Thailand Travelling Basic Etiquette

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Before arriving at your destination, it is important to know a bit of the country’s customs and courtesies when visiting.  It will help you interact better with the locals and leave a good impression on the citizens. DO not be an asshole!

When found that Thailand was no exception to this simple rule.  Although its more open than many other countries, you should still abide by basic etiquette.

thailand travelling basic etiquette

1. Dress Appropriately –  Women, be very aware of what you are wearing. Most areas of thailand are very conservative with dress and appearance. For example, in Bangkok wearing short shorts is very unusual and will earn you unwelcome looks.  You can get away with this in Pattaya or other high tourist areas where a lot is forgiven.  But if you are visiting temples ALWAYS wear long sleeves and pants.

2.  Traditional Greeting ‘Wai” a slight bow and prayer like gesture is how thai people greet each other. They also use this in saying thank you and goodbye.

3. Know basic words as you are traveling. Knowing a few Thai words make a great impression on people.  You will see smiles just from saying “Arun-sawat” (good morning).  They see that you are putting some effort when you say, “Khob Khun Kaa” (feminine Thank You) or “Khob khun krab” (masculine thank you).

4. If they offer a service refuse politely. No need to be rude, they are just trying to pay the bills.  You will find that most Thai people are not super aggressive when selling or marketing to tourist.

5. Pointing is very rude for thai people especially for religious monuments. Maybe in your country its ok, but in Thailand its not.

6. Touching somebody in the head is very offensive. It is considered the most sacred part of the body. Touching is also a sign of trust.

7. Kissing a local on their cheek may offend them. Unlike other culture kissing a friend on the cheek is normal as a part of greeting, but in Thailand its too much.

8. Leave your shoes outside upon visiting a house.

9. Smile – Thai people will sometimes give a polite smile.  Its like saying hello.  Its ok to smile back.

10. Be polite. I noticed that thai people are well mannered and never yell in public places at all.

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