Do’s and Don’ts in Thailand
There are some things that you absolutely do not do in Thailand and some things you should most definitely do out of respect.
Being in Thailand, these are some things I learned and made a list to share with the OPG Team coming in just a couple of weeks!
Up North in Thailand by Burma:
⁃ Shake hands. Take your left hand and hold your right arm while shaking the other persons hand for a greeting.
⁃ When you get invited, you always go! They always invite you into their hut out of respect. (Unless it’s dangerous, don’t go.)
⁃ Always eat the food given to you no matter what. If you cannot eat it, you will have to give a reason if you’re allergic or it’s too spicy and your body can’t handle it. You cannot keep silent about this by simply not eating it. They offer you all that they have so in return, you need to eat it.
⁃ Don’t ever touch someone’s head. It’s the most sacred part of the body.
⁃ Do not cross over people when they are sitting on the ground. They don’t have chairs so it’s their custom to always sit on the ground. So when you get up, you do not walk over their legs but simply go behind them.
⁃ If people are standing up having a conversation and you need to pass them, you need to lower yourself for you never do anything over someone’s head. So it’s the same when you get up, you have to bend over until you’re out of the room.
⁃ Never say anything negative about the food. They take great pride in their food.
⁃ It’s their custom to not show a lot of emotion in their face nor complain out loud.
⁃ Always take showers before eating dinner. This shows you have good time management being clean when you come to the table. After dinner, it’s family time. Instead of getting ready for bed, you can talk and spend time together with your family and friends. Thai people don’t talk a lot during eating time. It’s also a custom to always have someone over for dinner whether friends or strangers.
⁃ Never talk down about the King. Never take pictures with only part of his body in it. He’s either fully in the picture or not in it at all.
⁃ Never degrade or talk bad about their religion, Buddhism, even if you disagree with it. You will never win a Thai friend over by discussing religions as theirs being “wrong” vise versa.
⁃ Take your shoes off before entering a Temple, Church, Office, House, and sometimes even Floating Markets.
⁃ Never point with your feet for it’s the lowliest part of your body.
⁃ When going to a Thai embassy, you are not allowed to wear shorts or flips flops. You have to dress politely or they won’t let you enter.
⁃ If eating at a restaurant, it’s not a custom to tip for then they feel like you’re giving to charity. But if you’re an American, they expect you to tip for they know it’s our custom to do so.
Everything is the same for Bangkok except the first one, shaking hands. Everywhere else in Thailand you “Wai” which is a bowing motion of putting your hands together while saying “hello”. This is not a worship practice. It’s simply showing acknowledgement and respect. While you “Wai” women say, “Swat-dee Kha” and men say, “Swat-dee Khrap”.
So if you ever visit Thailand, now you have an idea of what to do and what not to do out of respect of their customs.