Thailand is still a tradition country even though it is growing ever too quickly. There are things you just don’t do and things you should or must do culturally when you want to fit in and be respected by the Thais. The more you fit in with the Thais the more happy you will be while living in Thailand. It is only fair to treat your host country with respect even though sometime you can’t understand what is the meaning behind the action. So, here we go…
- Wai (putting both hands together at chest level and bowing your head at the same time, a greeting gesture). Do return the Wais to people who have wai you. It is a sign of respect. I do it to young children when they wai me. You don’t need to wai someone younger than you or not to your level.. Lever meaning, they can be a maid, a waiter, someone working for you. But you should always return their wai.
- Take off your shoes before going inside the temple or in someone’s house. It is considered disrespectful if you wear your shoes in someone else’s home. Because the Thais think it is very dirty to wear shoes in the house. As they sometime, lie down on the floor or just sit around on the floor.
- Show respect to Buddha images, don’t point your feet towards the images or monks when in temples especially. Keep your legs close to your body.
- Show respect to the King and royal family. Do not step on money. Stand still (when out side) you hear the National Anthem or the King’s Anthem in Theaters before the movie starts or at functions as they will play the King’s Anthem at these functions before the start.
- Dress politely and appropriately. When going to temples, please dress appropriately. For ladies, wear a long dress covering the knees. No shorts, No tank tops or sleeveless tops.
- Do leave a tip. When in restaurants that haven’t added service charge to your bill, do leave your server 5-7% tip. This is about the right amount.
- Don’t touch someone on their head. It is very disrespectful. Young children are OK but NOT adults.
- Ladies are forbidden to touch Monks. If you have to give something to a monk, hand it to a man to do so for you OR the monk will take out a handkerchief for you to lay the object on it then he can pick it up.
- Do not lose your temper or raise your voice when in argument. It is considered poor manner. You will get what you want much easier if you keep your calm… Remain polite… Breath.
- Don’t point with your feet. It is considered disrespectful and very poor manner. It is considered the most inferior part of the body.
- Don’t be very affectionate in public, like kissing or hugging even if you are married.
- Don’t touch a woman. Most Thai women are conservative and shy. This will make them feel very uncomfortable.