Thailand Culture & Customs

Thailand Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t get too hung up about learning a huge list of do’s and don’ts! Most social indiscretions will be forgiven without you even realizing. Thais know that foreign visitors have their own customs and different ways of doing things, but if you are aware of some of the do’s and don’ts you will earn respect from your Thai hosts.

Most importantly of all, be particularly careful about showing respect for Buddhism and the Thai Royal Family. Thai Buddhism and the King: The glue that holds Thailand together is its religion and the King. A striking characteristic of Thai society is its acceptance and tolerance of other religions. This was once illustrated by the fifth Chakri King, Chulalongkorn (Rama V). During the early years of his reign, he learned that the Prince of Chiang Mai opposed the work of Christian missionaries in Thailand’s North. In a famous edict, written in 1878, he wrote that

Religion cannot be an obstacle in secular administration. Every person has the right to choose his own religious belief, and whether or not that that particular religion teaches the truth is a matter that concerns him alone. According to our agreement and in practice in Bangkok we do not make any restrictions concerning religion. If anyone considers the religion of Jesus Christ good and true, he is free to profess it. Whenever the country needs his services there is no reason why a man following Jesus’ teachings should not be able to render them. Religion is no hindrance to a man’s duty to his country.

{Above taken from} Bearing King Chulalongkorn’s tolerance in mind, it is useful for us to observe and respect a few simple Thai Cultural Customs & rules.

Thailand Do’s

  • Do dress properly when visiting a temple.
  • Do remove your shoes before entering a temple, somebody’s house and even some shops.
  • Do treat monks with the highest respect.
  • Do try and keep calm no matter what the problem or provocation may be.
  • Do eat with a spoon. Use the fork to load food on to the spoon.
  • Do lower your body slightly when passing between or in front of people.
  • Do try and learn a few basic phrases in Thai, like ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’.
  • Do smile a lot. Understand that the public ‘Thai Smile’ is important in Thai Culture.
  • Do enjoy yourself. Thais like life to be sanuk. Understanding the concept of sanuk – to have FUN in life>>
  • Do ensure that you have a visa if you need one.
  • Do make sure you have adequate travel insurance.

Thailand Don’ts

  • Don’t show disrespect towards the Thai Royal Family and the Buddhist religion and images. This man ignored the advice. Read what happened to him >>
  • Don’t cross your legs when you are in the presence of a monk. This applies whether you are sitting on the floor or in a chair.
  • Don’t touch a Thai woman without consent. Despite the image portrayed in some bars and clubs, the majority of Thai women are conservative.
  • Don’t be overly affectionate in public. This has changed in recent years and younger Thai couples can be seen holding hands, but snogging your boyfriend or girlfriend in the middle of the shopping mall won’t win you too many friends. As with many things, Thais know that behavior in the West is different to Thailand so you won’t be chased out of town for holding hands with your partner, but resist the temptation to do so inside temple grounds.
  • Don’t worry too much about when you should wai or not, but do learn to greet Thais with a ‘wai’ as you travel.
  • Don’t touch a Thai person’s head or ruffle their hair. Apologize if you accidentally touch somebody’s head. There are exceptions to this standard of behaviour; for example, it doesn’t apply to lovers in the privacy of their room. Thai people will also sometimes pat a child on the head, but as a Westerner it’s best not to do this to any child to prevent any embarrassment.
  • Don’t place your feet on the table while sitting, don’t point to anything with your feet and don’t touch anybody with your feet.
  • Don’t raise your voice or lose your temper; try and be jai yen. Find out more about being jai yen
  • Don’t be offended by questions about age, salary or marital status. These are common questions Thais ask each other when first meeting and will think nothing about asking the same questions to foreign tourists. Of course, you don’t have to answer, just smile and just say it’s a secret or ‘mai bok’ (‘not telling’).
  • Don’t overstay your visa. Find out why not >>

The above INFORMATION quoted from this resource

The thumbnail picture is from this original source

Posted by on Jun 30 2011. Filed under Thailand. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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