There are cultural differences everywhere you go, whether it be subtle ones county to county in the UK or big, noticeable ones like those found in South East Asia. We’re always writing about the amazing things that you should do in Thailand but there are a few that appear on the ‘What not to do in Thailand’ list!
You may not know you are doing it but it can be easy to commit social suicide should you do the following. Some of these are obvious, but some not so much … never fear, Ultimate Thailand is here to point you in the right direction when it comes to Thailand’s social dos and don’ts.
Watch where you put your feet.
It can be considered exceptionally ill-mannered for you to point your toes or the soles of your feet towards people, places and inanimate options. Even more so if you point them in the direction towards temples, images of a Buddha or monks … this is a big no no! It is also frowned upon for you to use your feet when you shut a door, step over or kick something. (Also, remember to take your shoes off when you go in to someone’s house or a temple … especially if there’s a big pile of them outside the door!)
Don’t touch their head.
To a Thai person, the head is thought of as the most holy part of the body. Unless you have a very close relationship with that person, touching their head will be considered as a sign of disrespect and would be a source of great discomfort and uneasiness.
Whistling at night is bad luck.
Thai people are superstitious and they believe that by whistling at night, you call the spirits which is bad luck! This may not be so much of a worry for some these days but many will still feel a sense of anxiety if they hear a whistle once the sun has gone down.
Keep the noise down.
Thai people are very gentle and softly-spoken and travellers usually stick out like a sore thumb! As a general rule, we are not as reserved as they are. Where you are in the shops or dining with friends, try to be a bit quieter. If you find yourself in an argument, try and stay as calm as you can. By increasing the volume or shouting, you will embarrass all involved.
Don’t get touchy feely with a monk.
It is prohibited for monks to make physical contact with a woman. If a monk places something down for a woman to pick up, instead of handing it to them directly, they are not being rude!
Guys, you are allowed to be in contact with a monk, but they will still probably leave a respectful gap between you. A big no no … don’t stand over or put yourself in a higher position than a monk!
If you make an effort to stay away from these social no no’s, it won’t go unnoticed and the wonderful people who make Thailand so great will respect and appreciate your efforts to respect and appreciate them, which means everyone is happy … and we at Ultimate Thailand love happy people!