Travelling to Thailand
Travelling to Thailand is a pleasure for tourists from all over the globe; nevertheless, certain things should be kept in mind during your stay.
Whilst Thai people are among the most tolerant and forbearing of hosts, they have nevertheless a number of customs and taboos which the visitor should respect. To help with this the Tourist Authority of Thailand publishes a tiny booklet entitled "Do's and Don'ts in Thailand". A few extracts are included here :
- Public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon. You may see Westernised young Thai's holding hands in public, but that is as far as it goes, in polite society.
- Topless bathing may be considered acceptable in your own country, but is inappropriate in Thailand.
- Thai's consider the head as the highest part of the body, both literally and figuratively. As a result they don't approve of touching anyone on the head, even as a friendly gesture.
- It is considered rude to point the sole of your foot at another person, so try to avoid doing so when sitting opposite someone, and following the concept that the foot is the lowest limb, don't point your foot to show anything to anyone.
- Buddhist monks are forbidden to touch or be touched by a woman, or to accept anything from the hand of one. If a woman wants to give anything to a monk or novice, she first hands it to a man, who then presents it. In case the woman wants to present it with her hand, the monk or novice will spread out a piece of saffron robe, and the woman will lay down the gift on the material.
- It is alright to wear shoes whilst walking around the grounds of a Buddhist temple, but not inside the chapel where the Buddha image is kept. Women should ensure that their legs and shoulders are covered before entering a Buddhist temple. Please do not wear shorts.
- The Thai people have a deep traditional reverence for the Royal Family, and the visitor should also show respect for the King and the Queen, and the Royal Children. When attending a public event where a member of the Royal Family is present, the best guide on how to behave is to watch the crowd and do as it does.
And what is the most important - do not go to Thailand without a travel insurance!