Thailand is a wonderful place to travel. For people from Western Countries it can almost be like traveling to another planet; everything is so different and, at times, very bizarre. The scenery, the streets, the way of life, it can all be very awe inspiring. Many people come to this country with the intention of passing through and they end up loving it so much, they decide to stay for life. This Writer included.
The Thais are generally very friendly and polite but their sense of etiquette can sometimes be in sharp contrast to that of people from other countries. What might seem perfectly normal to a Westerner might seem very inappropriate to a Thai and vice versa. Here are some tips on how you can navigate your way through the Land of Smiles, without making too many social faux pas’.
- Always remember to smile. It’s the Thai way and it can help you out in day to day interactions, in more ways than one.
- Wai at people when you greet them. This gesture makes it look like you’re praying and it can feel a little awkward at first if you’re used to shaking hands, but it’s a polite thing to do and Thai people appreciate it.
- Dress appropriately when visiting Temples and other revered places. You might think that your flip flops, short shorts and singlet are perfect for the humid climate but it’s best to wear more modest attire when going to such places, in order to show your respect.
- Thais view the top of the head as being the most sacred part of the body, so don’t touch anybody there, even in an affectionate manner.
- Don’t lose your temper, no matter what. Thais are very serious about losing face and if you get angry, you’ll lose yours. Staying cool is how Thais like to keep it, not just because of the weather.
- Learn a few simple Thai phrases like Thank you and excuse me. This sort of thing should be done in all countries, really.
Lastly, and most importantly, relax. It’s good for your health and it’s the Thai way of life.