This is a guest post by Hazel Lee. Hazel Lee is an avid traveler, with a penchant for countries with a deep history and unique cultures. She has a strict no bus tour rule whenever she travels to a new destination, as she would much rather experience everything on her own two feet.
Travelling isn’t just about having a good time. Wherever you go, you have to be a responsible tourist, and this includes respecting the local customs—especially in Asian countries where the culture is a lot more reserved compared to the West.
In Thailand, you’ll immediately notice many differences, like how locals greet each other, and how people usually dress. By being aware of these, you’ll have a much more meaningful experience when you visit.
Here are five local customs, traditions, and cultural quirks you should take note of.
To greet is to “wai”
Before you travel to any country, the first thing you need to know is how to greet the locals. In Thailand, you say “sa-waa-dii-krap” if you’re male, or “sa-waa-dii-ka” if you’re female. This greeting is also accompanied by a “wai”, or a prayer-like pose and a small bow. Thais wai not only in greeting but when praying or thanking as well.
Touching is disrespectful
Speaking of wai, another reason why the locals do this is because touching or hugging can be considered improper. So before you lean in for a harmless embrace, consider that it’s more polite to wai. However, there are a few exceptions. If the person is a child, your significant other, or someone you know very well, then you’re free to hug them as long as you have their consent, of course.
Modesty is the norm
More than ninety percent of Thais are Buddhists, and one of the things their religion values is modesty. We know that the weather in Thailand tends to be hot and humid, but before you throw on see-through tops and denim shorts, try to look for clothes that are more “tasteful” for their culture. Simple tees and long skirts that cover the knees are always good options, and these rules are even more important when entering temples and other sacred places.
Betting is their way of life
In Thailand, betting and gambling has long been a celebrated activity among locals. Muay Thai is one of the more popular examples, with numerous venues around the country where people can come to watch and place their bets. But as a whole, the Thai gaming industry shows a lot of promise as it ventures outside traditional betting. Online, there’s a growing community of players on Dafabet famous brand in Thailand who get to bet on modern sporting events. These include the likes of international football leagues, UFC, and even the NBA. So don’t be too surprised about their enthusiasm for gambling, or try to attach negative connotations to it. It’s simply part of their culture.
The Royal Family is the law
The Kingdom of Thailand is under the rule of the Royal Family, where the King exercises sovereignty over all branches of the government. His family is highly respected and loved in Thailand, and speaking ill of them can lead to legal penalties. To avoid any mishaps or raised eyebrows, it may be better not to make unsure comments entirely.
Despite its bustling streets and wild night life, Thailand can be a strict country with rules and is extra sensitive when it comes to their customs. But don’t let that stop you from visiting—it’s still an exciting country that’s easy to enjoy as long as you’re a respectful traveller.