||What to do in Phuket
View Large Map
More beaches info
The Thai people are known for our warmth and hospitality, and this has become Thailand’s cultural
icon. However, Thai culture is very different from the West and with any inter-cultural
relationships, there is a need for common mutual respect, courtesy, and good manners. Therefore,
there are some distinct aspects that are worth of special mention.
Respect for the Monarchy
Woven deeply into Thailand’s culture is high reverence and respect for Their Majesties the King
and Queen of Thailand and the Royal Family. One important example is to stand at attention
whenever the national or royal anthem is played at any public gathering including in a cinema.
The main religion of the Thai people is Buddhism. However, there are also other faiths accepted
and practiced in Thailand. Therefore, tourists should have respect for places and objects of
worship of the various religions, and observe peace and order during religious assemblies or
ceremonies. Also dress neatly - shorts, mini-skirts and sleeveless T-shirts, and tops, and
sundresses are not considered appropriate. While it is alright to wear shoes and sandals around
compound of a temple, these must be removed when entering the sanctuary or chapel. Also all
Buddha images are considered as sacred; hence, show respect and reverence in public places
where these images are present and especially when taking photographs of thm
Traditionally, Thai people do not not shake hands. We greet each other by putting our palms
together in a prayer-like gesture called a “wai”. A younger person would “wai” an older person first
and the latter will respond. It is also good to bear in mind that the “wai” symbolizes the paying of
respect, and it follows that where one is meeting more senior people, regardless of their age, one
would start the “wa” first.
It is also perfectly acceptable to address your Thai host, guest or associate by his/her first name
instead of his/her family name. The salutation in a Thai greeting is Khun and is not gender
Some traditional Thai meals are served with guests sitting on the floor. While sitting on the floor,
do not point your foot toward another person but keep your feet nicely tucked away as you sit. In
the Thai culture, the foot represents the lowest part of the human anatomy and using it to point to
someone is interpreted as a rude gesture.
Whilst the foot is considered the lowest part of the human anatomy in Thai culture, the head is
considered the most revered. Thus, it is considered impolite to touch someone’s head, even if the
gesture is considered friendly in some cultures. Further to this, when in a group, young people will
make an effort to lower their heads when passing by the more elderly ones. This is to avoid the
implications that the younger ones are ‘looking down’ on the more elderly ones. It may be an
effort, but it is the attitude that counts.
Frowns, grimaces, loud voices and ‘loosing your cool’ in public places interprets a depature from
good public behavior.
Woman should not get close to Buddhist monks, as they are forbidden to touch or be touched by a
woman. When a woman needs to present anything to a monk, she should first hand it to a man
who will then hand it onward to the monk. Another alternative is that she will be given a saffron
robe or a handkerchief on which will then be handed over to the monk.