Krabi
Emerald Garden Resort

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Language.

Spoken and written Thai remain largely incomprehensible to the casual visitor. However, English is widely understood, particularly in Bangkok where it is almost the major commercial language. English and other European languages are spoken in most hotels, shops and restaurants, in major tourist destinations, and Thai-English road and street signs are found nation-wide.  

Temples


Theravada Buddhism is the professed religion of more than 90% of all Thais, and casts strong influences on daily life. Buddhism first appeared in Thailand during the 3rd Century B.C. at Nakhon Pathom, site of the world's tallest Buddhist monument, after the Indian Buddhist Emperor Asoka (267-227 B.C.) despatched missionaries to Southeast Asia to propagate the newly established faith. Besides moulding morality, providing social cohesion and offering spiritual succour, Buddhism provided incomparable artistic impetus. In common with medieval European cathedrals, Thailand's innumerable multiroofed temples inspired major artistic creation. Another reason for Buddhism's strength is that there are few Thai Buddhist families in which at least one male member has not studied the Buddha's teachings in a monastery. It has long been a custom for Buddhist males over twenty, once in their lifetimes, to be ordained for a period ranging from s days to a months. This usually occurs daring the annual Rains Retreat, a a-month period during the Rains Season when all monks forego travel and stay inside their monasteries. Besides sustaining monastic communities, Thai temples have traditionally served other purposes as the village hostelry, village news, employment and information agency, a school, hospital, dispensary and community centre to give them vital roles in Thai society. The Thais have always subscribed to the ideal of religious freedom. Thus sizeable minorities of Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs freely pursue their respective faiths.

 

 There are thousands of temples, or wat, in Thailand. Some of these vary in style and size but according to the principles of Buddhist architecture, the structures within a temple should include a bot, or ubosot, for religious ceremonies such as ordinations; a wihan to house various Buddha images and for laypersons to take part in religious services; a Sala kanparien which is a large meeting hall which is not only used for religious services but also sometimes as a social or civic center; a mondop for storing the Buddhist scriptures; chedi for housing sacred relics or images; a ho rakang, or belfry, to sound the time for ceremonies, prayers, etc. and kuti where the monks live. Some may also have a library, a crematorium and a school.


  Wat

A Wat is a Thai Buddhist temple or monastery. In most cases it is not just one building, but a collection of buildings, shrines, and monuments within a courtyard that is enclosed by a wall.