Like any country in the world, Thailand has unique cultures and traditions. It is always good to be aware of cultural etiquette to avoid unintentional offense to the locals.
If you are traveling to Thailand for the first time, here are some cultural etiquette tips that will help you understand the country more while enjoying your trip.
Thai people are known for their lovely smiles and kind personalities. Thailand even has a nickname the ‘Land of Smiles’. Thai locals are generally calm and peaceful people.
Even though the majority of people in Thailand follow Buddhism ways, other religions also exist alongside each other in harmony. Once you have visited Thailand, you will get to experience the ‘slow life’ and ‘carefree’ lifestyle that makes Thailand a unique beautiful place, perfect for all visitors.
Thai people are also very welcoming towards tourists of all nationalities because of the rich history of international trade that has drawn visitors from all over the world to this one magical country since ancient times. However, it is important to be cautious about sensitive subjects that may offend locals.
• Thai people do not eat with their left hand even if they are left handed, only the right hand. Same goes with handing gifts and receiving them.
• Forks and spoons are the main cutlery used in Thailand. Except for noodle dishes where chopsticks are used.
• Young Thai people tend to slightly bow their heads when walking past an elder, a monk, or a respected older individual to be polite.
• Some Thai people do not kill mosquitoes as they believe that they will be reincarnated as a mosquito in 500 lifetimes.
• When a Thai person is at home, they like to sit on the floor or lean on the sofa while sitting on the floor. So, don’t be surprised if your Thai friend just casually sits on the floor, they actually do it culturally.
• Thais manly use nicknames to call themselves on casual occasions. Their official first name is used for formal occasions such as weddings, offices, or document related matters.
• The Thai langage is spoken in 4 dialogs. Central Thai (normal Thai), Northeastern Thai (Isaan), Northern Thai, and Southern Thai. Thai people speak the Thai dialog according to the region they are from. It is another thing that makes Thailand so unique!
Say ‘Kraab’ or ‘Ka’ at the end of every sentence to sound polite. Men use Kraab and women use Ka. If you use these words, locals will find it extremely adorable and respectful. Without the Kraab and Ka, the sentence may sound blunt.
Wai. Wai is a form of greeting and saying goodbye in Thailand that expresses respect towards the other person. To wai is easy, simply join your palms together in a praying gesture and slightly bow your head. If someone wais at you, do not forget to return as a kind gesture.
Remove your shoes before entering a temple. Shoes are not usually allowed inside a temple in Thailand, although there will often be shoe racks for visitors to place shoes on.
Remove your shoes before entering someone’s home. Like many Asian cultures, Thai culture also has an etiquette of removing your shoes before entering someone’s home.
Wear appropriate clothes when visiting a temple. For modesty, women and men are advised to wear appropriate or polite clothing when visiting a temple. Women can wear a long skirt or trousers and a shirt that covers their shoulders. As for men, trousers and a T-shirt are fine. Shorts and sleeveless shirts are usually not allowed.
Smile and Be Nice. Smiling and being nice is a global understanding of the simplest ways to make someone’s day better. Not just Thai locals that would appreciate nice and friendly tourists, anybody will as well.
Do not touch the monks. Especially if you are a woman. Monks are to be respected in Thailand and they are not allowed to touch women and vice versa for religious reasons.
Do not point. Pointing at someone in Thailand can be seen as rude.
Do not disrespect the Thai Mornachy.
Do not place your feet on the table. In Thailand, placing your foot or feet on a table is considered extremely impolite.
Do not disrespect Buddha statues or Buddha related things.
Do not touch a Thai person’s head. In the Thai culture, touching someone’s head is a sign of disrespect if they do not know your intentions.
Do not step on a temple or a house’s threshold. Instead, walk over it. Some old Thai beliefs believe that when a person is stepping on a threshold, it will disrupts the spirits.
Despite the etiquette, the dos, and the don’ts, Thailand is a wonderful country to explore. As long as you are respectful to the place, there is no need to worry. Thai people are kind and accepting. Experience the amazing Thai culture today with Thailandos.