Thailand is a land of great cultural riches that exemplifies the blend of the modern and the traditional. The Thai are a people that are very helpful, friendly and hard working. They are very religious at the same time the amount of social and cultural tolerance is very high. Modern behaviors co exist with old fashioned ones in this country. Here are a list of 10 Thai customs that you should know before you set foot in the country:
1. Learn to acknowledge the Wai custom. As soon as you arrive in Thailand, young men and women will greet you with folded hands and a bent head forward,. This is a traditional Thai greeting that dates back centuries. It is used to welcome guests or even thank someone. Remember to be polite with people when they greet you with a Wai. You may not know all the rules but at least a courteous acknowledgment is a sign of respect.
2. Leave your shoes at the door when you enter a traditional home or a setting that requires you to meet Thai guests. The Thai also prefer seating themselves in the ground. So be prepared to fold your legs and sit back at customary events.
3. You should show respect to the King. The Thai are very sensitive about the King who they consider to be next to the lord and the Royal family. The Royals are the first family of Thailand. The King should never be named or even mentioned in controversial statements that may infuriate the locals. No negative comment should be ever made about the King. Fines or even punishment may be meted out to anyone showing disrespect to the King.
4. Never touch anyone on the head or even pass your hand over it. The head is the most scared corner of the mortal body and you should be careful not to pat that little kid on the road on his head. The foot is considered the least sacred part of the body so it is disrespectful if you raise your leg in public or point the soles of your feet at someone while walking.
5. Do not point fingers in public. It is considered disrespectful in Thai culture.
6. You should always keep calm when talking to locals. Thais loathe it when someone raises his or her voice and gets irate. Keeping calm in stressful situations garners you more respect and embodies personal discipline.
7. Always show respect to to Thai monks and the Royal family. Monks are integral to Thai life. They are loved, revered, greeted with the Wai. A woman should never touch a monk and only pay her offerings to another man who then passes it over.
8. When passing things, money and touching a person, it is advisable you use your right hand and not your left as it is considered impure, used while at squatting during ablutions.
9. Always smile when you meet people. It is not for nothing that Thailand is considered the country of smiles!
10. Finally, if you are entering a religious shrine or a temple, do not wear anything that is revealing but instead go for clothes that are modest by all standards.
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