5 Thai customs to know before visiting the country

Being aware of some Thai customs before visiting the country will only make your trip more fun.

While planning a trip to Thailand, it’s never enough to research only about the geography, weather and food of the country. To enjoy the vacation to the fullest, you should also know about the cultural norms, traditional values and customs of this land. This will help you interact with the local people better and get an insight into their lifestyle.

The following are some common Thai customs to read up before embarking on a trip to the Land of Smiles.

Wai is the gesture of greeting and showing respect to other people in Thailand. The action involves putting both your palms together at the chest/nose level and bowing the head slightly. Also, you can say “sa-waa-dii” which is another way to greet people in this land. Remember that shaking hands or giving hugs are not considered respectful in Thai culture.

According to Buddhist beliefs, the head is the purest and feet are the dirtiest part of a human body. This is why touching someone’s head or using the feet in activities like grabbing things/pointing at something is considered offensive in the Thai culture. Always take your shoes off before entering temples, homes or any other sacred building. Also, never put your bags on the floor as the Thai people consider education of high values.

It’s very important to respect the royal family and the government while in Thailand. The king and the royal family are revered throughout the country. Never disrespect the king’s image which can be found everywhere (including buildings, bus stops, restaurants etc.). And don’t forget to stand when the national anthem is played, be it on television, in a cultural show or at public places. Remember that speaking ill of the royal family while in this land can lead you to some serious problems.

If you visit a temple wearing clothes uncovering the knees or shoulder, it would be disrespectful to the culture of Thailand. No matter how humid the weather is, always say a big no to shorts, short skirts, sleeveless tops etc. while visiting temples. On a separate note, some temples don’t allow taking selfies with the Buddha statue. And if you’re a female, don’t touch the monks directly.

As Thai people are extremely polite, they never become too direct while speaking and use indirect communication. This is because of the belief that being too direct is insensitive and might hurt the other person. Keeping this in mind, you should also avoid direct communication and interact with the local people in a very polite manner. Also, try to always keep a gentle smile on your face while communicating with other in Thailand.

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