Etiquette and Taboo in Thailand


There is a saying that "When in Rome do as the Romans do". When you travel to a place, you must respect local customs, culture and etiquette, as well as avoid taboos. Knowing etiquette and avoiding taboo can be respected and communicated better.


Royal Etiquette in Thailand

Thai people are very respectful of the royal family. The portraits of the king are everywhere. The Thai law also has penalties for the disrespect for the royal family. Pay attention to etiquette when talking with people about royal family, and follow the local people’s actions when there is a royal family present. 

Every morning and evening, as well as before the movie is played in the theater, the national anthem of Thailand will be played, the Thai people will stand up and pay tribute. Thai royal family members have their own colors, the king is yellow, the queen is blue, so Thai people will wear the corresponding colors on Father's Day and Mother's Day to express their respect.


Daily Etiquette in Thailand

Greeting Etiquette

When the Thais greet each other, they do not use the typical way of shaking hands but put their palms together devoutly and say “Sawatiika” (meaning happiness and good luck). Thai people call it "Wai". Generally speaking, the younger ones greet the older ones first, then the older ones return the Wai.

Body Etiquette
Thai people think that the head is the most dignified part of the body. They are not allowed to pat anyone's head, even if it is a friendly gesture. 

At the same time, the feet are considered to be measly. Don't use your feet to point or touch anyone, otherwise it will be considered unreasonable and rude.

Thai people also think that the right hand is clean and the left one is dirty. Please use your right hand or both hands when receiving or delivering something to others as a sign of respect, instead of using your left hand.

Public Behavior Etiquette
Men and women in public should not be overly intimate. If you look closely, you will find that it is rare for Thai men and women to hold hands in public.

In addition, gambling in Thailand is illegal and cannot be played in public, otherwise it will be detained.


Temple Etiquette in Thailand 

Thai temples are a sacred place recognized by Thais. Please dress politely and appropriately when visiting the Buddhist temples. Don't go shirtless, in shorts, hot pants, short skirts or spaghetti straps. Take off your shoes and be careful not to step on the threshold when entering a Thai home or Buddhist temple.

Do not touch or climb any Buddha statue inside or outside the temple. Respect all Buddha statues regardless of size. Do not put the Buddha image in your trouser pocket. Don't take photographs or do anything which might indicate a lack of respect. 

Women are not allowed to touch monks directly. If you need to deliver the items, please forward them to the men. 


Taboo in Thailand

1.  Don't judge Kings and royals and don't criticize Buddhism. Topics relating to politics, royalty and religion should be avoided.
2. Avoid touching anyone on the head easily with your hands even a kid, which is considered a great insult to others. 
3. Taking something with the left hand to others is a contempt behavior for the other person.

4. Never step on someone's door threshold and be careful where you point your feet 
5. Thai people refrain from signing with a red pen and think red is unlucky.
6. Don't lose your temper in public. People who lose their temper in social places often lose their friendship. People who get angry easily in business often lose their business.
7. Thai people do not drink hot tea, but the habit of putting ice in the tea, become ice tea.
8. Gambling is banned in Thailand, and even in hotel rooms you can't play cards or mahjong.


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