Wednesday, May 28, 2008

DOs and DON'Ts in Thailand

If you're planning to come and visit Thailand, it's good to come with the knowledge of what's culturally acceptable or not. Generally, the Thais are very polite. If you offend them in any way, they won't tell you and but instead say, "Mai pen rai' or it's okay even if they're already offended. Here's a compilation (just based in my personal experience) of the things you can do and must not do during your stay or visit.

1) Show your respect towards the Royal Family. The Royal Family is very well respected in this country, therefore as much as possible, don't comment anything may it be good or bad about them. Don't ask controversial issues about them from the local people. It'll greatly offend them and neither talk to you about it.

2) Treat the Thai Baht money ( bill and coins) with 'respect' too. This means, you can't step on the Thai coins with your foot, in case it falls down.The reason? The King's portrait is on the coins as well as the bill, that's why it must be treated with respect. For Filipinos like me, we're used to hand the money, using our right or left hand..but here you'd notice they only give the money using their right hand as they believe that the left hand is for using somewhere else. Their bills here are very clean and no creases, while back home it's not that clean with "wanted penpal/ phone pal' messages all over it and folded 100 times over. :)

3) It's polite to 'wai' back when people 'wai' at you. Wyeing is a sign of respect. It's the folding of arms together like in a prayer gesture and bowing the head slightly.

4) Don't touch anyone's head, specially people older than you. The head is believed to be the most sacred part of the body so, it offends them when you touch their head.

5) Don't point your foot on people. Like when your sitting with your legs crossed, your foot must not point to a person. Just as they consider the head to be the most sacred part of the body, the feet are considered to be the lowest.

6) Don't go out with your hair wet, this is also considered impolite ( I've just learned this recently from a friend).


ThePeachTree said...

How incredibly interesting. I'm so happy that you shared this.

charmed blossoms said...

Haha! No one ever told me about the wet hair. A couple of years ago, I was sent to work there for a couple of weeks. Since I valued sleep more than the appearance of my hair, I always left my hotel without drying my hair!

James said...

Interesting article.. I would have never known..


eunice said...

Now then I know that to "wai" back at the Thai show some form of respect. And I recalled that when I was in Thailand for a short trip, I felt pretty awkward when people "wai" at me and I thought it was impolite. In Cantonese (I am a Cantonese), when you call people "wai" on the street, it's pretty impolite. So it's a different cultural thing afterall. Thanks for your information!

Care to exchange link? :)


Islander said...

adorable. good for them. they were able to preserve their customs.

we used to be like that before. but i think it vanishes as the time goes on... hehe

Cazbah said...

Thanks for sharing these tips - especially the one about wet hair, I've never heard that one before!

I had heard lots about the great love the Thai people have for their Royal family, but couldn't believe the extent of it until I visited and spoke with locals.