If one of your reason for traveling is to experience cultures in other parts of the world, one of the best places to visit is Thailand. Thailand offer a place that is rich in geographical diversity as well in culture and history. Thailand is a place has everything a visitor could ask for – from scenic spots, modern cities, great beaches, to cultural attractions. So no matter what kind of vacation you’re dreaming of, whether romantic travel, educational tour, or a vacation for the entire family, make sure a Thailand vacation is one of the your considerations.
We will explore some dos and don’ts in Thailand, to make your vacation in this wonderful country even more pleasurable. If you don’t know what’s acceptable to people of Thailand and what are not, your getaway can end up real bad especially if you get into trouble just because you did something unlawful without you knowing it.
What you can Do in Thailand
1. Show respect for Royalty, the King, the Queen, and the Royal Children.
Insulting Thailand’s Royalty is a crime, especially something aimed at the King. Never ever say anything against the Royal Family of Thailand and the country’s democracy. Leave these issues be, don’t try to stick your nose into it. The Thai’s love and respect the members of the Royal Family, especially the King, and punishments are given to those who disrespect him. It is also rude to not respect the national anthem when it is being played. When you hear it, make sure to stand and stay still and do not say anything. Also, remember that it is rude to throw Thai money, the Baht. These have the King’s image on them.
2. Respect monks in temples and in public places.
Respect the monks. Monks are highly respected individuals in Thailand, and other Buddhist societies for that matter. Monks should not touch or be touched by a woman. Monks are also not allowed to accept anything a woman offers. Should you have something to give to a monk, hand it down to a male first and let him give it to the monk, or else, wrap the object in a piece of cloth.
3. Always dress appropriately when visiting religious shrines and temples.
If you’re wearing shorts, hot pants, shirts or blouse without sleeves, and other unacceptable clothing, you won’t be able to enter historical buildings like the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeow. While it’s okay to wear shoes when getting around a Buddhist temple, you should take them off when you get inside the chapel where the main Buddha image is stored.
4. Do use spoon when eating.
Thai’s, unlike Westerners, do not use forks in putting their food in their mouths. They use spoons to do so. So please respect them by eating in the same way. use a spoon!
5 Do learn the Thai Language
Try to learn the language. Although, its is not easy to learn the language, much more to comprehend it fully. But by arming yourself with some useful Thai phrases you could save yourself some headaches. If you are visiting places outside of Bangkok and the main cities, you could run out of luck quite easily. English is not as excellently spoken outside metropolis Thailand so you should purchase or borrow a good English-Thai dictionary or a find guide that will do the talking for you.
6. Do use the baht.
Baht is Thailand’s form of currency. Have your bills exchanged for baht before you go traveling around Thailand. Shops here rarely accept travellers cheques or other forms of currency.
7. Do know you are allowed drink
If you want to drink, you must know when you are allowed to buy alcohol. Thai’s also impose strict laws on the sale of alcohol. Even in international beach resorts like Pattaya, alcohol is not for sale all day. It is not available during national and religious holidays as well as from 2 o’clock in the afternoon to 5 in the afternoon.
Don’t do this in Thailand
1. Climbing up to a Buddha image just to take a photograph, is just something you don’t do.
Pay great respect to Thai’s sacred images. All images of the Buddha are sacred and should be therefore respected. Do not take pictures of any sacred images in Thailand as is not permitted.
NO matter how the big it is, any Buddha image in Thailand is sacred so do not do anything that shows disrespect to this consecrated object.
2. Do not touch people on the head.
Literally and figuratively, Thai’s consider the head as the highest part of the body so make sure to avoid touching them on the head. Just as the head is the top, the feet are the bottom, another rude action to Thai’s is pointing your feet to an object or at a person.
It is also considered highly inappropriate as well to use the feet to point to any sacred images.
3. Do not show the sole of your feet.
This is offensive especially to elder people in Thailand.
4. Do not yell or raise your voice at anybody.
Thai’s find this rude and you will seem uncultured and ignorant if you do this.
5. Do not shake hands with Thai people.
Forget about shaking hands. Although shaking hands is considered the international way of greeting, things are a bit different among Thai’s. It is highly appreciated when foreigners greet Thai’s using the traditional ‘wai’ greeting. The ‘Wai’ greeting is pressing their palms together in a prayer-like manner. Please make sure you do it correctly.
6. Do not smoke in the streets.
Check out the ‘No Smoking’ signs. Smoking is not yet to see its acceptable in Thailand. Most Thai’s are not comfortable with people who smoke so they provide very few areas for those who do. It is illegal to smoke in indoor public places, in shopping malls, in air-conditioned vehicles, bus stations, train stations, museums, temples, shrines, palaces and other scared or holy areas. No matter if you are a foreigner or not, strict fines are imposed on smokers. It is also extremely difficult to find cigarettes in shops as Thailand forbids sellers to display cigarettes in public.
Smoking is illegal. If you’re caught smoking, you can be fined 2,000 Baht. You will be fined the same amount if you drop litter in the street.
7. Don’t try to use or carry drugs in this country.
In almost all cases, drug trafficking is punished with death penalty. If you’re fortunate, you get long sentence in Thai jails. These are very horrible places to stay in and your embassy can’t do that much to save you. Make sure to never carry any drugs whatsoever.
While these laws are a little flexible especially when a tourist is concerned, you should still follow them to show respect to Thai’s. So before you pack the things you will bring for your Thailand vacations, be sure to study these dos and don’ts first. Not only will Thai’s appreciate that you delving into their local customs and practices, but it will make you stay that much more enjoyable.