Other than breathtaking beaches, beautiful temples and delicious food, Thailand is known for its rich culture and warm hospitality. Thailand has a unique culture, customs and etiquette which is rooted in diverse and rich cultural traditions. Thai people are courteous and friendly. It is useful to know some basic social etiquette that may ease your path in social situations.
“Wai” (palms pressed together) is a Thai greeting and also used as a gesture of thanks. A “Wai” should always be returned. If someone “Wai” you, you may do the same, or alternatively nod your head slightly as a sign of recognition and respect.
The Thai word of greeting and farewell is:
- “Sawasdee ka” if you are a woman
- “Sawasdee krub” if you are a man
Normally Thai people are called by their first name or nickname in daily conversation. In social and formal occasions, you can add the word “Khun” in front of people’s name to be respectful. However, you should not add “Khun” in front of your name when referring to yourself.
For Thais, the head is considered to be the highest and the feet are the lowest part. Touching someone’s head is considered disrespectful and should be avoided. Do not place your feet on table or chair in the public or use your foot to point at anybody or any object.
Buddhist temples are sacred places so you should wear proper attire when visiting them and proper manners are to be observed. It is prohibited for women to have physical contact with monks.
And finally, smile a lot. Thai people always smile back.