Women greet each other with a "Sawaddee kha", men with a "Sawaddee khrab" always referring to the gender of the sender! This highly respectful greeting formula is also maintained between good friends or between children.
The traditional greeting in Thailand is the "Wai". The hands are folded flat as if to a devotion between the breast and face, the head is lowered slightly forward and conjured a friendly smile on the face. However, this salutation hides much more information about the greetings than it might guess at first glance: Depending on the social status or age of the reciever, the height of the hands and head flexion are adjusted. For travelers it is certainly easiest to answer the Wai with the same execution of their counterpart.
Good behavior / Behavioral rules & Manners
The Thais culture is about well thoughtful and respectful in their society. Fortunately, the locals seem to overlook an unintentionally mistakes made by foreigners. In order to save you from the biggest mistaken, we have listed a few suggestions as below:
- The king and the royal family are at the highest respectful level. Offenses are punished very hard. For this prison sentences are also imposed.
- As you can see the royality of Thais to their nation and their royal family almost everywhere, [e.g. before the beginning of each movie or when the national anthem (daily 8 am and 6 pm at schools, government buildings, markets, parks, ...)] they stands still and rises until the event or the song is over.
- Before entering a place of worship or a private house, you basically take off your shoes.
- One should not step on a very high doorstep (mostly seen at the temples). If you did, that supposedly brings bad luck or misfurtune to you. But maybe it's just a good trick to save you from falling down by unintentional hitting that doorstep.
- When visiting religious sites, knees and shoulders should be covered and head uncovered.
- Buddha statues and other religious symbols deserve high respect. Touching or climbing for a photo should be avoided.
- Bringing religious statues outside the country is not permitted.
- Greeting with a "Wai". Only shake hands if this comes from the Thai.
- A woman should never touch a monk. Try to avoide sitting next to the monk also in the flights.
- You should avoid touching a Thai on the head, because this is considered as the place of spiritual-human dignity.
- "Topless" or naturist bathing violates the shame of the Thai people also banned nationwide.
- If you are invited to a family, to an official dinner or a company, you should dress up properly.
- Tenderness between man and woman in the presence of others are not common in Thailand. Even young couples in love can hardly be seen holding hands in public, kissing or cuddling.
Never become loud or impatient. Keep calm, your smile and respect for your counterpart. Excitement helps not to be taken seriously.
- Smile when you meet people. Reply a smile with a smile. Even if this is difficult for you in the beginning. Train it at home in front of the mirror!
- Smoking in public is highly disrespectful. Smoking in a restaurant, mostly are perhibited and you will be fined.
- Nose cleaning in public is also very disrespectful. If you feel the need to go to a toilet, then go and clear your nose.
- The foot is dirty, unworthy and therefore insulting! Therefore, one should never use the feet to point to something or someone.
Smiling / Thailand - Land of Smiles
Wherever you meet people in Thailand, you can see them smiling. This comprehensive friendliness captivates tourists. You feel welcome and flattered. Always reply with a smile, even if it is difficult in the beginning. Train it!
The friendly serenity of the Thais does not get lost even in extreme situations. Because according to the Thai philosophy of life, nothing is so dramatic that it could spoil the good mood or the joy of life. This is the way of everyday life for Thais, so, you as a visitor of the country quite simply adapt and should take some of it home.
But Thai people also smiles as not to lose their face or their reputation. If you get your question answered with only a smile, that means they have no clue or right answer for you, but they will never give you a bad answer or even admitting the they don't know or don't understand what was your question.
Never underestimate the tropical sunshine in Thailand at any time. They are much closer to the equator than in Central Europe. The latitudes correspond roughly to the southern Sahara desert. Therefore, use sunscreen with a correspondingly high sun protection factor. We always recommend SPF 50+.
Avoid direct sunlight and seek for shades as much as possible. Especially at midday you should stay away from the sun. Do not be afraid to use an umbrella to protect your skin under the strong sunlight. Sunglasses, hat, cap are a good choice for covering the ears and face area.
Also for bathing, you should never do without waterproof sunscreen or at least a sun-tanned lotion. Shorten your bathing times under direct sunlight according to the sensitivity of your skin. If you want to enjoy the sun bathing longer, better re-apply the sunscreen every 20 -30 minutes.
Attention! Even in the cloudy day, it is still high levels of UV radiation even if you can not feel this.
Shoes & Clothes
Almost every Thais love to walk with flip-flop if possible due to the comfortability. You can have a pair of them directly after your arrival in Thailand (price starts from 5 € in a market or shopping center). For visiting an upscale restaurant, we also recommend a light shoes or sport shoes which you feel comfortable. If you want to do a small hiking in the rainforests and national parks or for a city tour additionally, a comfort sneakers are recommended.
In comparison to Central Europe, Thailand is pleasantly warm all year round. The Thai winter is comparable to our midsummer. On the mountains in the northern, the temperature can drop below + 5° C even at night. Also keep in mind, that most Thai cars have no heater. We always recommend a sweater, which can also be used for the long haul flights, as well as a thin jacket, which can also use as an emergency rain cover.
During vacation in Thailand, a light clothing is very important. Short pants, T-shirts, shirts or blouses will be needed. You can also find them in Thailand if you need to buy one. If you are not the talented bargainer, buying them in the shopping center with the price tag is the best way.
Attention! You should also have a long clothes for entering or visiting temple, palace and royal sites (shoulders and knees covered).
Serviceing jobs in Thailand are depending on tips and service charge. Considering that the average Thai earns around € 350-400 a month. With your tip, you show your respect and gratitude for the service you have received.
For Europeans, however, it is always a very difficult question, how much where appropriate tipping is. You do not want to give too little, but of course you do not want to splurge in the wrong place. Tipping is never a must but is a voluntary service on your part. Post these items under "Good Behavior" as a guest and recognition from your hosts and their performance. Therefore always keep small bills (20-100THB) ready.
With the following listing, we want to offer you guideline according to your satisfaction to the decision support.
- Porter in the hotel (Bellboy): 20-40THB per transport per guest
- Room service: 20-40THB per day and room (with a little note "Thank You"). This is a very important gesture which causes positive surprises for you when returning to the room.
- Breakfast: ~ 20THB per table and meal
- Reception: 0-100THB (on departure day/ only if you had great service)
- Taxi driver short distances with taximeter: 40-50THB per trip
- Driving Long Distance (Driver): 100-200THB per trip
- Guide (tour guide) all day: 200-300THB
- Guide (tour guide) half-day: max. 100-200THB
- Restaurant: ~ 10% but minimum 40THB per table
- Street kitchens / food stalls / fruits: 0-20THB
- Elephant Guide: 100-200THB per trip