Do’s and Don’ts for tourists visiting Thailand: it is always a good idea to learn a little bit about the culture and traditions of the country you are visiting.
Thailand is no exception, and despite Pattaya being a very cosmopolitan city we have to remember that first and foremost it is a Thai city populated by a majority of Thai People, most of who are very tolerant and forgiving of our ignorance. But the basic principles of Thai etiquette, culture and tradition should be learned and followed as much as is possible.
So here’s a few do’s and don’ts you should learn to help you and your Thai hosts have a more pleasurable time during your vacation in Thailand. Don’t worry if the list appears to be more don’ts than do’s, that just means there are lots of things you don’t have to do !.
Pattaya Thailand Do’s.
- Do: always offer a smile, a miserable face will soon send down in the Thais estimations.
- Do: lower yourself (dip your shoulders) slightly when passing between people.
- Do: 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.
- Do: Wai if someone wais to you, but don’t worry if you forget or don’t feel comfortable, a smile and a polite hello will suffice. Thais use the wai instead of shaking hands, many will offer to shake your hand, more so the ones who deal with or spend a lot of time with westerners. The wai is quite difficult to understand, usually the more respected a person is, the higher someone will raise their hands to them when they wai them. Don’t worry too much about this, if you wai and bring the tips of your fingers to the tip of your nose this will cover you for most every day occasions. To make a wai bring your palms together as though you were praying and raise to your face.
Pattaya Thailand Don’ts.
- Don’t show disrespect towards the Thai Royal Family, if you see Thais showing respect to the Royal Family by standing or giving a wai, you should follow suit. A good example of this can be seen before a movie is screened at any cinema in Thailand.
- Don’t attempt to bring in or buy illegal drugs in Thailand.
- Don’t touch Thai People on the top of their head, the head is the most revered part of the body, to touch the top of the head is dis-respectful, it is acceptable to touch a child on the top of the head as a friendly gesture, although it is best avoided to avoid any embarrassment. But it is acceptable for close friends and courting couples.
- Don’t raise your feet above a Thai persons head, the feet are the lowest part of the body and therefore the least revered, so to raise them above someones head is dis-respectful.
- Don’t point with you 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.
- Don’t display the soles of your feet in a Buddhist temple, this is very much frowned upon, Buddhist Thais have deep respect for for their religion, sit or kneel so that your soles are not exposed, one more point on the subject of temples, don’t wear a hat inside a temple.
- 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 persons house, it is customary to always take off your shoes before entering. It is a good idea to check before entering some shops such as barbers, massage parlors etc to see if there are shoes outside the door, if there are then you should remove yours before entering.
- Don’t beckon or gesture 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 under dress 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 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.
- Ladies: Don’t touch or directly pass anything to a Monk, Monks are not allowed to touch females. Place your offering into the monks alms basket or onto a table.
Thailand Do’s and Don’ts Infograph.
The following info-graphs (below) were released by the Thailand Tourist Police Department via the ‘LINE’ mobile app.
Pattaya Specific Do’s and Don’ts.
- Don’t wear your gold, especially at night, there is a possibility you could become a target of the motorcycle highway men.
- Do keep your wallet in your front pocket, preferably with a hand on it, if you are mobbed by lady-boys.
- Do consider hiring a jet ski somewhere other than Pattaya Beach.