Combine a carefree, hospitable, and cheerful nature with a deeply ingrained sense of pride, national unity and respect for traditions and fellow human beings, especially parents, teachers, and elders, and you have the true character of Thai. In Thailand people often use completely different manners than we are used to in the West. Below is an overview of a number of 'norms and values' that you should take into account.
Thailand is the 'land of smiles'. This smile often hides more than we are used to. You will find that Thai people rarely lose their temper and do everything they can to avoid conflict. They keep smiling even when they don't really like you. In the eyes of a Thai, getting angry (“sjai ron” = hot heart) is a sign of lack of self-control and immaturity. Keep smiling even if you must wait a little longer, because chances are that if you get angry you will have to wait even longer.
HEAD AND FEET
According to the Thai, the head is the main part of the body and the abode of the soul. It is therefore an insult to touch the head of a Thai. You will see that young people generally try to keep their heads lower than older people and that staff try not to raise their heads above the guest. Feet, on the other hand, are considered base parts in Thailand. Prevent your feet or soles from pointing at someone or a Buddha statue and never step over anyone. As in China, it is believed that spirits dwell in the raised thresholds of temples and traditional houses and that they become angry and bring bad luck if anyone steps on those thresholds
APPROPRIATE CLOTHING AND SHOES
When visiting religious shrines, you are expected to wear civilized clothing (no sleeveless shirt or shorts). Before entering a temple or private home, however simple it may be, you must remove your shoes. Furthermore, fashion is a limited concept in Thailand. For the Thai it is especially important that clothes are clean. Nude swimming is illegal and gives Thais a sense of shame.
Buddhist monks, identified by their orange robes, should be treated with respect. Don't just take a picture of a monk, ask permission first. This is generally given. Women are not allowed to touch a monk.
The Thai royal family is virtually sacred in Thailand. Never be critical or derogatory about the royal couple, this is punishable. When the national anthem is played, at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., in public places such as stations and parks, and at the start of a movie, one should stop talking and stand.
In the typical Thai greeting, the Wai, the palms are pressed together towards the chin. The Thai doesn't shake hands. Besides greeting with the Wai, this gesture also shows respect and sympathy for the other person. One can also deduce their mutual relationship from the way two Thais greet each other. The higher one holds hands, the higher the other is on the social ladder. The Thai does not expect a Wai from the foreigner, and it is therefore best to just shake hands.
Openly displaying affection is considered untasteful in Thailand. The Thai don't like to say "no" because they are afraid to offend someone.
Those who have tasted the unique atmosphere of this country will never forget it. We introduce you to the real Thailand that has so much to offer its guests that the visitor often feels a kind of homesickness after returning home. Nostalgia for that unique mixture of devout monks, noisy street vendors, hill tribes, markets, tropical nature and probably the friendliest people in the world.