The king and the Country
The king and the whole Monarchy are respected to the highest standard by all locals and the foreign visitors are EXPECTED to do the same. The penalty for disrespecting the king of the Monarchy is 7 Years imprisonment.
The National Anthem is played every day at 8am and 6pm on the radio and television and is some place in the town centres, and it is considered disrespectful if you do not stop and stand still when you hear the national or royal anthem. All the Thai nationals stop whatever they are doing and stand still until it is over and the foreign visitor are EXPECTED to do the same. The Royal anthem is played just before a movie is about to start at the cinema and the whole audience is required to stand in peace until it has finished.
The most important thing to remember is to dress neatly and take off your shoes before entering a building that contains a Buddha image. Buddha images are sacred and are not to be posed in front of and are not to be played on.
Shorts or sleeveless tops are inappropriate dress for both men and women when entering a temple, Thai nationals wearing these clothes would be turned away. Although in some of the larger temple the guards would often be too polite to refuse a foreigner entry, going dressed in the proper attire is more respectful to their culture.
Monks are not allowed to be touched or touch a woman. If you wish to give something to a monk it must be placed in reaching distance of the monk and he can collect it. It should not be handed directly to him if you are a woman. When you are sitting in a religious place such as a temple, your feet should never be pointed toward the Buddha. Sit with your legs to the side and you feet should point out behind you.
Most of the temples do not charge for entry, but a small donation is always appropriate. Some of the large temples, for example, “The Grand Palace” in Bangkok have entry fees.
Feet and Head
One of the most important thing to remember is that the feet are the lowest part of your body and your head is the highest part of your body. You should never point at anything with your feet or at anyone. Do not place your feet on tables or on chairs. And defiantly do not touch any one with your feet.
As the head is considered the highest part of the body, do not touch anyone’s head and do not ruffle their hair. If for some reason you by accidently touch some ones head, offer an apology straight away or offence might be taken.
Dress and Nudity
Dressing appropriately is a key thing to remember. When entering a government building e.g. immigration, dressing in the appropriate attire is required, do not wear short, sleeveless shirts, tank tops etc.
Sandals and flips flop are usually ok in most cases.
Sunbathing in the nude in Thailand is ILLIGAL and the Thai Nationals get extremely offended. Even sunbathing topless is founded upon and it’s better not to do it.
According to the National Park act if a woman is seen sunbathing topless on a national park beach is breaking the law, so DON’T do it.
Nude and topless bathing is what bothers the local the most about foreigners and it’s a sign of disrespect for the locals.
Go-go bars are a cultural addition and they are mostly out of the public eye and are designed for the foreign consumption. Do not assume every young Thai girl is a prostitute.
General dos and don’ts for Thailand
- Do try and learn a few basic words in Thai as it is appreciated
- Don’t rent motor bike here on the island unless you have a motor bike license
- If you do rent a motor bike wear a helmet at all times
- If you rent a motor bike don’t hand over your passport give a drivers license
- Don’t drink and drive (very common in Thailand)
- Don’t do drugs! If someone talks to you about drugs walk away
- Do not attempt to bring drugs into the country or take them out
- Do not lose your temper with Thai locals as they view it as you losing face
- Remember that the sun is powerful here so please remember to put on adequate suntan lotion every morning
- Do not bargain too aggressively in shops, however a bit of bargaining is expected
- Do not bring more than your customs allowance into the country