How to Adhere to Thailand Culture During your Visit

A fascinating country that is popular for its temples and nightclubs both, Thailand has it all. Rarely do you find a country where such jovial people are seen, along with their natural beauty and harmonious culture and rituals. Thai culture is not something you can read up on overnight, but we may have something for you.

Leelaryonkul, Buddha In Sukothai Thailand, CC BY-SA 4.0

Are you planning on a trip to Thailand in the near future? We have a list of Must Dos and Never Dos for when you visit Thailand. If you are staying at hotels in Chiang Mai, the biggest city in Thailand or in any other part of this beautiful country then you might find this helpful. There are a few hotels that also have their own tour guide services, for example, the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort, and checking them out before you book would make your trip better.

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Must Do
• Dress modestly; this means no flimsy clothes, no sleeveless or skin bearing clothes or shorts and short skirts. This is applied to most places in Thailand and especially near the religious sites.
• Always use your right hand when giving or taking money or other things. It is rude to use your left hand to exchange things, especially money.
• Leave your shoes outside when you enter people’s homes, temples and sometimes shops.
• Greet the monks by removing your hat and bowing slightly.
• When you want to beckon or ask someone to come to you, always gesture with your palm facing the ground. Keeping your palm facing the skies and beckoning someone to come close is a sexual gesture in Thailand and you might offend someone unintentionally.
• Always ask permission before you take photos of people.
• Use your inside voice at all times, even when you are on the streets.
• Keep yourself clean, farang or foreigners are locally thought of as dirty and smelly people, and better not to be an example of that!
• When sitting on floors, don’t be crossed legged, sit with your feet to the side, and never with your feet pointed towards a Buddha statue or picture.
• When you visit the temples, give a donation, regardless of how big or small the amount is.
• Never reject food or drinks, if you don’t want it, accept it, take a sip or nibble and leave the rest. Saying no to food is considered a bad luck.
• Smile at strangers

Never Do
• Keep your feet low profile. Don’t ever do anything with your feet, even if is to just push a door while your hands are full. Also, never point your feet towards someone, towards Buddha. Feet is the lowest part of the body according to Buddhists and is therefore seen as an insult.
• Don’t joke! Every culture has a different idea of a joke or sense of humour, and what might be a classic joke or prank in your country might be taken seriously in Thailand.
• Poker face, you can get angry at locals, it’s only human after all if they do something to annoy you, but don’t show it in your face. Keep smiling and walk away from that person or situation.
• Don’t touch anyone’s head, if you touch it by accident, apologize.
• Don’t step over books or food.
• Don’t put your feet up on tables and chairs.
• Never begin your meal before your host does.
• No PDA, at all!
• Try not to compare Thailand to western countries and begin conversations about fairness and equality, or feminism, you are out there to enjoy a vacation, and its best to focus on that!