Customs & Traditions
has started to develop in to a tourist centre in recent
years, it is sometimes forgotten that amongst all the
fast food joints, bars, restaurants and resorts,
the Kingdom is an old Asian culture with traditional customs.
truth, most visitors are unaware of local customs so we
hope that these pointers will go some way to help you
not make a complete arse of yourself!
most obvious difference seen by visitors is the Thai greeting.
in the western world we shake hands as a symbol of respect
and to show no aggressive intentions, the Thais use a
palms together gesture known as a "wai". This
is always used to greet someone who is your superior,
in either age or social standing.
a Thai "wais" you, don't feel shy, wai them
Most Thai people consider foreigners to be relatively
ignorant of their traditions, but just by showing
that you understand something as basic as their traditional
greeting, will earn you a certain level of respect. You
should note, it is not appropriate to wai a child, even
if they wai you first.
John, Little John
society places a lot of emphasis on age and encourages
respect for the older generation. Older generation Thais
are addressed as "Pii" before their name and
the reverse of this is younger people being called "Nong".
Foreigners are not generally addressed in these ways as
Thais consider foreigners to be relatively...............
One very common sight is piles of shoes outside shops
and other buildings. All Thais take off their footwear
when entering a building and it is advisable to follow
this rule. Restaurants, bars and hotels
in the main centres don't really enforce this but if you
head into the quieter towns and villages it will be seen
as a sign of disrespect if you don't follow suit.
King And I
two main conversational points to avoid are religion and
the Monarchy, particularly the offering negative views.
Thais see their King
Rama IX, as a figurehead and voice for the
average person and any disparaging comments will guarantee
you rough time from the locals.
The same applies to Buddhism.
Thai people see their temple as the spiritual home and
even the family house takes second place.
you get the chance to visit a typical Thai house, you
will notice that there is a small shrine somewhere so
the family can pay homage to Buddha.
King Rama IX
Little Bit Of Everything
times are like a social event in Thailand.
often that not, when Thais greet each other, the first
question asked is; "Ghin khao yang? - "Have
you eaten rice today?"
traditional way to eat Thai food is to have several dishes
on the table and a ridiculous amount of rice.
person will have a bowl of rice and instead of just one
set dish as we do in the west, Thais will take a little
put more than a couple of spoonfuls on your plate at one
time. After you have finished that particular mouthful,
er,..... get another one!
Thais don't really understand why westerners only eat
one dish at a time. They consider foreigners to
the main tourist centres it is a common sight to see foreigners
walking around in beachwear, i.e shorts, bikini tops etc.
But if you head into towns and villages it is advisable
to cover up. Shorts and sandals are OK, but showing too
much flesh, particularly for women, is frowned upon.
When visiting a temple,
men should wear long trousers and preferably a long sleeved
shirt. Women should be covered as much as possible. Let's
be honest, pure white flesh with spots of bright red sunburn
is not the most attractive sight in the world now is it?
This! (or not...)
the fact that Thailand
has a reputation for being a "sin centre", with
numerous foreigners coming to the Kingdom to indulge in
traditional Thai "nighttime activities" public
displays of affection are an absolute no-no. For instance,
will have a "boyfriend" for a couple of weeks
while he is here, but just watch what happens if he tries
to give her a kiss in public.
Although the locals are getting used to seeing western
couples holding hands and showing affection, it still
gives them a certain level of embarrassment. If you get
the urge, take a cold shower!
people are generally tolerant of visitors with their own
customs, but in truth, Thais just consider foreigners......