The Thai ethnolinguistic peoples are spread across many countries in Asia, mostly in the South East, Indochina as well as parts of China and India. There are regional variations in language though tourists from elsewhere in the world on Indochina travel packages may notice little difference. Thailand has more than ethnic Thais but they are the predominant proportion of the population and generally followers of TheravadaBuddhism.
It is thought that today’s Thais moved south out of China many centuries ago. Initially living in what is now Northern Thailand, centred on modern day Chiang Mai they again moved south. Some others came from the west, today’s India, and the mix that was created by adding Mon and Khmer is today’s Thai citizen, racially mixed and not of any typical stature.
There were plenty of changes over the centuries and the idea of Thailand as it is today is a fairly new concept, certainly 20th Century. While there were plenty of struggles, Thailand never had a colonial master.
Thailand has a population of around 60 million with regional groupings such as those living in the central areas, the Isaan in the east close to Laos, the Lanna and the Southern Thai. Government is in the centre of the country which is the starting point for most Thailand family holidays.
Buddhist predominantly there is widespread belief in spirits and folklore and much has been interwoven into their religion. They value their culture, dress and customs. Dance, chess, shadow play and kick boxing are typical activities and those taking a Thailand holiday are likely to have the opportunity to see some of these activities, especially if they are visiting during a traditional festival, of which there are many.
One thing that typifies South East Asia is the naturally friendly people. Thais may be a racial mix over centuries but one common trait everywhere is that friendliness. Thailand is known as the ‘’Land of Smiles’’; there is no need to be reserved except overt displays of affection are not really acceptable. That doesn’t include smiling of course.
You will meet many people on the street during your Thailand travel. Some are trying to make a living, others travelling somewhere else. All of them have good intentions and it is important to respect that. If at all possible, avoid conflict and be polite. Many will have risen far earlier than you; they are an industrious people and though life is hard at times, particularly in rural areas, they rarely complain.
In remote areas, things have changed little over many generations. There are many small ethnic groups who live much as their forefathers have, relying on their crops, their traditions and the shaman. MostThailand tour packages will include at least a little time in such areas where you can learn more about daily life. What you can be certain of is that everyone will smile if you smile, work hard, and celebrate at the slightest opportunity. Memories of the Thai people enriches any holiday experience.