Thailand is commonly known as the “Land of Smiles,” but the Buddhist nation is sometimes called the “Land of Yellow Robes.” Traditionally, Buddhist monks and novices in Thailand don yellow colored robes. They can be seen in the early hours of the morning. This is the time that they go out in the community surrounding their monasteries for alms. It is a daily reminder that Buddhism is a powerful force in the lives of Thai people, even in a day and age where most people do not have time in their busy schedules to make alms each dawn.
You may run into monks while visiting a wat (temple) anywhere in Thailand or even walking around in Bangkok. Buddhist temples, with their characteristic architecture is classic symbol in Thailand. Monks are the caretakers of wats and they take care of the spiritual concerns of Buddhist Thais in their community. Buddhism is a keystone in Thai culture and much of its philosohpy, arts and literature are derived from Buddhist foundations. So ingrained are the threads of Buddhism that the country’s constituion specifies that the King of Thailand must be a Buddhist and act as the “Upholder of Buddhism.”