With about 30 million international visitors in 2015, Thailand has become a popular destination for tourists. However, before visiting this beautiful country, you should take the time to learn some travel tips.
Thailand is considered a friendly and comfortable country with almost all tourists, including the Lesbian/Bisexual/Gay/Transgendered (LGBT) community. There are plenty of plazas, entertainment zones, and beautiful landscapes for all people to enjoy. These, along with the cheap travel costs, are just a few of the reasons why Thailand is a very attractive destination in the paradise of Southeast Asia.
Although there is plenty of openness, Thailand is still a Buddhist country. This is one more reason why you should learn the following customs and considerations before visiting the country.
1. Dress appropriately when visiting temples
Thailand is the world’s most heavily Buddhist country. Because of this, temples in Bangkok in particular and Thailand in general are the must-see places to visit. However, one of the most important things for tourists to know when visiting this temple country is to dress neatly and appropriately — especially women. The best way to do this is to wear a t-shirt and a pair of trousers.
2. Don’t touch or stand close to monks if you are a woman
As a Buddhist country, women should limit conversations with and refrain from touching monks because this is considered taboo. Remain respectful of monks at all times.
3. Do not defame royalty or the King of Thailand
Thai people have reverence and admiration for the King and Queen of Thailand. You can see photos of the King and Queen everywhere in the country — at schools, on roads, at stations, and in airports. Therefore, be respectful and don’t defame or speak negatively of Thailand’s royals.
4. Don’t play with Thailand’s flag
Nobody wants to see their national flag be made into a joke, so, of course, this is also true for Thai people. If you have the idea that you’ll make the flag into a dress, you should definitely rethink this before visiting the country.
5. Do not rub the heads of others
Rubbing someone’s head seems to be a kind act to show your love, but this act in Thailand does not have the same meaning. Thai people believe that the head is a noble part of the human body, so rubbing or touching other people’s heads is a no no.
6. Don’t put your legs or feet on the table
Contrary to the head, the legs and feet are said to be “lowly” parts of the human body. Therefore, Thai people refrain from putting their legs or feet up on the table. Furthermore, you should pay attention to your legs when sitting to avoid gestures that may offend other people.
7. Be careful with taxis
Using taxis for transportation is normally a good and safe idea for travelers, but you should be careful when taking taxis in Thailand — especially in Bangkok. This is because almost none of Bangkok’s taxis use meters and you are more likely to be overcharged. Some drivers will even refuse to use the meter if you make the request.
8. Don’t whistle at night
Thai people believed that whistling at night will bring bad luck, just as if you were calling to spirits. Whistling at night will not only bring bad luck upon you, but also upon your friends.
9. Don’t speak loudly in public places
Thai people are quite gentle and soft, even when speaking. You should not speak loudly in stores or restaurants in Thailand if you want to fit in with the Thai people.
10. Don’t display intimate behavior in public places
You can comfortably embrace your partner if you’re traveling in the US or European countries. However, try to be more conservative in Thailand. Thai people do not appreciate such blatant displays of affection, so keep the intimate behavior to a minimum.