvest and grape crushing, accompanied with live Jazz music.

Zaithong Organic Farm and Caffe

Zaithong Organic Farm and Caffe, located on the outskirts of Hua Hin towards the Pak Nam Pran area, offers a variety of fresh and organic products from hydroponic salads, free range chicken eggs, tropical fruits, Thai and Western herbs and much more. Additionally, there is a cafe on site offering freshly brewed coffee, natural juices, homemade ice-cream and local Thai dishes. The farm is designed in park type setup, which makes it very cozy to walk through, relax on the swings or benches and enjoy the scenery. Visitor can grab the basket and pick their own products, including free range chicken eggs.  Great place for kids and amazing source of healthy food.

Choices of foreign cuisine in Hua Hin, Thailand

The foreign cuisine in Hua Hin is not only available, but highly present. Choices ranges from the seafood restaurants by the beach to fine dining. fast food, baked goods, real Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Mediterranean, French, Italian, and other European cuisines. Many expats who started food related businesses brought their native style of cooking and enhanced the overall choice of foreign cuisine in Hua Hin. Together with Thai dishes, you will never get bored with the variety of food in Hua Hin. Those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet can enjoy visiting organic farms, some of which have a restaurant and a café on site, such as Zaithong Organic Hydrofarm & Café.

There are plenty of upscale dining options available at hotels, resorts and specialty eateries serving top-quality food. Famous fast-food brands such as KFC, Burger King or McDonald’s, can be found around town center, shopping malls and generally popular areas of Hua Hin. Restaurants usually close around 10 pm. 7-Eleven as well as Family Marts are open 24/7. They can be found in every neighborhood.

The advantages of living in Hua Hin, Thailand

Hua Hin was a quiet fishing village that rose to popularity during 1920s. Hua Hin became known, when the Royal Family decided to build a summer residence there. The reason for choosing Hua Hin is simple. Conveniently located on the sea side, only 200 kilometers from Bangkok and has the best weather in Thailand. Hua Hin’s very pleasant average annual temperature is making it a perfect beach getaway or a retirement destination. You can read more about it in our article: The Weather in Hua Hin – Made To Enjoy All Year Round! In comparison to other popular beach resort towns, Hua Hin has a very laidback feel to it, with all the modern conveniences. This makes Hua Hin a very desirable location for not only holidays, but also as a second home. Read more below about the advantages of living in Hua Hin, Thailand.

Retirement in Hua Hin

There are several reasons why Hua Hin is an ideal retirement destination. Even though it is a small city, Hua Hin has a lot to offer. Here you will find world-class golf courses, modern shopping malls and well-maintained infrastructure. Not to mention the sandy beaches, which are great for relaxation under the sun.

Furthermore, international grocery shops offer a large selection of products from all over the world. There are also plenty of dining options with large variety of different cuisines. In other words, there is something for everyone’s taste. Fresh local produce is available daily at the local markets, with extremely affordable prices.

Healthcare facilities in Hua Hin are excellent, with many doctors being fluent in English, making it easier for expats to communicate. Even though there are quite many expats residing in Hua Hin, it is still a lovely mixture of traditional Thai lifestyle with conveniences of the Western world.

Lifestyle in Hua Hin

As mentioned earlier, Hua Hin is very suitable for retirement. However, that doesn’t mean that living in Hua Hin would be uneventful. Large expat population, contributed to the variety of sporting and social activities available to Hua Hin’s residents. The most popular sports include tennis, pickleball, squash, golf, kitesurfing, badminton, Muay Thai and more. Meditation and yoga retreats are great for relaxation, while visiting many of the Hua Hin’s gyms and fitness centers is a good way to lead a healthy lifestyle. For those who enjoy cycling, there are hundreds of kilometers of bicycle lanes. Additionally, there are plenty of forest parks, national parks and viewpoints for those who are more into hiking and trekking. Hua Hin also hosts numerous cultural and sporting events across the whole calendar year, as well as festivals. Most notable events include Loy Krathong, Songkran (Thai New Year), International Kite Festival, Jazz Festival on the beach, international tennis tournaments, Kite Surfing competitions, marathons and triathlons, grand opera in the park, food festivals, Harvest at the Vineyard and much more.

Getting Around Hua Hin

Hua Hin is located about 200 kilometres from Bangkok, and can be easily reached by car, bus or a train. Currently, there are plans to improve Hua Hin’s connectivity to Bangkok and southern part of Thailand. The projects include airport expansion with plans to offer more local and international flights in the near future, expansion of the railway and improved, faster trains. At the moment, Hua Hin has an international airport with Air Asia offering direct flights between Hua Hin and Kuala Lumpur (KL), and from there, to the rest of the world. To get around town is relatively simple with abundance of local busses (songthaew), taxis and famous tuk-tuk’s. Car and motorcycle rentals are most commonly used for holiday makers, while expats who stay long-term prefer to have their own vehicle.

Climate in Hua Hin

Hua Hin has an average yearly temperature of 27.1 °C or 80.7 ° F, averaging in the daytime between 29 °C to 34 °C, with refreshing cool breezes. Most pleasant is the dry season, starting from December until March, followed by very hot, monsoon season that arrives in April. Rainy season begins around June and lasts until August, with more heavier rainfalls from September until November. However, don’t let the rainy season scare you as, Hua Hin is one of the driest places in Thailand. In other words, most of the days are nice and pleasant, with occasional rain shower that cools things down a bit.

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Cost of living in Hua Hin, Thailand

Visiting Hua Hin as a tourist and living here permanently are two very different lifestyles. Over the years, Hua Hin has grown into a cozy little beach town with all the conveniences of the modern world. Hua Hin has a laid back lifestyle, amazing weather through the year and abundance of natural beauty. It’s no wonder some of the visitors wish to make Hua Hin their permanent residence.

When deciding to relocate or planning on How to retire in Hua Hin, it is important to research the average cost of living in Hua Hin. This helps with planning the initial budget needed for relocation, and determine an average monthly cost of living in Hua Hin, needed for the desired lifestyle.

One of the main factors is housing. It is important to determine what would be the better option for you; to buy a property in Hua Hin, or to rent a property. Need more help on this topic? Read our article here: Entering the Hua Hin Property Debate: To Rent or Buy?

Below, we’ve included a list of average prices in Hua Hin, Thailand. This should help you get a general idea on how much do you need to retire in Hua Hin.

For more up to date results on cost of living in Hua Hin, please visit Numbeo.com.

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Education options for your child in Hua Hin, Thailand

Moving to live in an unfamiliar country can be a daunting task.  There are many factors to be assessed and each seems more important than the others.  Apart from finding and establishing your personal home; issues such as safety, health care, insurance and recreational opportunities may be high on the agenda.

For expatriate parents with school age children, the process gets more complicated as ensuring quality education often takes top spot on their list of priorities.  Choosing a suitable school for your child is possibly one of the hardest decisions you’ll have to make as a parent when relocating overseas.  So much depends on individuality so it’s hard to provide a definitive guide to choosing a school.

There are many quality education options around Hua Hin for expats.  As each family set-up and each child is different, there is no ‘one-school-fits-all’ solution even within ‘generic’ international schools.

What is An International School?

An international school is an educational facility that operates outside of the normal state system of any given country.  Originally set up for the children of expatriates, these schools teach an international curriculum and have international values reflected in their mission statements and teaching ethos.

International schools in Thailand adopt either an international curriculum or the national curriculum of another country.  This makes them the school of choice for expat parents, who are reassured that their children can resume their education with minimal disruption should they return to their home country.

For children who are on the move around the globe, international schools provide a form of stability.  Their values and teaching will be similar wherever they are in the world so it’s easier to transition from one International School to another in very different locations.   Instruction is almost always in English but the curriculum is tweaked to suit an ethnic diversity.

Another fast growing school type is local schools, serving a local populace, yet encouraging international students. Their curriculum is broadly similar to the host country but heavily modified to include many subjects delivered in English.  These schools, despite the English language in many lessons, are considered immersive in nature; the overall language, culture and format is that of the host country.

Sometimes parents put too much emphasis on trying to find a ‘good’ education options in Hua Hin. This is very hard to judge as a parent as it depends on the curriculum, the teachers and differs from class to class and from child to child, even within the same family.  What is most important is that your child is happy; a happy child learns, regardless of the school’s reputation.

What to Consider

Length of Stay

Do you intend to stay permanently in Thailand or will you be moving elsewhere in the future?  If you will be returning to your home country it makes sense to choose a school running a curriculum that ties in with your home country’s system.

While most children tend to be resilient and adjust well when moving schools, a change of curriculum can prove challenging and may impact on their future success.

If you are here permanently, a local school may be the best option for you and your child. This is especially important if they need to learn a new language, as full immersion seems the best way to achieve this.

Doing Your Research

The obvious place to start is the internet, but school websites naturally place an incredibly positive spin on their school.  Ask around for recommendations if at all possible.  Speak to colleagues, other parents and call on anyone who has a connection to that potential school.  Mixing internet research AND word of mouth can be augmented by asking on online forums or chat groups.

Age of the Children

Young children are more adaptable and flexible than older children who have already settled into a particular school system. At that age the most important thing is getting into the school spirit, learning to learn and learning to socialize.

If you have more than one child, it will, of course, be preferable to get them into the same school.  That isn’t always possible, so this is something else to take into account when making your decision.

Travelling From Your Residence

How far away from you home is the school?  Would you be able to get there easily in case of an emergency?  Will you be able to attend activities that invite family participation?

Another factor to consider is that your child may not have friends close to home if the school is too far away.  If it’s a long way from your home, you may find your child is unable to socialise locally and may be unhappy outside of school hours for this reason.

What Are the Education Options in Hua Hin?

Individual schools are all different so look carefully at the culture behind each international school on offer, considering what sort of educational experience you want your child to have.  It’s all well and good to choose your ideal school, but be sure the individual school can live up to your expectations.

Our list of Hua Hin international schools shows the schools most often chosen by ex-pat families in Hua Hin.  The information provided has been sourced from the school websites and has not been confirmed or assessed by us.  The schools are presented in alphabetical order without any recommendations offered or implied.

It is vital to understand that it is not the end of the world if you choose a school that is not a good fit for your child. You can always change your mind if it’s not working out, and you shouldn’t be afraid to do so. Your child will adapt and it will not ruin their life to change schools.

UNIVERSITY STUDIES?

If tertiary studies are on the Thailand agenda, Hua Hin also has that covered with two international universities.  This could be a great way to have older teenage or young adult members of the family spend quality time overseas or even a mature aged parental Degree or Masters could be considered. 

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Thai Cuisine – 4 Regional styles of cooking

Thai food is in top 5 most popular cuisines in the world, together with Indian, Chinese, French and Italian. When visiting Thailand, trying local food is a must. Thai food has a special unique blend of the 5 tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and spicy. Currently there are 4 distinct styles of cooking in Thailand, depending on which part you are visiting. In this article, we listed 4 regional styles of Thai cuisine you should try.

History

Thai food originated with the people who emigrated from the southern Chinese provinces into modern day Thailand many centuries ago. Throughout the history, there were many influences that shaped the Thai cuisine. In more distant past there were Szechwan influences, followed by Buddhist monks who brought the Indian touch to it and created the style of the southern cooking. Much later, after establishing the contact with Europeans, Thai food was enriched with the spices from Portuguese and Dutch traders, as well as Japanese cuisine. Today, Thai food is its own and offers unique blend of five tastes, with each region having its own style.

Northern cuisine

Northern cooking style is commonly milder in comparison to the rest of Thailand. Sticky rice is mostly preferred, and there is a strong Burmese influence which can be seen in popular dishes such as Kaeng Hang Le, pork flavoured curry with ginger, turmeric and tamarind.

North-eastern cuisine

The food in north-eastern region is mostly influenced by Laos cuisine and is generally very spicy. Even though nowadays dishes contain plenty of meat, in the past the meat was not often available in the villages, where mostly shrimp and fresh-water fish were consumed. These were often fermented to increase their shelf life.

Central cuisine

The central region offers cuisine that is a mixture between the north and south. What makes the central region cuisine distinctive, is that it is home to royal cuisine. This type of cooking which originated in the royal palace involves much more elaborate meals, put together with complex techniques. It is more of an art form than just regular cooking.

Southern cuisine

Southern cuisine is the most popular outside of Thailand due to it’s region being a main tourist destination of the country. It is common for southern cuisine to use coconut milk in many dishes, as well as lots of seafood.

In the next article, we will cover the availability of Foreign food in Hua Hin, and different types of foreign cuisine.

5 Important things to watch out for when buying a property in Hua Hin, Thailand

When first inspecting the home, the buyers often tend to compare the selected property for sale in Hua Hin, to their wish list. In other words, the focus is on the layout, size of the indoor and outdoor area, overall condition of the property etc. However, some details may be overlooked when viewing the home for the first time. For that reason, it is advisable to conduct a deeper inspection before making a buying decision. Below, we listed 5 important things to look out for when buying a villa, condo or other property for sale in Hua Hin, Thailand.

1. Cracks in the wall

Small hairline cracks are usually nothing to worry about, however some larger cracks may indicate structural issues. Noticing a crack in the wall is expectedly not a pleasant feeling, but it should not scare you away. It is recommended to have a deeper look into the issue. It’s important to determine whether it’s an easy fix or a sign of a more serious problem. If it turns out that the issue is easy to resolve, you may use the cracks to bargain on the sales price of the property.

2. Water damage concealed by paint

If you notice a freshly repainted area, be aware of the leaks. In case the water damaged area has been concealed with paint, this could trap the moisture in the walls or ceilings. Also, pay close attention to the underside of the drawers and sinks in the kitchen and underneath the windowsills. These areas are most prone to water damage. Additionally, inspect the base of the bathtubs and toilets. If you see a sign of recent repairs, ask for more details on what was the issue and what kind of repair was done to it.

3. Uneven or bouncy floors

When inspecting a home, always bring a bubble/spirit level with you and check the floors in different areas of the property. Some houses and villas for sale may have fairly uneven floors, which are not noticeable at first sight. With newly built houses, this could be the cause of costly repairs in the future after the foundation has settled, depending on how much work has to be done and how big of an area has been affected.

Older houses and villas for sale in Hua Hin that had a chance to settle over time, might have slightly uneven floors which is natural and barely noticeable. The advantage of buying an older property is the ability to see the quality of the construction. In other words, if the foundation and overall structure are perfectly fine after some years, it is safe to say that the property was well built.

In fact, an older home where the foundation has settled may be safer than a new home where the earth has not yet had a chance to adjust.

Ask the previous homeowner or a property developer if they have done something to bolster up the foundation.

4. Beware of room fresheners and music

If the house you’re inspecting has been staged with scented candles or other similar products, it could be a sign of covering up a bad smell. Pay close attention to the areas of the house in which the scenting devices are located and inspect further. It could be a leaky pipe, clogged drains, mold, sewage, dog or pet pee etc. The same applies to music. Sure, the purpose of the music could be to enhance the viewing experience, however it could also be a cover up for regular noise.

5. Construction Permits

You should always compare the original master plan for which the construction permit has been issued, with the current state of the property. If there has been any additional construction or improvements, make sure to ask the owners for additional documentation that proves the legality of the structures. If some minor changes have been made that don’t require a construction permit, make sure you have it inspected for safety purposes. One of the main reasons why owners cut corners sometimes and don’t apply for the construction permit is due to cost, time and higher property taxes.

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Healthy lifestyle activities in Hua Hin, Thailand

Over the years, Hua Hin’s population has kept expanding, which resulted in higher demand for sports facilities and activities to cater the healthy lifestyle. Today, there are plenty of options to choose from. Whether you are looking for more relaxed activities to stay in shape or extreme sports, Hua Hin has it all. There are even a few notable sporting events held in Hua Hin, such as the Kite Boarding World Cup, International Beach Polo matches, PGA golfing tournaments and several international tennis friendlies. Below, we listed some of the most popular activities in Hua Hin to lead a healthy lifestyle.

WATER SPORTS

One of the main attractions of Hua Hin are its beaches, which is why it’s no surprise that there are many water sports and other activities available. Visitors can rent a jet skii and take a ride on the sea or choose a more slower option and rent a kayak. For those interested in something more adventurous, you can try parasailing and kitesurfing. In addition, many beaches have volleyball nets where locals and fellow expats often join for a friendly volleyball game on the beach. This can be very entertaining and a great way to meet new people. Beside the sea and beach related activities, there are a few water parks in Hua Hin that offer wakeboarding and water skiing among water slides. They are not only fun for children, but adults as well.

GOLF

It is impossible not to mention golf when talking about activities in Hua Hin. There is an abundance of golf courses in Hua Hin and it’s surrounding areas. Beside more affordable options, Hua Hin has several well-known world-class golf courses, which attract many golf enthusiasts and professional players each year. For many, golfing options and diversity is one of the main reasons for choosing Hua Hin as their retirement destination, or a second home.

CYCLING & MOUNTAIN BIKING

Cycling has become one of the most popular activities in Hua Hin, with the construction of new cycling tracks all over the city and beyond. There are also specialized cycling tour guides for both groups and individuals that will take you around the city or even to further locations such Sam Roi Yot national park, Monsoon Valley vineyards of Hua Hin and more.

MARTIAL ARTS & FITNESS

Thailand is well known for it’s martial arts and there are many gyms available in Hua Hin, with focus on Muay Thai or Thai Kick Boxing. Some of the former champions and stadium fighters offer classes, which is a great way to learn how to defend yourself or simply stay in shape. The selection of gyms and fitness centers varies from small neighborhood gyms to high-level fitness facilities.

BALL GAMES

Tennis, football/soccer, squash, badminton, pickleball, snooker, bowling, you name it, Hua Hin has a wide range of ball related sports for you to choose from. This is not only a good way to stay physically healthy, but also to meet new friends. There are numerous clubs or groups for each sport, consisting of both Thai and expat players. Quick search on Facebook will result in many groups where you can join and establish the initial contact with people interested in the same activity.

MEDITATION & YOGA

If you are looking for meditation or yoga classes, you will be pleased to hear that Hua Hin has several options for you. Many hotels, wellness & spa, as well as independent retreats, offer classes in meditation, yoga, reiki, tai-chi, pilates and more.

7 Fun facts about Thailand

Thailand is known to the world for its beautiful white-sandy beaches, friendly local community and amazing food, however there are some exciting and fascinating things about Thailand, you may never heard of. In this article we listed 7 interesting and fun facts about Thailand.

1. Fish that can walk on land

The blind, waterfall-climbing cavefish or Cryptotora thamicola is one of the most unusual fish species in the world. What’s pretty unique about it, is its skeletal adaptations for walking, which have never been observed on other sort of fish before. It uses it’s two front and two back fins to crawl, as any other four-footed animal would. Another fun fact; it’s distant relative is commonly known, pet goldfish.

2. All Thai men used to become Buddhist monks

Becoming a Buddhist monk was a tradition which required all men under the age of twenty, to experience the monkhood for at least a short period of time, regardless of their social rankings. This ritual was never a national requirement, but rather a choice which was very common among Buddhist families. It is believed that obtaining monkhood brings good karma to the man’s family. For that reason, it is considered a very blessed event. Nowadays there are a fewer number of men fulfilling this tradition in comparison to past times, however it is still a very common practice.

3. Touching someone’s head is considered disrespectful

Head is the most sacred part of the human body in Thai culture. For that reason, nobody should ever touch another person’s head, including children. The respect and acknowledgment is shown in Thai culture by bowing their heads lower than anyone who is older or has a higher status. On the contrary, the feet are considered lowly as they represent the human suffering and struggle, due to being the lowest part of the body. For this reason, Thais usually tuck their feet under the body when sitting down as the feet shouldn’t point towards another person, statue or temple.

4. Bangkok’s ceremonial name is one of the longest names in the world

Bangkok is a well-known for being the capital city of Thailand, and one of the most visited cities on the planet. However, most people are not aware of Bangkok’s full ceremonial name, which is one of the longest in the world. Are you ready? Here it goes.

Bangkok’s full ceremonial name is, ‘Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit.’, which translates to ‘City of angels, great city of immortals, magnificent city of the nine gems, seat of the king, city of royal palaces, home of gods incarnate, erected by Visvakarman at Indra‘s behest.’

5. The first known Siamese twins were born in Thailand

On 11th of May 1811, Chang and Eng Bunker were born, the world’s first known conjoined twins. They were born in the Kingdom of Siam near today’s Bangkok, which lead to the name Siamese Twins. During their lifetime the twins got married to two different women, who were also sisters and they each fathered more than 10 children. At the beginning they all lived together and shared a bed big enough for all four people, however over time the two separate households were established. The Siamese brothers then ended up spending three consecutive nights at each home until their death in 1874.

6. Thailand is the birthplace of Red Bull

One of the most famous drinks in the world Red Bull, originates from Thailand. From 1976, the Chaleo Yoovidhy was selling Krating Daeng, sweet and uncarbonated energy drink, sold throughout Thailand and Asia. Later in 1987, Dietrich Mateschitz an Austrian entrepreneur made a partnership proposal to modify the ingredients to better suit the Western taste, and brand it under the name Red Bull.

7. Thailand is the only country in South-East Asia that has never been colonised under European power

The name Thailand in the Thai language is Prathet Thai, which directly translates to ‘Land of the Free’. Thais take great pride in the fact that Thailand is the sole country in the whole of South-East Asia to never have been colonized by any European nation. Taking in consideration that only very few countries in the world have managed to escape the European rule, this in itself is a huge accomplishment.

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