Thailand has a long history with customs deeply rooted in morality, politeness, and decency. They have a well-developed sense of right and wrong with many unwritten rules on appropriate behavior. It is best to be aware of these cultural nuances before your arrive to ensure you treat everyone with respect and receive it in return.
|Respect all Buddha images. Buddha images are sacred and sacrilegious acts are punishable by imprisonment even if committed by a foreigner.||Point at people or things with your feet. This is considered highly impolite, as the feet are considered to be the most dirty and inferior part of the body.
|Always speak respectfully about HM The King, HM The Queen and the Royal Family. They are respected and loved deeply by Thai people. Never criticize the Thai Monarchy or government in public or online, including on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs and other media outlets.||Touch the head of a Thai person (unless in training). This is seen as very disrespectful.
|Dress appropriately when visiting temples. Long shirts and pants are best; women especially should make sure their shoulders and knees are covered.||Touch a Thai woman without consent. Most Thai women are conservative, and please remember that not all Thai women are bar girls.
|Remove your shoes before entering a temple, someone's house and even some shops if you see that other sets of sandals are outside of the door.||Be overly affectionate with your partner in public. Small gestures like holding hands are fine, but overtly sexual acts in public are deeply looked down upon.|
|Always drive a motorbike or ride a bicycle with a helmet on, and be very mindful of your speed. Road accidents are very common but can be avoided by driving defensively and responsibly.||Sunbathe nude. Thailand is a Buddhist country, and there are no nude beaches. Please be respectful and wear your swimsuit.
|Use or carry drugs. If you are caught, you will face the same penalties as a local and the Thai justice system is very unforgiving when it comes to drugs.|
|Lose your temper and/or yell at a Thai person. Try to keep calm no matter what the problem or provocation may be.
|Overstay your visa. Visa regulations are very strict and depending on how long you overstay you may be banned from Thailand for a period of 1 to 10 years.|
Other Things to Remember:
AKA Thailand is situated in a residential village. Please drive slowly and with caution on our back roads.
Buddhist monks are not allowed to touch or be touched by women, or accept anything from a woman’s hand. If you visit a temple and do not know what is or is not culturally acceptable, ask someone at the temple or inquire with a local before you go.
It is polite to tip at restaurants, especially ones that you frequent. A good tip is around 10% of your bill – usually 20-50 Baht.
Never take a taxi without negotiating a price before you get in the car.
Do not drink tap water. If you have a sensitive stomach it is best to avoid water and drinks with ice from smaller Thai restaurants as the ice cubes are usually made with tap water. Most restaurants with Western/European menus use bottled or filtered water.