Thailand is not just beaches and elephants. It has a long storied history and a very rich culture. We loved riding a long boat through the waterways of the Chao Phraya River, climbing the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya, and the more modern temples in Bangkok.
Here are a few fun facts that I learned!
- If you find a white elephant you must present it to the royal family where it will live out the rest of his life in luxury. White elephants are considered sacred a sign of virtue and wealth.
- At almost every building or house you will see a miniature, highly decorative shrine in front of it. These are called spirit houses and are designed to provide shelter for the spirit’s of a previous building’s occupants.
- Transgenders (or kathoeys) are considered the third gender in Thailand. They are widely accepted into society and I can tell you for myself that their contouring skills would put any Kardashian to shame. The average sex change operation (male to female) cost is approximately $8,000.
- Chang and Eng, two of the most famous Siamese twins are from Thailand (originally called the Kingdom of Siam). After they joined the PT Barnum Circus they adopted the name “Bunker” and became American citizens. They married two sisters and had 21 children in total.
- The sky’s the limit when it comes to ice cream toppings. Think: sticky rice, sweet potato, corn kernels, water chestnuts, pumpkin, red beans, gooseberries, and mung beans!