There is no doubt that Thailand is one of the more interesting tourist destinations out there, and if you’re planning a trip to Thailand, it’s certainly going to be one you’ll remember.
However, before going there are a couple of Thai traditions you should be familiar with, so you can interact with locals better. Now, obviously as a tourist, you’re not required to know all these things, but you’ll find that little effort goes a long way if you just remember these simple things:
Greeting people – the Thai wai
While the traditional handshake will serve you well here too, learning how to greet people properly in Thailand will certainly help you communicate better with the locals. And it’s not even too much effort since the wai is so simple; just hold your hands together as if in prayer and boy your head slightly, holding your hands higher to show more respect.
Dress properly when Visiting temples and religious sites
Conservative dressing is key here since the Thai people are quite offended by disrespect tot heir religion. Wearing trousers instead of shorts and shirts instead of t-shirts is recommended, and it’d be better to wear shoes that could be taken off easily since it is customary to remove footwear inside temples.
Photographing Buddhist statues
DO NOT pose next to or on top of a Buddhist statue, unless you want to incur the displeasure of the locals there for worship. Do not sit in such a way that your feet point towards the statue since that is also considered disrespectful. You can photograph the statue so long as you and your company are facing the statue while taking the picture.
Be wary of how you speak of the monarchy
The Thai people are very proud of their monarchy and speaking ill of it could land you in some pretty hot legal waters (15 years in prison). Be careful of what you say about the royalty, and whatever you do, DO NOT bring up the book/movie The King and I; to the Thai people, the book is a blatant farce and illegal to own in the country.
Respect a local’s personal space
As a rule, do not touch a Thai person’s head without permission (and apologize immediately if you do) and do not touch them anywhere with your feet either. Both of these things are highly undesirable, and you would do best to avoid them as much as you can.