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Dos and Don'ts of Thailand

The Monarchy:

The Thai people have a deep traditional reverence for their Royal Family and a visitor should also be careful to show respect for the King, the Queen and the Royal Children. In a cinema for example, a portrait of the King is shown during the playing of the national anthem and the audience is expected to stand. When attending some public event at which a member of the Royal Family in present, the best guide how to behave is probably to watch the crowd and do what it does.


When visiting a religious place

- Dress neatly. Do not go shirtless or in shorts, pants or other unsuitable attire. If you look at the Thais around you, you will see the way they would prefer you to be dressed which, in fact is probably not very different with the way you would dress in similar place back home.

- It's acceptable to wear shoes while walking around the compound of a Buddhist temple, but not inside the chapel where the principal Buddha image is kept. Do not worry about dirt when you have to take them off; the floors of such places are usually clean.

- In a Muslim mosque, men should wear hats and women should be well-covered with slacks or a long skirt, a long sleeved blouse buttoned to the neck and a scarf over the hair. All should remove their shoes before entering the mosque and should not be present if there is a religious gathering.

- Buddhist priests are forbidden to touch or to be touched by a woman or to accept anything from the hand of one. If a woman has to give anything to a monk or novice, she first hands it to a man, who then presents it. Or if of a woman who wants to present it with her hand, the monk or novice will spread out a piece of saffron robe or handkerchief in front of him and the woman will lay down the material on the robe which is being held at one end by the monk or novice.

- All Buddha images, large or small, ruined or not, are regarded as sacred objects. Hence, do not climb up on one to take a photograph or generally speaking, do anything that might show a lack of respect.

Social Customs:

The do's and don'ts of Thai social behaviour are less clearly defined than those concerning the monarchy or religion - especially in a city like Bangkok where Western customs are better known and more widely accepted. However, what is acceptable in Bangkok may be much less so in the countryside where the old ways are still strong. Here, there are a few things to keep in mind:  cont:

Useful Information, the Do’s and Don’ts and social customs

Useful information page 7, Social Customs and advice for Visitors