Good to Know: Thai Etiquettes

By Ridin Dinesh

Sawasdee torn chao (good morning) all!

Similar to most Asian countries, Thailand’s culture and traditions are on the conservative side. Here are the top 5 Etiquettes you should keep in mind while traveling.

1) The Wai

A solute of pressed palms and lowered heads. This is called the “wai”, and is used as a way of saying hello, thank you, and showing respect to elders, monks, and respected individuals. It is customary to “receive” a wai by performing the salute back (not necessary for waiters, street vendors, and children).

 

2) Feet is Low, Head is High

This is a saying that basically describes our belief that your feet are considered a low and dirty part of your body. Therefore, you should never place them near someone’s head, which is considered the highest part of their body, both physically and metaphorically. Additionally, Thai people will take offense if you touch someone’s head – especially an elders’.

 

3) Anthems

There are two main anthems in Thailand: the national anthem, and the King’s anthem. For both, you should rise and stand still for the duration of the song to show respect. The national anthem is played daily at 8am and 6pm in public places. As for the King’s anthem, it is played before all major performances, including movies, concerts, and other shows.

 

4) Temples and Monks

Always dress appropriately when visiting temples (refer to the blog on touring Thai temples). Be mindful to take off your shoes when you see posted signs. In addition, it is highly disrespectful to ever touch a monk. This applies especially to women, as it is forbidden for monks to touch the female body.

 

5) Public Displays of Affection (PDA)

As Thailand has a conservative culture with old fashioned customs – participating in PDAs such as close embraces and kisses are considered highly rude and offensive.

 

Enjoy our beautiful culture with these tips in mind!

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Good to Know: Thai Etiquettes