Do and Don'ts
Thai people are renowned for their tolerance, but they are sensitive about certain issues. If you adhere to the following guidelines, you can avoid culture shock and make your visit to Thailand more pleasant. Even if you don't plan to visit Thailand, reading this section will give you some additional knowledge about Thai culture, which may be useful if you ever come in contact with a Thai.
The Thai people show utmost respect to the king, especially with the current Rama IX, and the royal family.
- Visitors should take caution not to disrespect anything that is symbolic or has the portrait of the king on it.
- Do not criticize the king or any of the royal family, especially in public.
Although Buddhists are tolerant of other religious beliefs, they frown upon foreigners who disregard their religious customs and practices.
- Refrain from touching or tampering with Buddhists statues or other symbols. Photography is prohibited at many areas. Please check with the authorities before taking pictures.
- Dress neatly and modestly. Do not wear shorts, sleeveless shirts, or any other inappropriate clothing to religious grounds such as temples.
- Women are not allowed to touch Buddhist monks. When giving items to a monk, the monk will usually extend a piece of his robe and indicate that the gift should be placed on the cloth.
- Take your shoes off at the entrance of temples. There are usually racks for you to put your shoes on.
- Thai people are modest people at heart. Try to speak in a calm, soft voice, especially to elders and authority figures who are highly esteemed in Thai society.
- Feet are regarded as the lowest part of the body. Do not use your feet as you would your hands. Also, do not point your feet at any person.
- Similarly, the head is regarded as the highest part of the body. Do not touch anyone's head even if it is done affectionately.
Finally, when in doubt, use common sense or follow what the Thais do.