5 Cultural Rules to follow

by Female Abroad

Showing respect when you travel is super important, and when it comes to Thailand, there are a few things that as a foreigner you could do to show how much you appreciate your host country. Our top five suggestions are:

  1. Try to learn some of the basic phrases
    Let's start with "Hello". Men say "Sawatdee-krap" and women say "Sawatdee-kah". You may also be greeted with "the Wai" which is a bow with hands together. As a foreigner, allow the local to decide if they wish to do this gesture and if they do then return it back to them unless they are a child or someone serving you like a waiter or a clerk just smile and nod instead.

  2. Lower your body slightly
    A lot of Asian countries still base their culture on a hierarchy of social status so if someone is older, wiser, or more enlightened than you they have social superiority. If you are a woman and near a monk, you cannot be higher than them either. If you are unsure, lower your body slightly instead of standing up tall to pay respect to your superior.

  3. Dress in a properly
    If you are a woman and going to visit temples or sacred places then make sure that your shoulders and knees are covered. If you are a man and going out to dinner then long pants are usually expected. Sure it is hot and humid but there are a lot of breathable materials out there now that will even wick away moisture. Linen and cotton make for breathable materials and are my go to's. If you do want to wear a tank then make sure to pack a scarf or sweater that you can put on to enter.

  4. Take off your shoes
    If you are entering someone's house or there is a building which has an image of Buddha.

  5. Always be respectful
    Especially towards monks, the Royal Family, and Buddha images; you can actually end up in jail if you are disrespectful to Buddha.

While there are many other etiquettes like not putting chopsticks in your mouth, using them only to put food onto your fork or spoon, these are the most basic ones that will keep you out of trouble.

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