20 Do’s and Don’ts in Thailand
Thailand is entirely different from Western civilization, with different values, traditions, and ways of life. In the Bangkok Post, I remember reading a Swiss guy drew glasses on a picture of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Last-king) and was sentenced to ten years in jail (2007!) You need to know what you can and can’t do in Thailand!
Here’s the twenty Do’s and Don’t’s in Thailand- Do’s- Dress Correctly, Respect the Monchary, Learn the language, Eat The Street food, Go Diving, Get bargaining at the market, Support the man at the bottom, Smile, Treat Monks with respect, Enjoy yourself!
Don’t’s – Go, Tiger Temples, Ride Elephants, Disrespect The Monchary, Argue With The Locals, Run around naked, Do Drugs, Over Stay Visa, Be too affectionate on the street, Grab peoples heads, Touch Monks
I go into more detail below –
If you decide to visit the temples, you need to be covering your shoulders and knees, both male and female. Don’t dress to impress; dress intelligent and casual.
For more info- Click here
Respect the Monchary
If you’ve ever been Thailand, you will know a picture of the King is on every street corner and restaurant! The monchary is something most Thais hold close to their heart, and you shouldn’t slate or joke about them to locals.
Try and stay at arm’s length with anything political in Thailand, or you might find yourself in trouble. Thailand is a friendly country, but it can be dangerous with Western people being regularly assaulted and beaten up due to cultural conflict.
Learn some of the language
In major cities, you find many Thais speak a bit of English, and communication isn’t much of a problem. English becomes less common when you head to Thailand’s remote parts. Try to learn key phrases like thank you or good morning.
Never lose patience with a local if they don’t speak English, as conflict with locals is not advised!
Eat The Street food
Quite simply one of the best places on earth for food, and the street food is phenomenal! You don’t need to spend big money and go to restaurants in Thailand as street food is on par with cafes/restaurants from noodle soups to BBQ’d marinated chicken.
Food vendors are open at all hours, from 6 am to late evening, and are massively convenient for punters. Also, if you’re feeling brave, you can try the fried insects with cockroaches and worms on display! I found them not so nice but each to their own.
Thai food is King of South-East Asia and shouldn’t be missed!!
Koh Tao is an incredible place to dive with tropical fish and great water temperatures. The scuba tutor will take you into deep waters on an adventure of a lifetime with sharks and eels swimming around you, not to mention colorful coral reefs.
It’s also a fantastic place to get you’re scuba badges with low prices and professional courses.
The night markets are a fantastic experience and offer great fake branded goods and excellent cuisine. Depending on the market’s location, you will find local foods, produce, and souvenirs.
Markets give you a real insight into a country’s lifestyle and night markets offer something unique with pleasant warm temperatures and an unwinding atmosphere. If you’re in Thailand, the night markets are a must.
Support the man at the bottom
Thailand has been firmly put on the map in the last decades with a high influx of tourism worldwide. The Thai economy thrives on tourism, which helps Thais a lot, but it also has a downside with large chains like McDonald’s, 7/11′ and large retailers.
If you’re shopping, buy clothes from the market, not the big chain stores, in the past, I’ve bought fake tops, and they’ve lasted years. Stay away from 7/11’s where you can and go, retail street vendors, eat street food, stay in boutique hotels, and travel with local travel agencies.
Shop locally if you want an authentic experience that costs less and supports the local communities in Thailand.
Thai people overall are positive people and smile through the good and bad times. The smile is a symbol of Thailand’s culture, with Thais learning to smile from a young age, as they use it as a sign of communication, especially during difficult situations.
“The smile is a sign of Thai culture and something we could all learn from.”
Treat Monks with respect
While you’re in Thailand, you must treat monks with dignity and respect as their elite members of Thai society. Women are not permitted to touch monks and never touch a monk’s head.
I would hate to think, what happens if you abuse a monk? It can lead to something serious as these insults are concerning in Thai society.
Having visited and lived in Thailand a bunch of times, I can honestly say every time I leave this country, I get a bit sad. I love everything about this country, from the beaches, jungles, food, and nightlife
Whenever I’m in Thailand, I feel it’s my base from the UK and still love it today!
Go, Tiger Temples
You’ve heard the stories by now about the Tiger Temples in Thailand! Listen, I was one of those tourists who visited the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi. I was amazed at how close you get to these beautiful animals and, even better, get a picture.
The story is the tigers were raised around monks from cubs and have been around them for years and built relationships with them. But in truth, the tigers are most likely drugged and act in a docile manner so tourists can be around them. Theirs also accusations the tigers are mistreated and kept in poor conditions, leaving them to become sick or even die.
Lastly, it has been reported that cubs are sold on the black market with teeth and fur. Please stay well clear of these terrible places!
Another wildlife scam is elephant riding companies that abuse the animals in training until they are frightened and scared to obey their owners. The black market is another avenue these companies venture down selling tusks for high profits worldwide. The saddles they use to ride the elephants also cause spinal problems, leading to defects in the elephant.
If you’re planning on seeing elephants, then go to rehabilitation programs and give more of a positive contribution to the animal’s welfare.
Disrespect The Monchary
It wasn’t long ago a Thai citizen was arrested and sentenced to 35 years in prison for insulting the Monchary. The man uploaded pictures and videos on Facebook, which provoked a serious slander case.
A Swiss man was jailed for ten years for drawing glasses on a portrait of the King, which turned a joke into a serious crime.
Again avoid any negative actions towards the Monchary as the heat may be too much to handle.
Argue With The Locals
I once saw a video online in Hua Hin of a British family having an altercation with a group of Thai men on the street. The situation ended up with all three British nationals being brutally KO’d in the middle of the market.
In Asia, people generally don’t respond well to altercations of any kind. Situations can escalate quite rapidly and sometimes with gangs of locals coming out the walls. The best thing you can do is walk away.
Run around naked
Over the years, we’ve seen Brits abroad in Magaluf & Malia acting like lunatics running around in their birthday suits, giving zero f**ks. You don’t do this in Thailand, you run the risk of getting on the wrong side of the law.
The Thai police are one of the most corrupt police forces in the world and will bribe you for a lot of money or, even worse, put you in jail – (You don’t want to go to a Thai jail) Always understand you’re boundaries. Never overstep them!
Thailand is not a place for drugs – Bottom line.
The punishments for drug use can often be severe and land you in hot water. In the old days, you were basically sentenced to death for any drug involvement, but today the rules have relaxed a bit but are still hardline compared to European countries.
Once you’re inside a Thai jail, there’s not much staff from the foreign ministries can do, in all honesty. People have known to be sentenced to 60 years in a Thai prison or faced the death penalty.
Another one to watch out for is prescription drugs, as they are restricted in Thailand to amounts you can carry In Thailand. If you’re found with a large amount, it can land you in hot water. Always be cautious and only keep a monthly supply with you, especially if you’re landing in Bangkok.
Over Stay Visa
Never overstay your Visa in Thailand, as it can backfire and bring a host of problems later down the line. You can be arrested, imprisoned, fined, backlisted from entering Thailand for years, and detained for weeks until you’re deported.
Be too affectionate on the street
Thais in public are not so affectionate, with holding hands and kissing is not so common, especially outside Bangkok, but Thais do kiss each other on the cheeks. Thai culture considers this behavior sexual, so if you do it, expect to be stared at, even if you’re holding hands.
Grab peoples heads
The rules are basic! The head is classed as being the holiest part of the body and should never be touched.
Everyone should respect a monk’s personal space, but no one should go up to a monk and grab them, especially women. Even if a woman brushes up on a monk, it can be disrespectful