Dos and Don'ts in Thailand

Travelling to distant lands is a wonderful way to try new experiences and meet new people but it can be a minefield when it comes to etiquette. So, when in Thailand, here’s a quick guide to what you should and what you definitely should not do.


The ‘wai’ is the usual Thai greeting, which involves the bowing of the head with the hands held in a praying gesture in front of the chest. Everyone will greet you this way and you should do the same, with a big smile. 


You are sure to visit many temples on your holiday to Thailand. When you enter, your shoulders and knees should always be covered, and make sure shoes are removed.


If you meet a monk on your travels don’t be over-familiar or ask personal questions. Women should not touch them, or even brush past them, and if you need to pass something to a monk, put it down in front of them rather than handing it directly.


Don’t touch or turn your back on images of Buddha. If you take photos, do so from a discreet distance, and from a kneeling position.


Along with beckoning, this gesture is seen as rude, or even sexually aggressive, so both should be avoided. You should also never point the soles of your feet towards anyone or at an image of Buddha.


When eating in a restaurant, don’t be surprised if all your dishes come at once, rather than course by course. And when it does arrive, prepare to share with the rest of the table. Never eat from your fork – instead you should use it to push your food onto your spoon – and no matter how tempting that last morsel looks, do not be the one to take it from a sharing bowl.

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