The dos and don’ts and information on this page are relevant to any destination in Thailand. At the bottom of the page, you can find the important Pattaya dos and don’ts and some handy Thailand dos and don’ts info graphs.
Learning a little about Thai customs and culture and what you should and should not do when you visit Thailand will ensure you have a safe and pleasant stay in Thailand.
If you’re visiting Pattaya for the first time, here are some handy Pattaya beginners tips and tricks, including when to visit, how to get around, and things to do in Pattaya. If you’re a single guy visiting for the first time, start with this Pattaya first time guide for men.
Do Respect The Royal Family
Thais are very patriotic and very much devoted to their Royal Family. Shows of respect for the Thai Royal Family occur daily in many public and official places. It’s very important that you also show respect, and that extends to all things associated with the Royal Family.
Stand for The National and Royal Anthems
You might happen to hear the Thai National Anthem played while you are at a government office or other official place or even at an immigration checkout.
You might be at an event, gathering, or even at the cinema in Pattaya when the Royal Anthem is played before a movie is screened. In both events, you will be expected to stand and show respect. It’s quite simple–when you see Thais standing to respect the anthem, you do the same.
Do not defame, insult, or criticize The Royal Family
Any defamation or insulting (lese majeste) of the Thai Royal Family is against the law and, in extreme cases, is punishable by a lifetime jail sentence. The best advice is to refrain from making any negative comments, especially on the internet.
Respect Thai Coins and Banknotes
Thai coins and banknotes feature a portrait of the present and former kings. Hence they must be treated with respect. Below are a few things you must not do with any Thai coins or banknotes.
Do not stand on a Thai coin or banknote: It’s a natural reaction for most of us to stand on a coin or banknote to stop it from rolling or being blown away. In Thailand, standing on a coin is tantamount to standing on the king’s head; it’s a very, very big no-no.
For reasons of respect, here’s a list of more things (below) you should not do with Thai coins and banknotes.
- Do not intentionally drop or let a coin or banknote fall to the ground
- Do not leave a coin or banknote on the ground
- Do not intentionally deface, screw up, rip, or otherwise damage Thai banknotes or coins
Respect Thai Customs & Culture
Thais have some strange customs. At least if you’re a first-time visitor to Thailand, they are. The dos and don’ts for Thailand (below) will help you with everything from socializing to visiting temples.
Do use the customary Thai Wai when you meet and greet people in Thailand. As Thais do, place your palms together and raise your hands as though you are about to pray. In Thai society, the more respected a person is, the higher the greeter’s hands will be raised. Don’t worry too much about that. Raising the tips of your fingers to the tip of your nose will cover most situations and be very much appreciated.
Do, say hello in Thai: To accompany the wai gesture, you can also say sawasdee (sa-wa-dee) krap if you are male or sawasdee ka if you are female. It means hello, and is also often used to say goodbye. goodbye. The “krap” for men, and “ka” for women are added as a politeness.
Don’t touch Thai People on the top of their head: The head is the most revered part of the body, and to touch it is disrespectful.
Don’t raise your feet above a Thai person’s head: the feet are the lowest and least revered part of the body, so to raise them above someone’s head is considered extremely disrespectful.
Don’t point with your feet: It is considered rude and lazy. Much better to use your hand.
Don’t show the soles of your feet in the direction of another person; this is also insulting and disrespectful.
Don’t use your left hand to shake hands or pass objects to someone. In Thai culture, the left hand is used in the toilet, so to shake hands or use it in preference to the right hand is often considered to be derogatory.
Don’t wear your shoes inside the house, especially in another person’s house. It is customary to always take off your shoes before entering. It’s a good idea to check before entering some shops, such as barbers, massage parlors, etc. If there are shoes outside the door, you should remove yours before entering.
Don’t beckon or gesture to someone to “come on” or “come here” with your palm facing upwards. Turn your palm to face the ground while gesturing. The palm facing up whilst beckoning is seen as an aggressive gesture.
Don’t underdress in public: To go shirtless is acceptable on the beach, and you often see shirtless men walking the Pattaya streets, but put your shirt on before entering any restaurant, shop, or public building.
Ladies, don’t sunbathe topless in public: Topless sunbathing is not uncommon these days in Pattaya, but it is not considered to be the norm, and you could be told to cover up, just depends if anyone takes offense.
Always try and keep your cool: Thais believe in keeping face, so losing your temper is a sure way to lose your face and the respect of others.
Thailand Temple Dress Code
The general rule when visiting temples in Thailand is to cover up. Both men and women should cover their shoulders and knees. Don’t wear anything bright and multi-colored, don’t wear body-hugging clothes such as leggings, and avoid wearing shirts that display dubious images or text – like the shirt you bought from your favorite go-go bar.
If you’re planning a trip to temples, it’s easy to prepare and dress accordingly. If temples are just part of your day’s itinerary, just pack a spare blouse or shirt, long shorts or trousers, even a sarong or something similar, which you can easily wear over the top of whatever you are already wearing. For more information, read this article about what to wear in Thailand by GoToThailand.com.
Don’t display the soles of your feet in a Buddhist temple: Buddhist Thais have deep respect for their religion. Sit or kneel so that your soles are not exposed.
Don’t wear a hat inside a temple.
Ladies, Don’t touch or directly pass anything to a Monk: Monks are not allowed to touch females. Place your offering into the monk’s alms basket or onto a table.
Pattaya Specific Dos and Don’ts
Don’t do illegal drugs: I’m not saying it’s easy to get drugs in Pattaya, but you might find you are offered drugs at a nightclub or disco. Clubs and discos in Pattaya regularly get busted by the police, and anyone inside gets tested for drugs. If you are caught, there’s every chance you could go to prison.
Do think twice about hiring a jet ski in Pattaya: The jet ski scam seems to be under control these days, but previously it was a daily event. The scammers extorted money for causing ‘fake’ damage to the jet ski. Let’s be honest; who knows when the scam might start again?
Don’t Get Robbed in Pattaya
No matter how it happened, being robbed is not one of the ‘memories of Pattaya’ you want to take home with you. Don’t worry; Pattaya is no more dangerous than any other tourist destination, but here are some examples of how tourists get robbed in Pattaya.
Robbed by Pattaya’s motorcycle-riding highwaymen
Tourists wearing gold chains or carrying valuables in a bag worn loosely over the shoulder are often singled out by opportunist thieves who approach by motorcycle from behind, then snatch the gold or valuables and make a speedy getaway.
The best advice is:
- Don’t wear gold in Pattaya
- Don’t carry your valuables in a shoulder bag
- Avoid walking close to the roadside
- Walk against the flow of traffic so you can see what is approaching
Mobbed & Robbed by Ladyboys in Pattaya
Most reported cases of tourists being robbed, even assaulted, by Thai ladyboys over the years have occurred on Pattaya Beach Road in the early morning or late at night.
Pattaya’s rogue ladyboys usually operate in pairs or in gangs and approach lone men under the pretense of offering sexual services, often blocking their path, then distracting them by groping and feeling them up and down their body while one deftly lifts his wallet from his pocket or slips his chain off his neck.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are being mobbed by ladyboys, have your wallet in your front pocket, keep your hand on it, politely say no thanks, and keep walking.
Pick-pocketed on a Baht Bus
Again, ladyboys are usually involved, and often with female accomplices. One sits next to you; the others sit across or the other side of you. The ones across or at the other side might try and distract you while the other pickpockets your cash or wallet.
Again, the answer is to keep your wallet and valuables in your front pocket or make sure any pockets or bags you have are fastened, if possible.
Thailand Do’s and Don’ts Info-graph.
The following Thailand dos and don’ts and etiquette tips info-graphs (below) were released by the Thailand Tourist Police Department via the ‘LINE’ mobile app.
You should also read about dangers and hazards in Thailand