Thailand – “The Land of Smiles”

By | July 18, 2013

by Jan de Jesus
(Cebu, Philippines)

Millions of visitors flock to Thailand to bask in the sun, along the country’s pristine beaches and to experience its rich and exotic culture.

Lots of tourists who are looking for their next travel destination will be lured in by the photos of perfect white sand, azure blue waters and various temples that they can visit there.

Travel information for this popular Southeast Asian destination is very accessible and the Thai tourism department does a very good job in promoting the country as the West’s getaway of choice.

Thailand is also known as the “Land of Smiles”. The slogan is written in all the travel information guides and brochure and you can actually see it plastered everywhere in country as soon as you land.

Many people believe Thailand is called the “Land of Smiles” because of the friendly, happy-go-lucky and cheerful nature of its people. You can apparently smile at any Thai you pass by while walking on the street and that person will most likely smile back at you.

But there’s actually a much deeper meaning to all this smiling that most outsiders do not know about. Smiling in Thailand is not just a means of expressing friendliness or happiness, but there’s actually a wider range of use for it depending on the situation at hand. Some types of smiles may even be considered as rude in the west.

“Yin”, which means “smile” in Thai, has 13 different types of smile which can be used in nearly every conceivable situation.

One of the basic types of smile is the “yim tak tai”, which is the polite kind of smile that you would normally use for strangers or acquaintances.

When you admire someone or are impressed by them, you use the “yim cheun chom”.

When there are times that you want to smile but can’t do it for some reason, that’s the time you give the “yim mai ork”.You whip out the “yim yair-yair” when you get embarrassed for yourself or somebody else.

Strangely enough, there are also smiles that the Thai people use during negative situations. The “yim cheuat cheuan” is used to gloat over people during winning situations.

The “yim sao” is for hiding feelings of unhappiness and “yim yor” is used for taunting or mocking someone. If someone has made a mistake and don’t want you to get mad at them, they use the “yim hairng”. And if situations get really, really bad, there’s the “yim soo”, which means the circumstances have become so irreparable that they might as well smile!.

Undeniably, distinguishing all the types of smiles will be difficult to the average foreign tourist.However, just the basic knowledge of these is a very important piece of travel information for people looking into visiting the “Land of Smiles” for their next vacation.