From powder-white beaches and steeping green rice paddies to colourful street markets and dense tropical jungles, Thailand offers a fusion of incredible sights sounds and exciting things to do which is why it remains the destination of choice for many travellers in South East Asia.
Home to an array of cultures and traditions, Thailand seems a world away from life as we know it in England. So, for a little insight into useful info, etiquette, or simply for a window into life ‘the Thai way’ here are a few handy tips to get you started…
Hi/good morning/good evening/goodnight/goodbye: Sa-wat-dee
No: (Mai) Chai
Thank you: korp khun
I’m lost: Chan/phom-long-tang
How much is this?: An-nee-tao-rai
No problem: Mai-mee-pan-ha
Cultural Faux Pas
- When thanking, greeting or saying goodbye to someone during your Thailand trip, bear in mind that locals don’t generally shake hands but instead put their hands together and bow their head.
- In Thailand, it is seen as rude to raise your voice as people largely regard it as intimidating or threatening.
- Thai nationals have a massive respect for their monarchy, so make sure you don’t insult the royal family as this is a serious offence in Thailand and can even lead to imprisonment.
- If you visit temples during your Thailand holiday, make sure you dress modestly as many temples won’t allow you in if you’re dressed for the beach. So, to avoid disappointment on a temple tour, make sure you cover your shoulders, back, legs and stomach as much as possible.
- As a way of showing politeness and to abide by local customs, remember to remove your shoes before entering a Thai person’s home.
- If you are away with your partner be aware of public shows of affection, depending where you are in the country it may cause offence to local people.
- It’s great to make conversation with the locals whilst travelling in Thailand, and you can be expressive in your conversation, try not to point your finger as this could be seen as rude gesture.
- In Thailand, the head is considered the most sacred part of the body, hence it is very important not to touch anyone on their head!
- If a tuk tuk driver offers you a discounted price for a trip to a tailor’s, don’t do it! It will take you out of your way and you’ll probably be hassled to buy something by the shop owner.
- At dawn and dusk, wear long loose clothing which covers ankles and wrists as the mossies are out and about most at this time of day.
- Check the season you are travelling in before booking your holiday. Thailand has a wet season and this can have a big impact if you are looking for beach time during your Thailand trip. Don’t worry though! There’ll always be somewhere to head to for some sun. As Thailand has micro climates, one coast can have tropical downpours while the other is blue skies and sunshine.
- Choose to eat in places which are busy. This way, the food will generally have not been sitting around for hours. What’s more, the locals know where the best places are to eat, so follow suit!
- All UK citizens who enter Thailand via air get an automatic 30 day visa for free, whereas if you are entering via land, you get 15 days. You can re-enter as many times as you like but you cannot stay for more than 60 day in 6 months on this type of visa.
- And most of all… Take everything with a pinch of salt and enjoy the adventure! Things might not always run as you expect during your holiday in Thailand, but you are guaranteed to have an experience you will be talking about for years to come!