and Don'ts in Thailand
are known for their tolerance and hospitality, and the average tourist
will have no difficulty in adjusting to local customs. As
in any unfamiliar society, a visitor should, nevertheless, be aware of certain dos
and don'ts to avoid offending people unintentionally. Basically, getting
along involves good common sense and how one should behave at home. Still,
there are a few special tips for travelers to Thailand.
revere the Royal Family, and visitors should be careful to show respect
for His Majesty the King, the Queen and their children. For example, in a movie theater, movie-goers are required to stand up while the royal anthem is played. When attending
a public event, at which a member of the Royal Family is present, watch
the crowd and do what it does.
law has special sections on religious offenses covering not only Buddhism,
the religion of most Thais, but also other faiths in the Kingdom. Sacriligious comments, acts and vandalism of religious objects or place of worship are unlawful. It is also unlawful to cause any disturbances
at religious congregations or ceremonies.
are a few tips on what to do and what not to do when visiting a religious
Buddha images, large or small, ruined or not, are regarded as sacred.
Do not climb on or do anything that would show lack of respect.
politely and appropriately. Do not go to a temple shirtless or in shorts. Pants are considered
unsuitable attire for women visiting a temple. If you have any questions,
guides or officials at each temple will provide instructions for appropriate
dress and behavior.
is acceptable to wear shoes while walking around the compound of a Buddhist
temple, but not inside the chapel where the Buddha statue is
a Muslim mosque, men should wear hats and women should be well covered
with slacks or a long skirt, a long sleeved botttoned-up blouse,
and a scarf over the head. Everyone should remove her/his shoes before
entering the mosque and should not be present during a religious gathering.
monks are forbidden to touch or be touched by a woman or to directly accept anything from a woman. If a woman wishes to offer something to a monk or novice,
she must first hand it to a man who will then present it to the monk.
In case a woman wants to present something herself, the monk or novice
will spread out a piece of saffron robe or a handkerchief for the woman
to place the object on before it can be picked up or handled.
Customs: Dos and Donts
donts of everyday Thai social behavior are less clearly defined
than those concerning the monarchy or religion, especially in Bangkok
where western customs are widely accepted. However, what is acceptable
in Bangkok may not be the same in the countryside where traditions remain strong and are strictly adhered. Here are few examples:
do not normally shake hands when they greet each other, but instead
press the palms of their hands in a prayer-like gesture called wai.
Generally, a younger person should wai an older person, who will
then return it.
is considered rude to use your foot for pointing, especially when pointing
at a person. Thais regard their head as the highest part of the body. They do not
approve of touching anyones head, even in a friendly gesture.
At social gatherings, young Thais go to considerable length to keep
their head lower than those of their elders' in order to avoid giving the
impression of looking down on them. This is not always possible, of
course, but it is the effort that counts.
displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon. You may
see some young Thai couple holding hands but never kissing in public
your temper, especially in public, will most likely get you nowhere.
Thais see such displays as poor mannerism. You have a greater chance
of getting what you want if you keep a cool head and remain polite.
not be surprised if you are addressed by your first name, e.g. Mr. Bob
or Ms. Mary, instead of your last name. This is because Thais refer
to one another in this manner, usually with the title Khun (Mr., Mrs.,
or Ms.) in front.
to Visitors on Arrival
following tips are also helpful for arriving tourists.
arriving at Don Muang International Airport should use only authorized
transportation services from the airport to the city and other areas.
Please contact service counter in the arrival greeting area
who need help with accommodations should consult the Thai Hotel Association
counter in the arrival greeting area.
unauthorized people who offer their services as guides. Contact a
reliable travel agent for a guide or Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)
counter for all tourist information.
should consider using taxi services available at most major hotels.
common sense precautions regarding personal safety and the safety of
your belongings. Walking alone in the dark or deserted areas is not
recommended. Be sure that all your valuables are protected. Never let
your belongings out of sight if possible.
information is available at the TAT counter in the passenger arrival lounge
at terminal 1 (Tel. 523-8972-3), terminal 2 (535-2669), or at the head
office on Ratchadamnoen Nok Ave. (282-9775-6), and temporary office
on Bumrung Muang Rd. (266-0075-6)
- For assistance with safety, security, or unethical business practices, contact the Tourist Assistance Center in Bangkok at 281-5051 or 282-8129
or the Tourist Police at 255-2964-8 or 255-1699
for drug offenses are severe in Thailand. Do not get involved with
variety of local souvenirs are available at reasonable prices in Thailand.
For those who do not have much time and do not want to bother bargaining,
products are also available at fixed prices in department stores. Bargains can be done at small shops or with street vendors. Popular items include
silk and leather products, silverware, ceramics, and items carved out
of softwood. Thailands jewelry is renowned for its craftsmanship
and relatively low prices. However, necessary precautions should be taken
before buying jewelry:
all strangers offers of free assistance or services. Shopkeepers
pay a 10-30 percent commission to people who bring them customers and
the price will be increased accordingly.
and negotiate the price of jewelry at different shops before buying.
that any claim made by a shopkeeper that purchases can be refunded at
Thai embassies, consulates, or other government agencies abroad is false
sure that all documents such as receipts, quality certificates, and
credit card slips clearly indicate the name and address of the shop
and the full purchase price.
aware that it is the general practice of jewelry shops in Thailand that
all goods, once purchased, cannot be returned. However, if refund is
offered, usually 25-30 percent of the purchase price will be deducted.
Some reputable companies will take back jewelry for a full refund within
30 days after purchase.