Thailand Etiquette – Do?s and Don?ts in Thailand

By admin | May 1st, 2014 | Leave a Comment

It is important to remember that Thai social nuances are different to those in the western world. Whereas we reserve the rights in our own countries to speak out against how country affairs are conducted, Thailand is a little different.


  • DON?T Speak Out Negatively About The Thai Royal Family

The Thai Royal Family is revered across the nation and must be treated with the utmost respect at all times. DO NOT publicly criticize the King of Thailand or any member of the Royal Family. You may find yourself with a lengthy prison sentence or at best a large fine. It has happened before to unknowing visitors and it will happen again. Beware!

  • DO Keep Your Feet On The Ground

In Thai culture, the feet are the lowest part of the body, which is a negative thing. DO NOT use your feet to point at things or show the soles of your feet to other people. Keep the soles of your feet firmly on the ground at all times and everything will fine.

  • DO Not Cause a Thai to Lose Face

Thais are a non-confrontational nation who would rather smile than argue. Never ridicule a Thai in private or public, because this will make them lose face. This is an important aspect of Thai culture and should always be remembered.

  • DO Exercise Tolerance

It is the norm in the western world to become visibly agitated when things don?t go our way. Communication breakdowns in Thailand can lead to heated disagreements. DO NOT lose your temper in the heat of the moment, even if it?s a dispute over a restaurant or bar bill. Just smile, do the right thing, and you will find things work out just fine.

  • DO Not Wear Skimpy Clothing in a Temple

When visiting a Buddhist Temple, wear the appropriate clothing. Skimpy clothing should be reserved for the beach and the discotheques. It is especially important that women DO NOT wear short skirts, low-cut shirts or reveling shorts when visiting a place of worship in Thailand.

  • DO Check Your Laundry When Returned

This is not a life or death Do or Don?t, but Thai laundry services are famous for returning the wrong items back to you. If you do not check the contents of your laundry, you might find your expensive Lacoste Polo Shirt has miraculously shape shifted into a pair of 1980s dungarees or an 18th century corset.

  • DO Wai Correctly

The ?Wai? is the hands together greeting in Thailand. Realistically speaking, a Westerner should never Wai first to a Thai, because we are perceived as visitors from another society whose ideals are different. If a Thai Wais you first, then by all means return the gesture. However, if you do mistakenly Wai first to a Thai, don?t worry because they already know that we do not understand their culture properly and they will just giggle about it.


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