Do & Don't
Technology makes people living in different corners of the world to communicate with each other more extensively than any time in the history. Opportunities to interact with people with different beliefs and cultures have been opened up than ever. For better understanding, mutual respect and peaceful co-existence, the Ministry of Culture is offering basic information of Thai culture for everyone to keep in mind.
- When visiting Buddhist temples, dress politely. Visitors are allowed to wear shoes when walking around the temple but shoes must be removed when entering an inner sanctuary area or at places with a shoe removal sign.
- Women are not allowed to have a body contact with them. If a woman is given something by a monk, wait for him to put the object on the floor before picking it up. If she wants to present something to the monk, put it on a piece of cloth he has spread before him.
- Climbing, sitting on, or leaning against a Buddha image, regardless of its size, condition or whether it is genuine or a replica, is considered contempt to religious objects. Take a picture with a Buddha image must be done in a polite and respectful manner.
- Buddha images should be placed in suitable places. As Thais consider Buddha images sacred, placing them on the floor, under a table or a chair, in a bathroom, or on the lawn is considered contempt.
- Buddha images are sold as objects of worship and not for any other purpose since they are considered representing the Lord Buddha. As such, Buddha images used as trademarks for sweets, beverages, alcoholic drinks, toys, or placing Buddha images on shoes, socks, swimwear, or underclothing is forbidden.
- As a Buddha image is made for worshipping, laws have been issued to protect Buddha images. Unauthorized export of Buddha images from Thailand is a violation of the law, which will subject violators to legal action.
- Hatred or contempt committed to religious objects or places of worship is a violation of the law according to Clause 206 of the Criminal Code with a jail sentence of 1-7 years.
- Causing a disturbance or a riot at a religious assembly during a lawful meeting, worship, or religious ceremony is a criminal offence according to Clause 207 of the Criminal Code with a jail sentence of not more than one year.
- Illegal dressing as a faux clergy in any religion is a violation of the law according to Clause 208 of the Criminal Code with a jail sentence of not more than one year.
- Thais greet one another with a ‘Wai,’ the traditional closed hands and a slight bow of the head, where younger people will initiate the wai. But more recently, western visitors will generally receive a handshake on meeting.
- Thais consider the head a sacred part of their body. One therefore should not touch anybody’s head. Apologize immediate if you happen to touch anyone’s head by accident.
- Thais consider the feet lowly and therefore one should not put his feet on a table or chair or point it at people or objects.
- Expressing sexual feeling in public is unacceptable in the Thai culture.
- Showing an image of the Thai National Flag on any package or goods is allowed only if done
1) by government’s agencies, and
2) for commercial purpose, with the government’s approval according to the laws regarding the National Flag.
- Clean water and proper utensils should be used during the Songkran Festival or the Thai New Year and water should not be thrown at those who do not wish to be part of the celebration.
- The Monarchy is utmost regarded by Thais as a revered institution. Any transgression to the Monarchy either openly or secretly is a misdemeanor according to the Constitution.
- Respect should be paid to the Monarchy.
- One should stand as a gesture of respect when the Royal Anthem is played.
- When entering a palace compound, dress politely. Sleeveless shirts or blouses, shorts, or sandals are not allowed.
- Observe all normal precautions as regards to personal safety as well as the safety of your belongings. Walking alone on quiet streets or deserted areas is not recommended. Be sure that your valuables-money, jewelry, and airline tickets are properly protected from loss. Call 1155, Tourist Police, for assistance.
- Drop your garbage into a waste container. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is strictly enforcing the laws to keep the city clean and healthy. Fine is also imposed to those who spit, discard cigarette stubs or litter.
- Avoid meddling with drugs. Drug offences include death sentence in Thailand.
- Do not support wild animal abuse in any manner. Never purchase products or souvenirs made from wild animals including snakes, monitor lizards, turtle shell and ivory. Avoid patronizing local restaurants that serve wild animal delicacies. It is against the law to slaughter wildlife for food in Thailand.
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