Do’s and don’ts when visiting Thailand
Thailand is a truly amazing country and quite unlike any other found on earth with a rich cultural history, beautiful weather and scenery and amazing people it’s no wonder millions flock to the kingdom every year to experience the many breath-taking sites and experiences the country has to offer. The people of Thailand are some of the friendliest on earth which has led to many calling Thailand the “land of smiles” that being said there are a select few things people should never do whist visiting the kingdom if you don’t want those smiles to turn into frowns or possibly worse so what we have here is just a beginners guide on some things you should try your hardest not to do whilst here.
Be careful what you do with your feet!
Thai people consider feet the most lowly part of the body and consider them “dirty”, many of you will probably have seen pictures of people online with their feet up on chairs or on seat backs, this is definitely not acceptable behaviour here in Thailand and you should avoid pointing the soles of your feet in the direction of Thai people in general. As we are discussing feet also remove your shoes before entering a person’s home, you might be asked to do so before entering certain shops or offices as well, if there is a pile of shoes by the front door probably best to slip yours off as well to avoid causing offense.
Don’t touch people on the head!
Thai people consider the most holy part of a person’s body to be their head as it is closest to heaven and as such touching someone on the head will be taken as being at least very disrespectful if you are not friends with that person, also many Thai people take great pride in their appearance especially their hair so even if you are friends with a person probably best to avoid messing up their hair if you want to avoid any hurt feelings.
Whilst on holiday you will no doubt want to show off that beach body and soak up some rays which is absolutely fine in touristy places such as Pattaya, Phuket and so on but if you are venturing out into more rural areas of the kingdom Thai people for the most part are very conservative so flashing the flesh might not be met with a very welcome reception. So if you do decided to venture out and explore some less touristy locations probably best to dress a little more respectfully. An easy way to gauge this is by looking at what Thai people are wearing around you.
Don’t talk about the Thai Royal Family
The Thai people take this matter extremely seriously, Thailand is a constitutional democracy with King Maha Vajiralongkorn as the head of state. Thai people absolutely love their king and the whole royal family and as a result it is strongly encouraged to avoid any talk about the monarchy so as not to say anything which might be misconstrued as offensive because talking badly about the royal family can have some very serious consciences, like jail time serious so best to avoid talking about the subject all together.
Behaviour around monks and temples
Just like the subject of the royal family religion is another very serious matter here in Thailand so as a result people’s behaviour around monks and temples needs to be appropriate. Many who visit Thailand will inevitably visit at least one temple where you will see monks receiving alms and other donations from devout Buddhists. Monks are highly revered in Thai society so how to act while in their presence is very important.
You should not touch monks, especially ladies, if you want to give something to one place it on a table or other surface and allow them to pick it up or failing that get a male to hand whatever it is to them.
Follow their example if they are standing you probably should be as well if they are sitting you also should be.
As we have already mentioned remove your shoes before entering a temple or other holy areas.
Whilst inside temples walk slowly and keep chatter to a minimum, if there is a depiction of Buddha never turn your back to it as this is considered very disrespectful.
If you’re wearing a hat and sunglasses best to remove both before entering any temple and just like in the cinema turn off your mobile phones.
Like we spoke about earlier Thai people are conservative so make sure your dressed appropriately if you decided to visit a temple.
Don’t whistle at night!
Many Thai people are very superstitious and ghosts and other spirits are taken very seriously. Now for a slightly bizarre recommendation of something to avoid try not to whistle at night. People here in Thailand believe that whistling can summon ghosts or other evil spirits so don’t be surprised if people are not too pleased if you’re out whistling.
Well there you have it a few tips on things to do and not do whilst here in Thailand, as always we hope you have a safe and enjoyable time whilst here in Thailand.