Thailand is one of the most visited tourist destinations, not only in Asia, but the world. Foreigners are usually not expected to know, however following a couple of etiquettes (which are really easy to remember) will seperate you from the average tourist/traveller and can make a great impact. Though there are some common points throughout Asia , Thailand still has a few additional ones. But let’s have a look at the basics:
1. At any time, show respect to monks. If you want to take a photo, ask for permission first. If you greet a monk with a wai, don’t expect him them to return it. And ladies – sorry, but don’t hand anything to a monk or touch a monk.
Monks at Wat Doi Suthep
2. This week we went for the first time to the cinema here in Chiang Mai and got yet another interesting surprise; prior to showing the movie, the cinema shows a two minute clip from the life of the king & queen of Thailand. Stand up, watch the clip and, yes, show respect.
Major Cineplex at Central Plaza Mall, Chiang Mai
3. Return a wai – the graceful Thai greeting. Yes, for some foreigners it’s a bit, let’s say new for the beginning, but extremely appreciated. Press your palms together at the level of your chest and bow slightly. Note: you don’t need to wai to people doing any service for you, e.g. waiters.
Wat Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai
4. The Thai national anthem is played every day at 08.00 & 18.00 on national television, radios and public places. If you find yourself on a market for example, stop immediately (like everyone else does) and pay respect
18:00 at the Saturday Night Market in Chiang Mai
5. Smile and stay cool – don’t loose your temper. Many times things might go slow or just simply not the way you want, but hey, take it easy. After all YOU are a guest in the land of smiles.
Young buddhist monk. Photo via Wikimedia by Tevaprapas Makklay