Following these few simple rules of Thailand etiquette will not only position you ahead of those visitors who do not, it may reward you with better service, better prices, genuine smiles and ultimately a more enjoyable holiday here in the “Land of Smiles”.
Thailand is a Buddhist country where Buddha , Buddhist Temples, Monks and Buddha images are held sacred.
Sacrilegious acts are punishable by imprisonment even if committed by foreign visitors.
Respect the King, Queen and the Royal Family
It is imperative to be respectful towards the Royal Family when you are in Thailand. Thai people hold their King, Queen and the Royal Family in great reverence, therefore nothing negative should ever be spoken or written. The law is clear on this subject and showing disrespect to them can result in serious problems.
Thai people are also very proud and respectful towards the country’s national anthem and it is played daily at 8am and 6pm through loud speakers in nearly all of the towns and cities throughout the country.
When the anthem is playing out loud, people are expected to stop what they are doing and stand still. Foreigners are not expected to do this, however, it does show a great deal of respect for which many Thai people are grateful.
Do Not Touch
The vast majority of Thai women are conservative.
So do not touch them without their consent
Dress Appropriately at Temples
Do dress properly when visiting a Buddhist temple. Items of clothes such as mini skirts, bikinis and sleeveless T-shirts are normally considered inappropriate. Some temples may provide you with alternative clothing while others will simply refuse you entry. It is a requirement to remove your shoes prior to entering the temple halls or buildings. Always check to see if the taking of photos is permitted
Keep Your Clothes ON
Sunbathing in the nude is prohibited. Regardless of the heat, do not wear bikinis or briefs when dining or shopping, it really is not a good look!
Ladies Should Never Touch a Monk
Ladies must not, on any account, touch a Buddhist monk or give and receive things directly with the monk.
Save it for the Bedroom
Intimate acts between any of the sexes should not be shown in public
Be Prepared to be Called “Khun …”
Normally, Thai people address others by their first names and with the title ‘Khun’.
So don’t be surprised if you are addressed as ‘Khun Susan’ or ‘Khun Peter’ instead of by your surname.
Traditionally, Thais greet each other with a wai, by pressing the palms together at the chest. If someone wais to you, you should wai back, except if the wai is from a child.
Thai people smile for many reasons, it is not necessary to return the smile, however it is considered polite to do so.
Do Not Touch a Thai person on the Head
Unlike the western pat on the head or ruffle of hair to encourage a person, the Thai’s consider it offensive to touch a person’s head. The head is considered the most sacred part of the body and touching it in any way is highly offensive to Thai people and should be avoided at all costs.
Keep Your Feet On the Ground
At the other end of your body and also at the other end of sacred body parts, is your feet. It is considered rude to use your foot to point out someone or something or to touch any part of someone else’s body. Do not put your feet on a table or on any type of furniture that is not intended for that purpose.
Remove Your Shoes
Before you enter a Thai house, Temple and some shops, it is expected that you remove your shoes.
Lose Your Lemper – Lose the Argument
Do not raise your voice when involved in any type of discussion, whether it be friendly or an argument. It is considered to be a lack of self-control and disrespectful, to do so may result in a returning smile or laugh in an effort to defuse the situation and calm you down. Under all circumstances it is best to stay calm, even if only externally, and continue the discussion in a quiet and respectful manner. Not doing this will only disadvantage you.