The largest of Thailand's minority languages is the Lao dialect of Isan spoken in the northeastern provinces. Although sometimes considered a Thai dialect, it is a Lao dialect, and the region where it is traditionally spoken was historically part of the Lao kingdom of Lan Xang. Varieties of Chinese are also spoken by the large Thai Chinese population, with the Teochew dialect best-represented.
Hmong is a member of the Hmong—Mien languages , which is now regarded as a language family of its own. English is a mandatory school subject, but the number of fluent speakers remains low, especially outside cities. Thailand's prevalent religion is Theravada Buddhism , which is an integral part of Thai identity and culture. Active participation in Buddhism is among the highest in the world. According to the census, Muslims constitute the second largest religious group in Thailand, comprising 4. Islam is concentrated mostly in the country's southernmost provinces: Pattani , Yala , Satun , Narathiwat , and part of Songkhla Chumphon , which are predominantly Malay , most of whom are Sunni Muslims.
Christians represented 1. There is also a small but historically significant Jewish community in Thailand dating back to the 17th century. According to the census,  67,, Thailand residents belonged to the following religious groups:. According to the census,  67,, Thailand residents by Region belonged to the following religious groups:. Health and medical care is overseen by the Ministry of Public Health MOPH , along with several other non-ministerial government agencies, with total national expenditures on health amounting to 4.
Non-communicable diseases form the major burden of morbidity and mortality, while infectious diseases including malaria and tuberculosis, as well as traffic accidents, are also important public health issues. The current Minister for Public Health is Prof. Emeritus Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, M. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. In December the interim parliament voted to legalize the use of cannabis for medical reasons.
Recreational use remained unlawful. The National Legislative Assembly had votes in favor of the amendment to the Narcotics Bill, while there were no nay votes and 13 abstentions. The vote makes Thailand the first Southeast Asian country to allow the use of medical marijuana. Thai culture has been shaped by many influences, including Indian, Lao, Burmese, Cambodian, and Chinese. Its traditions incorporate a great deal of influence from India, China, Cambodia, and the rest of Southeast Asia.
Thailand's national religion, Theravada Buddhism, is central to modern Thai identity. Thai Buddhism has evolved over time to include many regional beliefs originating from Hinduism , animism , as well as ancestor worship. Thus the year is BE in Thailand. Several different ethnic groups, many of which are marginalised, populate Thailand. Some of these groups spill over into Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia and have mediated change between their traditional local culture, national Thai, and global cultural influences.
Overseas Chinese also form a significant part of Thai society, particularly in and around Bangkok. Their successful integration into Thai society has allowed for this group to hold positions of economic and political power. Thai Chinese businesses prosper as part of the larger bamboo network , a network of overseas Chinese businesses operating in the markets of Southeast Asia that share common family and cultural ties. The traditional Thai greeting, the wai , is generally offered first by the younger of the two people meeting, with their hands pressed together, fingertips pointing upwards as the head is bowed to touch face to fingertips, usually coinciding with the spoken words "sawatdi khrap" for male speakers, and "sawatdi kha" for females.
The elder may then respond in the same way. Social status and position, such as in government, will also have an influence on who performs the wai first. For example, although one may be considerably older than a provincial governor, when meeting it is usually the visitor who pays respect first.
When children leave to go to school, they are taught to wai their parents to indicate their respect. The wai is a sign of respect and reverence for another, similar to the namaste greeting of India and Nepal. As with other Asian cultures, respect towards ancestors is an essential part of Thai spiritual practice. Thais have a strong sense of hospitality and generosity, but also a strong sense of social hierarchy. Seniority is paramount in Thai culture. Elders have by tradition ruled in family decisions or ceremonies.
Older siblings have duties to younger ones. Taboos in Thailand include touching someone's head or pointing with the feet, as the head is considered the most sacred and the foot the lowest part of the body. Thai cuisine blends five fundamental tastes: sweet, spicy, sour, bitter, and salty. Common ingredients used in Thai cuisine include garlic, chillies, lime juice, lemon grass, coriander , galangal , palm sugar, and fish sauce nam pla. The staple food in Thailand is rice, particularly jasmine variety rice also known as "hom Mali" rice which forms a part of almost every meal.
Thailand was long [ when? Thai society has been influenced in recent years by its widely available multi-language press and media. There are some English and numerous Thai and Chinese newspapers in circulation.
Most Thai popular magazines use English headlines as a chic glamour factor. Many large businesses in Bangkok operate in English as well as other languages. Thailand is the largest newspaper market in Southeast Asia with an estimated circulation of over 13 million copies daily in Even upcountry, out of Bangkok, the media flourish. For example, according to Thailand's Public Relations Department Media Directory —, the nineteen provinces of Isan , Thailand's northeastern region, hosted newspapers along with radio, TV, and cable.
Since then, another province, Bueng Kan, was incorporated, totalling twenty provinces. In addition, a military coup on 22 May led to severe state restrictions on all media and forms of expression.
There's an expression that many expats use to sum up the bizarre, outrageous and confusing things that can happen in Thailand; T.I.T. (This is. TIT (This is Thailand) has members. This is a group to post fun pictures of Thailand or a different side of Thailand, how it doesn't show up in.
Thailand generally uses the metric system , but traditional units of measurement for land area are used, and imperial units of measurement are occasionally used for building materials, such as wood and plumbing fixtures. Years are numbered as B. Buddhist Era in educational settings, civil service, government, contracts, and newspaper datelines. However, in banking, and increasingly in industry and commerce, standard Western year Christian or Common Era counting is the standard practice.
It incorporates kicks, punches, knees and elbow strikes in a ring with gloves similar to those used in Western boxing and this has led to Thailand gaining medals at the Olympic Games in boxing. Association football has overtaken muay Thai as the most widely followed sport in contemporary Thai society. Thailand national football team has played the AFC Asian Cup six times and reached the semifinals in The country has hosted the Asian Cup twice, in and in The edition was co-hosted together with Indonesia , Malaysia and Vietnam.
It is not uncommon to see Thais cheering their favourite English Premier League teams on television and walking around in replica kit.
Another widely enjoyed pastime, and once a competitive sport, is kite flying. Volleyball is rapidly growing as one of the most popular sports.
They have won the Asian Championship twice and Asian Cup once. By the success of the women's team, the men team has been growing as well. Sepak takraw is a form of this sport which is similar to volleyball.
The players must volley a ball over a net and force it to hit the ground on the opponent's side. It is also a popular sport in other countries in Southeast Asia. A rather similar game but played only with the feet is buka ball. Snooker has enjoyed increasing popularity in Thailand in recent years, with interest in the game being stimulated by the success of Thai snooker player James Wattana in the s.
Retrieved 19 September During Songkran on 13—15 April, traditional rituals as well as water fights take place throughout the city. While some institutes of tropical medicine have issued a swine flu warning for Thailand, and there have been occasional reports of avian flu in the country, it is insect-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and chikungunya that are actually a greater risk for the average resident. Bangkok initially served as a customs outpost with forts on both sides of the river, and was the site of a siege in in which the French were expelled from Siam. The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. Thailand has contributed troops to reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Worth of a Girl.
Rugby is also a growing sport in Thailand with the Thailand national rugby union team rising to be ranked 61st in the world. Thailand has been called the golf capital of Asia  as it is a popular destination for golf.
The country attracts a large number of golfers from Japan, Korea, Singapore, South Africa, and Western countries who come to play golf in Thailand every year. Basketball is a growing sport in Thailand, especially on the professional sports club level. Other sports in Thailand are slowly growing as the country develops its sporting infrastructure.