With nearly 30 million international visitors in 2015, Thailand has become a favorite destination among tourist. Here are few things you should keep in mind when traveling to this Southeast Asian country.
For many travelers including the LGBT community, Thailand is a relaxing and friendly destination filled with cultural integrity, rich heritages, commercial centers and entertainment venues, tropical white sandy beaches, not mention to the traveling cost which is only half as cheap compared to many countries in the region. In spite of being such open, Buddhism remains Thailand’s prevalent religion and plays an integral part of Thai identity and culture. More than 90% of its population are Buddhists of the Theravada tradition, standing among the highest active participations in Buddhism in the world. For this reason, there are some rules you should bear in mind on your Thailand holiday.
- Dress properly when visiting temples
Buddhist temple is one of the must-sees when in Thailand, namely Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew. Thai people pay special attention to be dressed properly; therefore, travelers, especially females, should dress modestly when visiting temples and holy places.
- Women are not allowed to get too close or touch Buddhist monks
With Buddhist nation such as Thailand, women are less likely to stay too close to the monks. Besides, the action of touching monks is totally banned in this country.
- Do not show disrespect to the King and the Thai royal family
Every Thai people has the great respect and admiration for the King and the royal family. The king’s and queen’s photos appear everywhere from streets to schools, railway stations to the airports. Thus, you should show respect for them as the local do. Remember do not speak ill or have indecent acts to the Thai royal family. Otherwise, you shall be punished based on Article 112 in Lese-Majesty – Thai Criminal Code.
- Do not play with the national flag.
Surely no one want to see their national flag being held as a joke, the Thai either. Think twice if you have an idea of turning the flag into a dress, as you will receive uncomfortable looks.
- Do not touch somebody’s head or ruffle their hair
To the Thai people, the head is the most important part of the body. Therefore, actions like touching is considered rude and impolite. Apologize if you accidentally touch somebody’s head.
- Do not put feet on the table
Contrary to the head, feet are considered low and dirty. You should pay attention to your legs when sitting to avoid gestures that offend other people. Don’t place your feet up on anything such as table or chair or use them to pick up something such as a banknote. Don’t point to anything with your feet and don’t touch anyone with your feet as well. Keep them on the ground!
- Be careful with taxi
Many taxis in Thailand, especially in Bangkok, don’t use meter. So you should be careful when transferring by this kind of transport. It is best to check in advance before get in. In addition, many taxi drivers have rights to refuse you if not convenient to their ways.
- Whistling at midnight
Thai people believe that whistling at midnight brings bad luck, it is just like you were to call the death’s soul. So if you go out late night, don’t be foolish to whistle, otherwise you will bring about bad luck for yourself and even your friends!
- Speak loudly in public places
Thai personality is soft and gentle, even when talking. Thus you should avoid to talk loudly when in the stores or restaurants or you will dine in the eyes of uncomfortable people around.
- Don’t be overly affectionate in public
If you travel to America or European countries, you will feel comfortable with this. However, be careful when doing it in Thailand. Although this has changed in recent years, Thai people in general do not show too much affection in public beyond holding hands.
This is what makes people worry because they think the nation will be very open to such things. But if you observe carefully, most of those things such as hugging or kissing are made mainly by visitors only! So do not let this misunderstanding turn your holiday in Thailand into awkward moments.