Thai art includes temple decoration, woodcarving and religious sculpture.
Thailand retains cultural connections with India and China. Pop music and other forms of European and American music are extremely influential. The two most popular styles of traditional Thai music are luk thung and mor lam.
Luk thung, or Thai country music, developed in the mid-20th century to reflect daily trials and tribulations of rural Thais. Some of the biggest stars incorporate influences from Latin America, Asia and, especially, American film soundtracks and country music. The first all-luk thung radio station was launched in 1997.
Mor lam is the dominant folk music of Thailand's northeastern Isan region, which has a mainly Lao population. It has much in common with luk thung, such as its focus on the life of the rural poor. It is characterized by rapid-fire, rhythmic vocals and a funk feel to the percussion. There are about 15 regional variations of mor lam, plus modern versions. Some conservatives have criticized these as the commercialization of traditional cultures.
Thai: Sabai dee mai krap/kaa? (How are you? male/female), Sabai dee krap/kaa (I'm fine male/female), Sawat-dee krap/kaa (Hello, goodbye male/female)
Greetings in other dialects are slightly different. The differences are mostly in their tones and ending words. For example:
Northeastern Dialect: Sumbai dee bor? (How are you?), Sumbai dee krap/kaa? (I'm fine male/female)
Northern Dialect: Sabai dee kor krap/jao? (How are you? male/female), Sabai dee krap/jao (I'm fine male/female)
Northern women normally use the word jao as an ending word, instead of kaa. These ending words are used in polite conversation or with those who are older.
The greetings Sabai dee reu?/Sabai dee krap/kaa/Sawat-dee krap/kaa are understood by every Thai speaker.
Sports & Games
Thais enjoy soccer, table tennis, badminton, volleyball, kite flying and takro (a sport in which the player tries to keep a wicker ball in the air without using his or her hands). Tire racing, or tee-wong-law, is a favorite children's game played in the rural areas of Thailand.
Thai food includes rice, beef, chicken, eggs, vegetables, fruit and fish.