Traditions and cultureTraditions and culture

10 facts about Thai culture that You need to know before traveling to Thailand


Thailand is an amazing exotic country with a rich culture and traditions that have been formed over many centuries. Each country has its own characteristics that every tourist needs to know in order not to find themselves in an awkward situation.

1. Greeting

Unlike other countries, Thailand does not provide for a traditional Western handshake when greeting. Thais greet a person by folding their hands "house" near the face, it looks like a prayer gesture and is called "wai" (wai). There are 2 types of "Vai": ordinary and high. Greeting in the usual way, the hands are folded at chest level and the forehead touches the ring finger. With a high greeting, folded hands are raised as high as possible, which means deep respect for the person. If someone greets you first, you must return the "wai" by making a reciprocal gesture.

2. Age and status

When addressing a child in Thailand, they usually add "nong" at the beginning of the name, and when addressing an adult, "phi". If you are addressed with the prefix "khun", this is a respectful address equivalent to the word "mister". If a younger person greets an older one, then he clasps his hands and raises them to his face in a gesture of prayer. The higher the hands, the greater the degree of respect for a person.

3. "The Land of Smiles"

Children in traditional clothes in the mountains of Phetchabun, Thailand

In Thailand, you don't often find sad and sad faces of local residents, so this country is considered to be the "Land of Smiles". Thais really smile a lot, it's part of the culture. They are taught from childhood to be friendly and welcoming. You can see the traditional Thai smile everywhere and in almost any situation. A smile in response will establish mutual understanding and help you feel comfortable in any situation.

Rudeness, especially aggression, is not welcome in any country in the world. Thailand is no exception here. However, local Thai traditions do not welcome disrespectful attitude, harsh statements, and raising of voice. Most likely, a local resident will refuse to continue communicating if something like this happens. In Thailand, it is customary to sort things out calmly, judiciously and with a smile.

4. Physical contact

Compared to Western culture and traditional touching and hugging, Thailand avoids close physical contact in public. You shouldn't touch people if you don't know them well enough. And touching the head is completely taboo — historically, the head in Thailand is considered a sacred place. It is highly undesirable to touch a person's head. Hugging, kissing and showing signs of attention in public and, moreover, near temple complexes is highly discouraged.

5. Attitude towards the Royal Family

The real reigning Monarch of Thailand since October 13, 2016 is Maha Vachiralongkorn, aka Rama X, from the Chakri dynasty. The only son of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The King and the Royal Family have a very high status of respect among Thai residents, criticism and inappropriate statements against the King and his family are considered an insult.

6. Buddhism

A Buddhist monk

The main religion of Thailand is Buddhism, which is sacred to the locals. Over the centuries, the monasteries of Thailand have accumulated sacred cultural value for the state. You don't have to be a Buddhist to visit a Thai temple. All temples are open to visitors of all religions.

Some temples have a dress code, for most temples it is enough to follow simple rules that are difficult to follow in Thailand due to the heat, but it is better to adhere to: trousers for men, skirts below the knees for women, long sleeves, covered shoulders. It is better to leave shoes, hats and sunglasses outside.

Also, in temples, it is strictly not recommended to point your feet at a person or a Buddha statue. Moreover, you should try to sit or stand in such a way that the feet of the legs are not visible at all.

7. The Anthem

In Thailand, the national anthem is played every day at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., during the raising and lowering of the national flag in all public places. Usually, all the locals automatically stop and stop doing their work until the anthem ends. This is how people in Thailand show respect for their country.

8. Superstitions

The national faith of Thais extends beyond temples and religious shrines. Next to many buildings, superstitious Thais equip altars for spirits, where they bring food, wreaths and flowers designed to keep the location of the "guardians of the dwelling".

9. Farangs

Who are the "farangs"? Thais call Europeans and foreigners in general farangs. There is a version about the origin of this word from the English "foreigner" (foreigner). In fact, "farang" is a harmless turn of phrase in Thai colloquial speech concerning "white Westerners". Some locals use "farang" in the direction of any foreigner who has a non-Asian appearance.

10. Cutlery

Traditional Pad Thai in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Most Thai dishes are eaten with a spoon and fork. The spoon is usually held with the leading hand, and the fork with the opposite one. Pre-sliced dishes are taken with a spoon, and with a fork they help to put the pieces into a spoon. If any dish needs to be divided, a larger piece is held with a fork, and a spoon is divided like a knife. This rule applies to Thai dishes. Of course, steaks are cut with a knife and fork, everything is familiar here. Chopsticks are used for Japanese, Vietnamese and Chinese food. For example, you will be served a spoon and chopsticks with noodle soup. Chopsticks are useful for putting noodles on a spoon. When accepting an invitation to dinner from Thais, do not be afraid to make a mistake and ask about how to eat a particular dish - Thais are very social and will gladly explain the details to you.


March 18, 2024 04:35 am



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