If you’ve ever visited Thailand you may have found yourself quickly becoming enthralled with the Thai culture. The culture in Thailand has very distinct qualities that set it apart from western culture. From the warm, friendly, and open smiles of its people to the national religion of Buddhism, Thailand will inspire any visitor to learn more about the Thai culture, its people, and the Thai language.
Thailand is often called “the land of smiles” because Thai people always seem to have a smile on their face. While it’s true that Thai people are friendly, visitors will be surprised to find out that a smile does not always equate to happiness. In Thai culture different smiles can mean anything from pleasure to anger, and most of the time you won’t be aware of any negativity because the culture also promotes avoiding conflict and “saving face.”
In addition to smiles, Thailand is well-known for the Buddhist statues found all over the country. Buddhism is the national religion and over 90 percent of Thai people practice it. It is common to see Buddhist monks in traditional robes walking everywhere. If you truly want to learn Thai getting acquainted with the basics of the Buddhist religion is not a bad idea. Of course you do not have to convert to a Buddhist to learn how to speak Thai, but understanding the religion will go a long way in understanding the country.
Saying hello, or sawadee-ka, in Thai generally consists of performing the Thai greeting called Wai. To practice Wai, hold your hands together and bring them up just under your chin. Together with a slight head nod, Wai is the Thai language equivalent of saying hello, goodbye, or any other type of greeting.
Learning about Thai culture is a good complement to learning how to speak Thai. You will gain a deep appreciation for the language, and may even be inspired to take your studies further. If you are looking for a language course, a Thai podcast may be just what you need. Busy individuals find it easy to fit podcast lessons into their hectic schedules. Thaipod 101 also offers additional tools to help you learn Thai more quickly such as Thai dictionaries. In addition, you will find a number of articles relating to Thai culture topics such as traditional fashion, history, and food. A podcast can be the key you need to make learning Thai fun.