Are you planning a trip to Thailand? When you are traveling to Thailand, no one expects you to be perfectly polite in Thai way. However, it's important to know the basics of Thai culture before your trip in order to better understand Thai people and Thai language.
10 things about Thai culture Thais would love you to know before traveling to Thailand:
1. Thai people have a true and deep feeling of love and respect for the King as he has done a lot of good things for the country and Thai people. The king and royal family are held in very high regard and they should never be criticized or offended.
2. ‘Wai’ and saying 'Sa-Wad-Dee’ is the way of Thai greeting instead of shaking hands. Wai is an action when you put both your hands together, put them to the chest level and bend the head to bring the hands and nose together while saying sa-wad-dee to show respect for elders or people of a higher social status. If someone Wai you first, you should return the Wai.
3. Thai people do actually smile a lot. It’s the culture. They are taught to be kind and friendly. You can see Thai smile everywhere and almost in any situation, even if they are sad.
4. Thais are very conscious of age and status. They will address other people as senior to them ('Pi') or junior to them ('Nong').
5. Compared to Westerners, Thais are not given to much physical contact. Avoid touching people unless you know them very well.
6. Forget about what you might see in Pattaya or Phuket, traditional Thai people are actually conservative in many ways. Thais don't show too much affection in public. Kissing in public is considered completely inappropriate, even in a big city like Bangkok. Nowadays, it is more open for a couple to show the expression, but still not common.
7. Every Thai person has a nickname. They do not address to people by calling their last names. So it’s more common to address each other by nickname or followed the first name. When you talk to somebody in a respectful way, you can use "Khun" (mean Mr., Mrs., and Miss) which is a polite form that can be used to address anyone.
8. Thais don't really use chopsticks often, only occasionally with noodles. Thais use a spoon and a fork, but not like westerners do. The fork should never go into your mouth; Thais only use it to push the food onto the spoon. If you can’t use like this, people probably won't think much about it because you are a foreigner. However, there are few meals that can be eaten by hand; it is sticky rice and most likely Isan food.
9. In Thailand, you will hear the Thai national anthem played every day at 8am and 6pm when the national flag is also to be raised and lowered. It is played on every TV, radio, at schools and in most other public areas such as BTS station, MRT station and weekend markets. Don't be surprised to see everyone automatically stopping what they are doing and standing still until the anthem ends. They show respect to their country this way.
10. It is considered very disrespectful to step in a house with shoes on. The same rule applies to going to the temple, everyone is expected to be barefoot inside the main building as it shows respect to Buddha.
If you would like any further information, please feel free to contact us and we will do our best to answer all your questions about Thailand and Thai culture.