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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 05 Things to Know Before Travelling to Thailand – How to Enjoy the 'Land of Smiles'
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05 Things to Know Before Travelling to Thailand – How to Enjoy the 'Land of Smiles'

Thailand is on every discerning traveller's list. Culture, scenery & of course cuisine are a force to be reckoned with. This list offers insights into the customs & traditions of this Buddhist nation.


Respect the Royal Family

The king and royal family are highly respected in Thailand. On arrival, you will see lots of pictures of the beloved leader who is seen as a universal father figure. Thai's love their monarchs and look to them as teachers and followers of the righteous path laid out by Buddha. You should not mock or ridicule any aspect of the Thai monarchy. The national anthem played over loudspeakers in public and government places twice daily garners lots of respect with locals stopping work and standing to attention. Tourists following suit too will earn respect and enjoy a better service.


Respect the Polite Customs

Respect the Thai's and they will see you in a new light. Learn the traditional form of greeting; the wai. Do this by placing your hands together in a prayer-like position and bowing slightly. Practise this greeting cum goodbye and you will see locals treat you with much respect. You must also follow basic customs such as not touching the head of someone; as Thai's consider the body sacred the head is the most revered and must be respected. Likewise, feet which are considered dirty and the lowest part of the body should not point in the direction of anyone you are talking to or standing near. Take your shoes off before entering temples and even homes. Keeping them on while everyone else has left theirs at the door is considered rude. You must also endeavour to learn a few Thai phrases like 'please' and 'thank you'; this will earn you loads of smiles and appreciation when touring the country.


Take Along Loads of Toilette Paper

Well before you freak out, toilette paper is sold in the country; so not necessary to pack heaps of it. The vibrant capital and in fact any city hotel Bangkok has to offer will be well equipped with modern stylish western type toilettes. But if you are heading out of major cities where chains like AVANI Hotels & Resorts may not have properties, consider taking along some toilette paper. Most suburban precincts are equipped with Asian style squatting pans in the toilettes and have water instead of toilette paper. Of course, if you are transferring within a hotel chain there isn't much to worry for major cities like Bangkok and Pattaya are well serviced.


Sometimes you need to Risk it and Eat it

Street food is Bangkok's biggest allure while floating markets and night bazaars on outskirt towns are known for their excellent collection of local food. From fried pork to sticky rice with mango the country is a foodie's haven. Of course, you will be warned about eating street food, but if basic precautions are followed there are times you need to let go and just indulge in some of the heavenly treats.


No Worries – Mai Pen Rai

This phrase "Mai Pen Rai" captures the essence and philosophy of Thai life and culture. Roughly translated to mean 'no worries' and to take life easy, this phrase epitomises the simple laidback lifestyle of the Thai people. Serene thoughts that follow Buddhist teachings together with polite customs promise to relax and offer peace to even the most harassed traveller.