Thailand has several symbols that clearly represent the Thai nation, which, apart from the national tricolor flag and the national emblem, are the national flower, national animal, and Thai architecture.

Thai national flag and emblem

The Thai national flag, or the Trairong – tricolor flag – is composed of five horizontal bands of red, white, and blue. The outer red bands represent the nation, built and maintained with the ancestors’ blood, enclosing the inner white bands representing the purity of religion, and the central blue band, which occupies one third of the total area, representing the monarchy. The flag is of the proportion 9:6. It was introduced by King Vajiravudh as the national flag in 1917.

The national emblem features the Garuda, known as Khrut Pha, or the Garuda as the vehicle of the god Vishnu. It represents the authority of the monarch.

The national flower

The bright yellow flower of the Cassia fistula tree – known in Thai as ratchaphruek, the royal flower, or Khun – has been decreed the national flower of Thailand. The flowers, in thick clusters of showy yellow blooms at various stages of development, are so profuse that they almost cover the branches. The plant is considered auspicious, due to its delightful appearance and numerous uses, medical and ritual. It also yields a strong, solid heartwood that may serve as a building pole or even the city pillar, or the main pole of a royal residence, and it is used for the top of the royal baton of the supreme commander and on the top of royally granted regimental standards. The pods are components of traditional herbal medicines from ancient times. Moreover, the yellow flowers signify Buddhism, and yellow is regarded as the royal color, as well.

The national flower is featured as a thick cluster of the golden blooms, with green leaves.

The national animal

The Thai elephant, or Asian elephant, has long been linked to the Thai Kingdom. Elephants with auspicious features were selected as royal carriers and fought in royal battles throughout history, playing a part in the restoration of the Kingdom’s independence in the Ayutthaya period. White elephants, in particular, were deemed sacred, in accordance with Brahmin and Buddhist beliefs. The appearance of a white elephant is believed to bring prosperity to the Kingdom. Before 1917, the national flag featured a white elephant on a red background.

The Thai elephant, when it features specifically as the national symbol, is a white elephant in the middle of a red circle, with specific characteristics in the legend, particularly a solid body, large head, full cheeks, broad forehead, clear eyes, muscular legs, long parallel tusks, undamaged ears, and drops of sweat between its toenails; it is standing gracefully, with head held up. The sacred white elephant has seven auspicious characteristics: white spots in the eyes, a white soft palate, white toenails, white hair, white or pink skin, white tail hair, and white testicles.

Sala Thai, the Thai pavilion

The traditional pavilion, known as the sala, reflects the local wisdom of Thai craftspeople, who created the sala as a graceful and distinctive structure different from those of other countries; it also reflects the style of accommodation of the Thais from ancient times.

The sala used as the national symbol is a simple wooden Thai pavilion framed by a circle. The structure is distinctive with its gabled roof and the hornlike finials with graceful lines, standing proudly against the blue background, signifying the brightness of Thailand, a tropical country, and situated on a green ground, representing the fertility of the country, a prosperous agricultural land.