Thailand is a very tolerent society with a warmth and hospitality too match. The average tourist will have no difficulty in adjusting to the local customs All the same, as when coming into any unfamiliar society, a visitor may find it helpful to be aware of certain do's and don't's, and thus avoid making accidental misunderstanding. Basically, most of these are simply a matter of common sense and good manners in fact not really all that different from the way one would behave in one's own country but a few are special enough to be pointed out.
The Monarchy : Thai people have a deep, traditional reverence for the Royal Family, and a visitor should be careful to show respect for the King, the Queen and the Royal Children.
Religion : Visitors should dress neatly in all religious shrines. They should never go topless, or in shorts, hot pants or other unsuitable attireIt is acceptable to wear shoes when walking around the compound of a Buddhist temple, but not inside the chapel where the principal Buddha image is kept.
Each Buddha image, large or small, ruined or not, is regarded as a sacred object. Never climb onto one to take a photograph or do anything which might indicate a lack of respect. Buddhist monks are forbidden to touch or be touched by a woman, or to accept anything from the hand of one. If a woman has to give anything to a monk, she first hands it to a man, who then presents it.
Social Norms :
Thais don't normally shake hands when they greet one another, but instead press the palms together in a prayer-like gesture called a wai. Generally a younger person wais an elder, who returns it.
Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body, literally and figuratively. Therefore, avoid touching people on the head and try not to point your feet at people or an object. It is considered very rude. Shoes should be removed when entering a private Thai home.
Public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon.
Special Advice :
- Beware of unauthorised people who offer their services as guides. For all tourist information, contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Tel : 1672. For information about Bangkok, contact the Bangkok Metropolitan Tourist Bureau, Tel : 0 2225 7612-4.
- Observe all normal precautions as regards to personal safety, as well as the safety fof your belongings. Walking alone on quiet streets or deserted areas is not recommended. Be sure that all your valuables-money, jewellery, and airline tickets are properly protected from loss. Visitors needing assistance relating to safety, unethical practices, or other matters, please call the Tourist Police at Tel: 1155. Use the service of only registered travel agents.
- Drop your garbage into a waste container. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration id no strictly enforcing the law in an effort to keep the city clean and healthy. The fine will be imposed on a person who spits, discards cigarette stubs, or drops rubbish in public areas.
- Do not get yourself involved with drugs. Penalties for drug offences are very severe in Thailand. Do not even be tempted to buy drugs of any kind. Often there is a sting operation, where a Thai person will offer you some pot! and as soon as you have bought it, the police decend and spending time in a Thai prision is not good. STAY CLEAR!
- Do not support any manner of wild animal abuse. Never purchase any products or souvenirs made from wild animals including reptiles like snakes, monitor lizards, and also turtle shell and ivory. Avoid patronizing local restaurants that serve wild animal delicacies. It is against the law to slaughter wildlife for food in Thailand.