Do's& Don'ts

Technology allows people living in different corners of the world to communicate with each other more easily andrapidly than ever before. This has created new opportunities to interact with people of different beliefs and cultures. For better understanding, mutual respect and peaceful co-existence, the Ministry of Culture is pleased to present a brief guide to certain aspects of Thai culture to keep in mind.

Religion

1.When visiting Buddhist temples, dress politely. Visitors are allowed to wear shoes when walking around the temple but shoes must be removed when entering an inner sanctuary area or at places with a shoe removal sign.

2.Women are not allowed to have any physical contact to monks. If a woman is given something by a monk, she should wait for him to put down the object before picking it up. If she wants to present something to the monk, she should put it on the cloth he has spread before him.

3.Climbing, sitting on, or leaning against a Buddha image, regardless of its size, condition or whether it is genuine or a replica, is considered extremly disrespectful. It is permitted to takepictures with a Buddha image, but it shouldbe done in a polite and respectful manner.

4.The placement of Buddha images is important.. As Thais consider Buddha images sacred, placing them on the floor, under a table or a chair, in a bathroom, or on the lawn is considered disrespectful.

5.Buddha images are sold as objects of worship and not for any other purpose since they are considered representing the Lord Buddha. As such, Buddha images used as trademarks for sweets, beverages, alcoholic drinks, toys,or placing Buddha images on shoes, socks, swimwear, or underclothing is forbidden.

6.As a Buddha image is made for worshipping, laws have been issued to protect Buddha images. Unauthorized export of Buddha images from Thailand is a violation of the law, which will subject violators to legal action.

7.Hatred or contempt committed to religious objects or places of worship is a violation of the law according to Clause 206 of the Criminal Code with a jail sentence of 1-7 years.

8.Causing a disturbance or a riot at a religious assembly during a lawful meeting, worship, or religious ceremony is a criminal offence according to Clause 207 of the Criminal Code with a jail sentence of not more than one year.

9.Illegal dressing as a faux clergy in any religion is a violation of the law according to Clause 208 of the Criminal Code with a jail sentence of not more than one year.

Social Customs

1.Thais greet one another with a ‘Wai,’ the traditional closed hands and a slight bow of the head, where younger people will initiate the wai. But more recently, western visitors will generally receive a handshake on meeting.

2.Thais consider the head a sacred part of their body. One therefore should not touch anybody’s head. Apologize immediate if you happen to touch anyone’s head by accident.

3.Thais consider the feet lowly and therefore one should not put one's feet on a table or chair or point feet at people or objects.

4.Expressing sexual feeling in public is unacceptable in the Thai culture

5.Showing an image of the Thai National Flag on any package or goods is allowed only if done

  5.1)by permission of the government’s agencies, and

  5.2)for commercial purpose, with the government’s approval according to the laws regarding the National Flag.

6.Clean water and proper utensils should be used during the Songkran Festival or the Thai New Year and water should not be thrown at those who do not wish to be part of the celebration.

The Monarchy

1.The Monarchy is regarded by Thais as a revered institution, and utmost respect is required. Any transgression to the Monarchy either openly or secretly is a misdemeanor according to the Constitution.

2.Respect should be paid to the Monarchy.

3.One should stand as a gesture of respect when the Royal Anthem is played.

4.When entering a palace compound, dress politely. Sleeveless shirts or blouses, shorts, or sandals are not allowed.

General Advice

1.Observe all normal precautions as regards to personal safety as well as the safety of your belongings. Walking alone on quiet streets or deserted areas is not recommended. Be sure that your valuables; money, jewelry, and airline tickets are properly protected from loss. Call 1155, Tourist Police, for assistance.

2.Dispose of your garbage in a waste container. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is strictly enforcing the laws to keep the city clean and healthy. Fines can also be imposed on those who spit, discard cigarette stubs or litter.

3.Avoid any illegal drugs or narcotics. The penalties for drug offences in Thailand are severe, and include the death sentence.

4.Do not support wild animal abuse in any manner. Never purchase products or souvenirs made from wild animals including snakes, monitor lizards, turtle shell and ivory. Avoid patronizing local restaurants that serve wild animal delicacies. It is against the law to slaughter wildlife for food in Thailand.