Do's and Don'ts in Thailand

There are so many ways that you can embarrass yourself and others in a new country. A lot of people visit Thailand and don’t realize the cultures are different from western cultures and some Asian cultures as well. 
Even though most Thais are very forgiving about mistakes, but you should try to understand their cultures to show good manners in the country. If you have never been to Thailand before, what are the most obvious do’s and dont’s in Thailand? Here are a few things that you should keep in mind. 
Wai - Wai is a gesture where you place your hand together in a praying sign at chest level, is a polite greeting. 
Respect the country and the King - Even though Thailand has lese majeste laws that make it illegal to criticise the king but it’s probably best not to mention about the King at all. Thai people love their King by their heart and it’s not about the laws or anything. If you talk about the King, it’s very sensitive for Thai people. It’s also better to not criticise Thailand, especially political problems in Thailand. 
Dress properly - When you visit temples in Thailand, you are required to dress properly to show how you respect the places. You will need to wear long pants,long sleeves, and a shirt that covers your shoulders. You have to pay attention to the dress code for Thai temples and most of temples with tourist traffic have signs asking visitors to cover up. 
Speak politely -  Thai people in general speak softly and avoid confrontation at all costs. You may require to speak with them politely or do not shout to them. 
Take it easy -  Thai people are easy going. They don’t take any situation serious if they think it’s not that serious. They love to say ‘Sabai Sabai’ and you may hear about it sometimes from Thai people. It means ‘take it easy’ or ‘relax’. Please be patient and don’t expect things to happen in a hurry. 
Stand up when you hear Thai National Anthem in public - How do you know when to stand up for Thai national anthem you may never have heard before? Just remember that the Thai national anthem is played twice a day at 8 AM and 6 PM.
Take off your shoes - When you visit local Thai people’s houses, you have to take off your shoes before entering to their house. 
Give a present - When you visit local Thai people at their home, you may bring a present such as food, fruit, a small gift etc. to them. Especially, old Thai people’s home. 
Keep calm and smile - No matter what makes you feel bad in Thailand, you have to keep calm and smile. Never lose your temper in front of Thai people !
Patience - Yes, Thais are extremely patient. You can see that they can wait for a bus or a train for hours without complaint. That’s why you cannot expect Thais to be punctual. When you wait for a bus and you feel like it takes like forever to wait, you have to keep in mind, ‘Sabai Sabai’.
Use ‘Khun’ to call their name - Thai name is very long but it’s easy for you to remember their nickname and add ‘Khun’ in front of their nickname to be polite if you don’t feel closed with them. For example, Khun Som, Khun Aey, Khun Jan etc.
Don’t s 
Kissing in public - Thai people in general do not kiss or show a lot of affection in public beyond holding hands. Please be respectful here and do the same. 
Mess with Buddha - Do not climb on or touch the Buddha. Show proper respect at temples.
Insult religious and national institutions about the King of Thailand - Thai people are sensitive if you talk about their King with disrespectful behavior
Do not touch Thai people’s head - Thai people consider that the head is the highest and most honorable part of one’s body. It’s extremely impolite to touch their head without knowing each other before.
Do not point Thai people by your feet - It is considered very rude to point to someone by your feet, especially a monk or a Buddha image.
Nguyen Kinh Luan
I love to travel and have taken time to experience life in many countries. I made this website to share useful information with the community. If you have the same hobby, please connect with me. I wish you success! Best regards!
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