Thailand is rightly renowned for its rich cultural heritage, crafted over 700 years. From the friendly earthiness of village life to high arts and performance, the myriad faces of Thai culture will charm and captivate you. Learn more about do’s & dont’s which are an integral part of Thai traditions, and have a look at our Cultural tips.
UNESCO World Heritage
Sukhothai, capital of the first Kingdom of Siam, comprises monuments, illustrating the beginnings of Thai architecture. This great civilisation absorbed numerous influences and ancient local traditions; the rapid assimilation of all these elements forged into what is known as the ‘Sukhothai style’.
Sri Satchanalai is a nearby site also worth the visit.
In 1350 Ayutthaya became the second Siamese capital and was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century. Its remains, characterised by eye-catching prang (reliquary towers) and gigantic monasteries, allow visitors to easily appreciate the scale of the city’s past splendour.
Ban Chiang, Udon Thani
Ban Chiang (1192) is considered the most important prehistoric settlement in South-East Asia. It marks an important stage in human cultural, social and technological evolution. The site presents the earliest evidence of farming in the region and of the manufacture and use of metals.
In addition to cultural and historical sites, Thai food, dance performance, arts and crafts and indeed a laid-back art of living are aspects of culture which visitors can experience every day.
Thais take food seriously! Every district of the country offers new, delicious taste combinations to savour. Thai favourites include Spicy Thai Soup with Prawns (Tom Yum Goong); Green Curry (Kaeng Kiow Wan); Spicy Papaya Salad (Som Tum). You’ll find many opportunities for taking a cooking class.
Thai Dance and Music
Classical Thai dance is influenced by the epics of Indian, Hindu civilisation, such as the Ramayana, adapted in Thai as the Ramakian. The National Theatre in Bangkok is a good place to see classic Thai performances such as Patravadi theatre display dance shows. At grass-roots level, there are unlimited choices varying from upbeat Thai country music (Luk Tung), passionate protest songs (Pua Chivit) to romantic “city songs” (Plaeng Sakon). In Chiang Mai, don’t miss “Huen Soontaree Vechanont”, where a living legend of Pleang Kum Muang (northern folk music) performs most evenings.
Travellers to Thailand can benefit immensely from learning about Buddhism with monks.. Buddhist teachings do not require adherence to any particular dogma. At the heart of Buddhism are a few simple, deep observations on life, which can help people to consider impermanence, the inherent dissatisfaction of desire, compassion, and the frailty of ego. This in turn can motivate a more balanced, less greedy and stressed life.
We have selected for you a number of temples where you can follow a 10-day meditation retreat, be aware a retreat is a difficult journey, not a holiday time.
….To Muay Thai
While the violence of a fight may not be attractive, Muay Thai is a discipline of concentration and self-control, interwoven with philosophy and art. The country’s best known Thai Boxing stadium is located on Ratchadamnoen road in Bangkok.