Thailand is a stunning country with an abundance of activities for tourists from any background to enjoy. Before you start packing your bags, however, there are some things to note about Thailand that can shape your trip—and your understanding about Thai people.
They have a royal family—and they’re very respectful of them
The Thai people are very proud and protective of their King. All members of the royal family are treated with the utmost respect and, unlike some other countries with royalty, they are almost universally beloved. This means that people do not speak ill of the King and they expect you to do the same. You will likely see pictures of the King everywhere you go, so be mindful to not display any negativity toward the King.
Thai people view the body hierarchically
Thai people see the body as a hierarchy with the head at the top and the feet at the bottom. This means that it is incredibly disrespectful to touch the top of someone’s head because it is considered sacred. It is also considered disrespectful to point at things with your feet—since that is considered the lowest, dirtiest part of the body. This is especially true with things that are important to the Thai people. For instance, pointing to a Buddha or a portrait of the King with your feet would be seen as immensely rude. Even opening a door with your feet could be taken the wrong way, so be wary.
Thailand is a very laid back country
In Thailand, they have a philosophy of letting things go. This means that Thai people will rarely make a fuss or get angry when things do not go their way. It also means that things move rather slowly and you will be expected to go with the flow.
Scams are common but avoidable
Scams in Thailand are common, given how popular it is with tourists. All you have to do to avoid them, however, is just to be attentive to your surroundings. If a tuk-tuk driver offers you a ride to an exclusive location that is not your destination, turn him down firmly and politely. If you are out at an open-air market, be sure to keep your valuables close to your body and to stay alert in large crowds.
Thai temples are no-shoes only
Thai temples are sacred spaces and shoes are never worn inside. This is not just a fact of temples, however. Thai homes, shops, and even some restaurants will expect you to remove your shoes. To not do so is considered rude, so be certain to comply whenever it is required.
Thailand is very conservative
From PDA to skimpy clothes, behaviors like these are frowned upon in Thailand. While you are allowed to wear beach clothes at the beach, don’t expect to be able to wear these same clothes elsewhere just because it is hot outside. Keep your more revealing clothes—and your PDA—to your hotel.
There is no doubt that you will enjoy a trip to Thailand. With its rich history and its beautiful monuments, there is no shortage of things to do and see. Take these facts with you as you embark on your Thai journey and have fun exploring.