First, I’d like to thank the Fighting Couple for hosting my post here. I’m a big fan and I especially recommend their article on International travel. You’ll love the tips they have there. Thailand is really welcoming and understanding to foreigners. Most will forgive you for your mistakes without you even knowing. This does not mean you should go around without a care for their culture. Taking the time to learn even just a few polite gestures will help you go a long way in this loving country.
-Learning to smile all the time. Thailand is known as the “land of smiles”, and for a good reason. Smiling does not mean the Thai people are in a good mood, it is just a cultural gesture so please take that into consideration.
-Travel insurance is a must when traveling to Thailand or anywhere in the world. Having insurance for your goods and health will be beneficial for you in the long run. World Nomads is a very secure travel insurance agency.
-If you ever see a monk, please treat them with the utmost respect. All monks in Thailand are well respected by the locals and should also be by tourists.
-When visiting temples or shrines always take your shoes and hats off before entering any temple. Even if there is no sign in English or other languages, you can take a hint from watching the local’s actions.
-Be conservative when dressing, cover your shoulders and knees. This goes for men and woman. Wearing clean clothes is considered a respect to society. Thai people would not understand how a foreigner with enough money to visit their country cannot afford clothes in proper condition.
-When visiting others, always bring gifts, especially when visiting them at their home. The Thai people really like receiving flowers, sweets, and liquor.
-Buddhism is practiced by most of Thailand and it is generally important to respect this. It is even practiced in law and you can be arrested for disrespecting Buddha.
-If you take pictures of Buddha in a temple or anywhere in general, you must take it discreetly and from a kneeling position. Upon taking a picture, it is polite to leave a donation at nearby boxes.
-Show respect to the king and his family. This means you need to show respect to absolutely everything that has the king’s image on it. Altering images or playing around with objects with the king on it can cost you if you’re caught.
-When waving taxis or other types of public transportation down make sure you hold your hand up horizontal with your fingers pointed down.
-Introduce yourself to others by stating your first name. You will hear the prefix “Khun” a lot because this equal to Mr, Mrs, or Ms.
-Being open is a natural thing in Thailand. Do be open about yourself to others. You will be getting questions about age, marital status and even income. This is just a way of socializing for the people of Thailand.
-Spending time in Thailand as a tourist, it is important to care for your own safety. When looking for tour guides and apps on your phone, or even bank information, try to keep things even more private by masking it from others. As cybercrime is on the rise, you should install a VPN program to your phone prior to your arrival. This will encrypt your connection for protection and also anonymize your surfing to keep your activity private from government censors or network administrators.
-While eating out in Thailand you might have to do something you are not usually used to. Leaving food behind is actually a good thing here. This lets the host know you are leaving full and satisfied. If you do not leave any behind, the host might think you are leaving hungry and could possibly order more for you.
-Never touch others without permission. It is really disrespectful to touch others on the head.
-You do not shake hands in Thailand. Thais tend to be shy and stray away from most physical contacts. Instead you will have to “Wai” to others.
-Do not “Wai” to children or others of lower status. This can cause you to embarrass them in public.
-Public display of affection is considered disrespectful to others and is looked down upon.
-The feet are considered the filthiest part of the human body so pointing your feet or showing the sole of your shoes can be extremely disrespectful and considered an insult.
-When out, try not to shout or show your temper, if you currently have one. In the eyes of the Thai you would either be insane or of poor upbringing to be acting that way.
-Do not be surprised if you don’t get handed some chopsticks with your meal in Thailand. It is actually common to use a fork and knife.
-When eating with hands never use your left hand. The use of the left hand is considered to be used for toilet paper.
-As you enter a building try to step over thresholds, Thais believe spirits protect their home by living in their doorsill. By stepping on them you will enrage the spirits and cause a streak of bad luck for the home and the family living in it. Take off your shoes before stepping over thresholds at temples and homes.
These tips should help you to make the most of your time in Thailand and fully experience the beautiful culture waiting there for you.
Hi, my name is Jess Signet. My parents were travelers since before I was born. Even in the womb, I was able to travel all over the place! Boy, did things NOT change as I grew older!
Knowing there’s more to the world than the bubble I live in made me want to travel even further. Traveling is my drug and I’m addicted. (Please, no intervention!)
@1000Fights Thanks Jess for giving the rundown of the do’s and dont’s! Well done!
Good tips as I’ll be traveling to Thailand in the near future.
You are right…when we visited Phuket early this year we noticed that the Thais were always smiling. First we thought it was just the folks in the hospitality industry because they wanted the tourism, but we were proved wrong very soon. Even the folks outside of hospitality keep on smiling always.
It’s such a great place and it’s so nice to see everyone smiling all the time. I hope you enjoyed your visit.
Thanks! I didn’t realize how rich and unusual are the customs in Thailand.
Obviously, some of them may be considered as “weird” by the tourists (permanent smiles on the faces of locals, no hand shaking or “Intimate” questions etc.
Stan-It is a little different, but a wonderful place!