Retired Flag of Thailand
In South East Asia the stories linked to a sacred White Elephant became national emblems. From 1865 to 1916 a white elephant on a red field was the national ensign of Thailand. Likewise the flag of Laos from 1952 to 1972 used a white elephant design.
Thailand and Laos are in that familiar formula of similar yet very different. Their languages are so close that most Thai speakers can with some effort understand Laotian with a little effort.
Retired flag of Laos
Since they are neighbors subsequently they have cultural similarities as nations tied to the teachings of Buddhism. There jungles and rice paddies hum with a familiar tune yet, they are distant neighbors.
Their lands are stroked with wild natural beauty, their cuisine and culture are alien to West exotic and may appear exotic and strange yet these unfamiliar way of live is attractive for many.