Thailand is famous for the friendliness and hospitality of the Thai people and it’s for good reason that the country is known as the ‘Land of Smiles’. To repay that warm welcome, please be aware of some important do’s and don’ts when travelling in Thailand.
- Do respect Thai culture.
- Do dress respectfully when visiting temples and palaces.
When visiting temples or other religious sites, it’s important to dress modestly and cover your shoulders and knees.
- Do respect all Buddha images.
Buddha images are sacred in Thailand and are not to be climbed or sat on.
- Do take off your shoes before entering temples and people’s homes.
When entering someone’s home, a temple, or certain shops, it is customary to remove your shoes. Look for a pile of shoes near the entrance as a cue and follow suit.
- Do smile!
A smile can go a long way in establishing good intent and will be appreciated in Thailand.
- Do return a wai.
There are lots of subtle rules of etiquette involved with the Thai greeting, the wai. But for a first time visitor to Thailand, if a Thai person wais you, return the wai by placing your palms together and raising your hands towards your chin.
- Do respect the laws about the Thai Royal Family.
Thailand has strict lese-majeste laws. Travellers are advised to avoid making any negative comments or engaging in discussions that may be seen as disrespectful towards the Thai Royal Family.
- Do try local cuisine.
Embrace the opportunity to try local dishes, but be mindful of the level of spiciness if you’re not accustomed to spicy food.
- Don’t touch people’s heads.
In Thai culture, the head is considered sacred. Touching someone’s head, even playfully, can be considered impolite.
- Don’t point your feet.
Avoid pointing your feet at people or using your feet to touch objects.
- Don’t point with your finger.
Pointing with your finger is considered impolite in Thai culture. Instead, use an open hand to indicate something.
- Don’t be overly affectionate in public.
Although attitudes are changing, public displays of affection aren’t common in Thailand. Despite the image portrayed in nightlife areas, Thailand remains a conservative country.
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