Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast Asia and possibly the world. Mass tourism to Thailand started in the 1960s when American soldiers fighting in Vietnam would travel there for their R & R (Rest and Recreation).
Due to Thailand relaxing their sex laws to cater to the needs of those American soldiers, it then became known as the sex tourism capital of the world, especially Bangkok the nation’s capital.
Although still used by some for sex tourism, today most of its visitors are in search of its many beautiful beaches and tropical islands. Thailand has 1430 small islands, many of which are ideal as tropical get-a-ways, with isolated sandy beaches and a tranquility rarely found elsewhere.
Thailand is fortunate to have two coastlines, one with the Andaman Sea and one with the Gulf of Thailand, both with adorable beaches exactly suited to tourism.
It has to be said though that one of the factors that helps to draw tourists to the county in such high numbers, is the people who are known for their friendliness and hospitality. This friendliness and hospitality can best be experienced if, before arriving, you take some time to learn a little of their language.
The Thai people are a proud people, with good reason as Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that never became under any European rule, even during Europe’s years of building Empires.
They are also proud of their King who is the longest ruling monarch in the world and has been on the throne and loved by his people since 1946. Lastly the Thai people are proud of their language which, although thought to have originated in China and having words shared with older languages, is unique to Thailand.
Like some other languages in Southeast Asia and the Chinese language itself, Thai is a tonal language which is a language which allows the same words to have different meanings is voiced in a different tone. There are 5 different tones used in Thai and in order to allow the written word to take these tones into account, there are 4 different tone markings.
Some say that Thai sounds very similar to Lao but the two are written differently and so are therefore different, making Thai unique. As the Thai people are proud of their language, they are always pleased to hear a foreigner speak it, even if they speak it badly.
As a friendly people they will openly display their pleasure at you attempting their language and in many of the tourist areas, the shopkeepers and stall owners will even have a special price for Thai speakers.
There is little doubt that for the English or any westerner, the Thai language with its different tones, may be difficult to learn but the dividends that can be received for doing so will certainly make up for any effort you expended in learning it. Not only could you save money but you will make friends far more easily.