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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 07 Etiquette Tips for Travelling in Thailand – Make No Mistakes
Joanna James Joanna James
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07 Etiquette Tips for Travelling in Thailand – Make No Mistakes

If you are heading to Thailand, there are a few customs and rules that one needs to get acquainted with. You will be surprised at how the tiniest of gestures can offend a local, do read on and be safe


Never Drop on Even Stand on Currency

The feet are thought to be the dirtiest and lowest part of a person's body, hence, one should not point feet at someone else, sit cross-legged or put your feet up. It is also considered to be disrespectful to drop or stand on the Thai Baht, which has images of the reigning monarch printed on it. This gesture is considered disrespectful to the royal family.


Never Touch a Persons Head

In Thailand the head is considered sacred, as such, it is very disrespectful to touch someone hair or even give them a pat on the head. Visitors used to ruffling kids hair, should be extra cautious and mindful of this very innocent gesture that can offend in Thailand. Even when getting a Thai massage, your masseur, as a sign of respect, will ask for permission to massage your head. The visiting alternative therapist of Anantara Lawana Koh Samui Resort and other similar resorts will update you on this etiquette before starting the holistic treatments.


A 'Wai' Must Always be Returned

A 'Wai' in Thailand is a greeting that has one bowing their heads to you with the hands clad in prayer. Most locals you meet will greet you this way, and it is the polite custom to return the 'Wai' with a smile and similar bow. Should you come across a monk, remember to bow your head and bend from the waist, when greeting him with a 'Wai'.


Monks Must be Respected

Temple tours are part of your Thailand tour, even guests at a comfy luxury resort, Koh Samui is famous for will venture out for a day to explore the temples. At these temples you will meet monks who will explain the intricacies of Buddhism. During these conversations, always show respect, remember a monk must have no contact with females; hence, females should not directly touch or brush past a monk. Also, when passing something over to a monk, do not try to hand it over to him; instead lay it down for the monk to pick up. There will be very young monks in training, and even they must be shown the utmost respect.


Dress Modestly When Visiting Temples

Thai's have a strict dress code when visiting temples; you will be turned away should you not conform to these requirements. Remember to always show respect to the religion; do not wear clothes that expose shoulders, knees or arms; men should not go bare-chested. Keep a shawl and long sleeved shirt handy for when you are entering the temple, and make sure to wear long cotton pants, skirts or floor length dresses.


Do Not Beckon or Point

Never point at temples or the people; it is considered rude and even sexually offensive. If you need to gesture for a person to come over, stretch out your hand and with the palm pointing downwards, wave your fingers towards yourself while tilting your head and chin to indicate a 'come here' gesture.


Entrance Rates Won't Always be the Same

It is common for tourists to be charged more than the locals for certain attractions. Always check the websites for ticket rates and avoid sudden disappointments, you can get in for lesser rates should you plan on visiting certain attractions during the off-peak season or via a group tour.