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Cultural do and don't

Thais are extraordinarily tolerant, and will not expect you to know the "Thai way" of doing things. They will overlook almost all of your socially cultural embarrassing actions and mistakes. However if you would like to acclimatize yourself as much as possible, there are many fairly simple adjustments you can make that are likely to surprise and in some cases delight people.

Do

Smile. Greet people. It is almost impossible to be overly friendly. You will be amazed at how many will remember your name if you give it.

Don't

Don't take offence at questions like "Are you married?" "How much money do you earn?", "How old are you?". No harm is meant by these queries and this is how they relate to one another.

Do

Try to eat Thai food. It's not all spicy. Order a few dishes with some steamed rice and share them. That's the way Thais eat.

Don't

Get annoyed if all the dishes you order don't come at the same time. Since Thais usually share everything they order, it doesn't matter to them which item comes out first.

Do

Fuss over little children and let other people fuss over yours.

Don't

Be surprised if a group of strangers pick up and cuddle your baby, passing him around with "oohs", "aahs" and kisses.

Do

Be patient and stay calm in trying situations. If you lose your cool, you lose people's respect.

Don't

Insist loudly on having your way. Try to win the day with quiet perseverance. It's much more effective in Thailand.

Do

Remove your shoes before entering a dwelling, a temple or a shop. If in doubt, look for the presence of others' shoes at the entrance.

Don't

Point your foot at anyone who is not an intimate acquaintance, or place it near them. Feet are considered unclean, and this is extremely insulting.

Thai Cultural Artwork
Do

Leave a small tip if you were pleased with the service.

Don't

Leave your loose satang (very small change) as a tip. Like most places in the world, this is not an appropriate way to show your appreciation for good service.

Do

Be soft spoken and deferential with strangers.

Don't

Be loud, aggressive or insistent with strangers. These characteristics are considered especially obnoxious and unforgivable.

Do

Learn something about the royal family and especially the King. The way in which he is loved and respected by his subjects will tell you something about them.

Don't

Do anything that might be interpreted as showing disrespect for any member of the Royal Family. The repercussions will be immediate and serious.

Do

Dress presentably in the streets of a business area and when entering shops. Men and women who wish to respect the locals will wear a shirt at all times when away from beach and pool areas. Bathing suits are not appropriate attire in town. In particular, dress neatly if you are planning to enter a temple, bank, or government office.

Don't

Go topless if you are a women. People will pretend they don't notice, but some will be deeply offended and resentful, especially Muslims.

Do

Observe the temple code. Womens should have shoulders covered and both sexes avoid scanty shorts. Shoes ALWAYS be removed before entering any religious building.

 

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