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Buddhism is still so revered in Thai culture that it is considered a tradition for Thai men to become monks at one point in their lives, even if is only for a short period of time. Temples are regarded sacred ground, with it being a taboo in Thailand to do any unwholesome acts on temple property. Thai culture as a whole puts monks on a pedestal, almost like a noble class. Monks are also governed for the most part by their own laws, led by the Sangha Council of Thailand, and anything involving monastic misconduct is handled by the Sangha Council rather than secular authorities.
Theravada Buddhism has been the predominant religion in Thailand since early recorded history. An inscription from 1292 by King Ramkhamhaeng the Great. Tells of a monk from the southern province of Nakorn Sri Dhammaraja — who had learned the Pali Buddhist Canon (or Tipitaka) from beginning to end. He lived in the Forest Temple in the kingdom of Sukhothai and was the Supreme Patriarch (Pali sangharaja) of the monkhood. This statement is part of the earliest comments used by a king to “legitimize” his right to rule in accordance with Buddhist righteousness.
Thai cuisine expresses the fundamental aspects of Thai culture: it is generous, warm, refreshing and relaxed. Each Thai dish relies on fresh regional ingredients – pungent lemongrass, searing chilies and plump seafood. A varied national menu is built around the four fundamental flavors: Spicy, sweet, salty and sour. Roving appetites go on eating tours of Bangkok noodle shacks, Seafood Pavilions in Phuket and Burmese market stalls in Mae Sot. Cooking classes reveal the simplicity behind the seemingly complicated dishes and mastering the market is an essential survival skill.
In between the cluttered cities and towns in the rural heartland, which is a mix of rice paddies, tropical forests, and squat villages. In the north, the forests and fields bump up against toothy blue mountains decorated with silvery waterfalls. In the south, scraggy limestone cliffs poke out of the cultivated landscape like ancient skyscrapers. The usual arid northeast emits an emerald hue during the rainy season when tender green rice shoots carpet the landscape. With a long coastline (actually, two coasts) and jungle-topped islands embedded in azure waters, Thailand is a tropical getaway for the hedonist and the hermit, the prince, and the pauper. This paradise offers everything for the picky, comfort conscious and the adventurous traveler.