Other[edit]

  • The head is considered the most exalted part of the body, feet the lowliest. Never touch or pat a Thai on the head, including children. If you accidentally touch or bump someone's head, apologize immediately or you'll be perceived as very rude. Similarly, do not touch people with your feet, or even point with them. If someone is sitting with outstretched feet, avoid stepping over them, as this is very rude and could even spark a confrontation. Squeeze around them or ask them to move. Even if the person is sleeping, it is best to go around, as others are likely to notice.
  • Thais are conservative compared to Westerners. Public displays of affection are rarely seen, even handholding by married couples, and are generally considered to be distasteful, though due to the dependence of the Thai economy on tourism, Thais grudgingly tolerate such displays by foreigners. Don't make out in public. You'll embarrass yourself and inflame Thai sensibilities.
  • It is considered impolite and disrespectful to visibly sniff food before eating it, particularly when eating in someone's home (this is true even if the sniffing is done in appreciation).
  • Do not audibly blow your nose in public, especially not at the dinner table, but it is perfectly acceptable to pick your nose at any time or place.
  • In Thailand, expression of negative emotion such as anger or sadness is almost never overt, and it is possible to enjoy a vacation in Thailand without ever seeming to see an argument or an unhappy person. Thai people smile often compared to Western people. A smile does not necessarily express happiness. When Thai people smile in a conversation they give the signal that they are civilized and intend to behave with civility, even or expecially in a case of conflict. Do not interpret a smile as a sign of weakness. "Saving face" is a very important aspect of Thai culture and they will try to avoid embarrassment and confrontation.
  • In public places (such as large markets) the national anthem is played over loudspeakers at 08:00 and 18:00. When this is played, everyone will stop what they are doing and stand still for the duration. You should do the same. The royal anthem (not national anthem) is played in cinemas before the film, and everyone must stand. It lasts about a minute, then everyone will continue where they left off. In MRT and SkyTrain stations in Bangkok, the escalators will also lurch to a halt to prevent a large human pile-up.
  • When giving and receiving business cards, always use your right hand with the left hand supporting the right elbow. As the left hand is traditionally reserved for dirty things, handling business cards with the left hand is considered to be very rude.
  • As a reaction against smokers littering beaches with cigarette butts, there is a complete smoking ban in effect since 1 February 2018 on 24 popular beaches around the country. If caught smoking at one of these beaches, you might be fined up to 100,000 baht and/or be sentenced to up to one year in jail.