Tips for Thailand
- Do not criticize the monarchyif you want to
stay in Thailand.
- Treat monks, temples and Buddha images with
- Be especially careful not to touch a monk if you
are a woman. The unfortunate monk will have to perform all kinds of ablutions
for committing a sinand you will have sinned twicefold, once for touching
the monk and once for causing the monk to sin.
- Remain calm at all times. Never lose your temper.
(Put another way: Never lose your temper. Remain calm at all times.)
- Smile liberally. It works wonders.
- Show respect to all people, of all
- Do not touch another person's head, even a
friend's. The head is the highest point, not only physically but
- Do not use your foot to point at things. Do not
use your foot to move things (for example, don't close a door with your foot,
even if your hands are full). Do not sit with your legs crossed and one foot
pointing up (it might just point at someone's head). The foot is the lowest
point, not only physically but spiritually.
- Allow plenty of time for travel. It can take
longer than you expect to get from A to B and if you have to hurry the heat
will ensure that you regret it.
- The weather is always hot and humid, sometimes
very hot and humid. Wear light, loose-fitting, non-synthetic clothes, unless
you are sure to be in air-conditioned surroundings. (If you are taking an
air-conditioned car, make sure it goes all the way! If you are wearing a suit
and have to step from your air-conditioned car to walk to an appointment five
minutes away, you may need to take a shower.)
- An umbrella can be handy: firstly for the
scorching April sun and secondly for the torrential September
- If you're really organized, you may like to carry
a little toilet paper with you. It could avoid an embarrassing moment when you
enter a public lavatory and find that there is no toilet paper. They're not all
like that, but some are.
- Dont be afraid to ask when you need help,
even if you have to use body language to do it. Thais are happy to help, but
may be afraid to offer if you don't ask.
- Ask for a discount when shopping (except in
shopping centres and department stores). It's quite normal, and you may end up
paying half the asking price.
- When entering private homes and a few other
places it is usual to remove your shoes. For this reason, if for no other, it's
a good idea to wear slip-on rather than lace-up shoes (and take care to wear
clean, hole-free hosiery at all times!).
- Make sure you wear proper dress and make no (or
very little) noise in religious places (as well as remove your
- Observe "No Photography" signs at all times.
- Don't get uptight when you hear Thais talking
about you in your presence as falang. It's just their way of defining
part of the outside world.