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You will often see Thailand referred to as LOS, "land of smiles" as a reference to the friendly happy-go-lucky nature of Thai people. As a generalisation this is true. We are a nation where we do know how to enjoy ourselves, and smile a lot compared to other nationalities. Of course we smile when we are happy, but we also tend to smile for a variety of negative emotions such as embarrassment, regret, confusion and even anger as well. Nationalities of other countries visiting Thailand for the first time, cannot see the differences in the smiles, and just assume everyone is happy all the time.


In any case from a marketing point of view, these few words "The land of smiles" and "Amazing Thailand" have done wonders for our tourist industry and the economy in general.

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According to Working With The Thais: A Guide to Managing in Thailand, the ‘top 13’ identified Thai Smiles are:


1. Yim thang nam taa: The “I’m so happy I’m crying†smile.


2. Yim thak thaai: The “polite†smile for someone you barely know.


3. Yim cheun chom: The “I admire you†smile.


4. Fuen Yim: The stiff smile, also known as the “I should laugh at the joke though it’s not funny†Smile.


5. Yim mee lessanai: The smile which masks something wicked in your mind.


6. Yim yaw: The teasing, or “I told you so†smile.


7. Yim yae-yae: The “I know things look pretty bad but there’s no point in crying over spilt milk†smile.


8. Yim sao: The sad smile.


9. Yim haeng: The dry smile, also known as the “I know I owe you the money but I don’t have it†smile.


10. Yim thak thaan: The “I disagree with you†smile, also known as the “You can go ahead and propose it but your idea’s no good†smile.


11. Yim cheua-cheuan: The “I am the winner†smile, the smile given to a losing competitor.


12. Yim soo: The “smiling in the face of an impossible struggle†smile.


13. Yim mai awk: The “I’m trying to smile but can’t†smile.


14. Yim som tam: The “Waiter, there’s a dead crab in my salad!†smile. (ok, this one was completely made up. But I’m sure I’ve given it myself a few times…).




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