- “The Beach” was filmed there
That’s right, the world famous Danny Boyle film The Beach was filmed in Thailand. Filming took place on Koh Phi Phi Lee, an island of the Phi Phi archipelago belonging to the Krabi province.
Filming on the island attracted some controversy as the Fox production team bulldozed and rearranged the beach to make it more like a “paradise”. Interestingly enough a 2004 tsunami improved the look of Maya bay after the high waves removed the artificial landscaping.
The island is now part of the Phi Phi National Park, since 2007 visitors have been subject to an entry charge of 200baht (approximately £3.60). There are two routes into the island, you can either sail around to the bay or take a more active route. You jump from a boat, swim to the cliffs and climb a rope ladder to get onto the island.
- Bangkok is the world’s most visited city
Bangkok has been described as a haven to backpackers and travellers, particularly a street called Khao San Road. Last year Bangkok beat out London for the top spot destination for international visitors in the Global Destination Cities Index; approximately 16 million tourists from around the world head to the city en route to the country’s various islands, beaches and general attractions.
Tourism is the biggest industry in Thailand so naturally this is incredibly welcome news. It is worth noting however that the figures are likely to change this year. On the 22nd of May the Thai Military force declared martial law to keep control of a destabilizing political situation. Naturally this caused a dip in travel however reports say that the figures are now recovering.
- It is illegal to step on Thai currency (criticizing the monarchy)
This interesting little fact I got to experience on my travels out there. Someone dropped a 500baht note that was caught by the wind; they ran over to it motioning to trap it with their foot. Immediately a frantic man ran over gesticulating wildly shouting “No! No! Don’t do it”, followed by a soldier. The man bent down and picked up the note for the traveller. He explained to us that all Thai money carries the King’s face, stepping on it is seen as an act of disrespect.
In Thailand it is actually illegal to criticize the monarchy. The rule applies to citizens and travellers to the country. Feet are traditionally seen as lowly in Thailand, they symbolize a connection to the ground. This combination in the form of stepping on a coin or banknote is therefore seen as highly offensive.
- Large Things
Thailand is home to several notable record holding large things. The world’s largest species of fish, The Whale Shark (Rhincodon Typus), is often spotted by divers off the coast of Thailand. Thailand is home to the largest gold Bhuddha in the world, it stands at 9.8ft tall, it is worth noting that 90% of the Thai population is Buddhist.
Thailand has previously held the record for the world’s largest restaurant and the world’s tallest hotel; it has now been replaced by Syria and Dubai respectively.
- Bangkok’s full name is too long to be tweeted
Bangkok’s real name is “Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit”. The translation is “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”.