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Do’s and Don’ts in Thailand

Posted on April 6th, 2012 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on Do’s and Don’ts in Thailand

A quick guide to some of the Customs in Thailand


Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Do's and Don'ts in Thailand

Thailand is a very patriotic Nation and the Thai national flag will be seen on display just about everywhere in Thailand. It isn’t just government buildings that fly the flag because it will be seen on boats, tuk-tuks, roadside stalls, private businesses and private homes. The flags may sometimes be slightly damaged or faded by exposure to the elements, but they are still a proud symbol.

The meaning of the Flag:

Red = Nation: the stripes represent the blood spilt to maintain Thailand’s independence.

White = Religion: the stripes stand for purity and are the colour of Buddhism, which is the country’s main religion.

Blue = Monarchy, blue is Thailand’s national colour and it represents the Thai monarchy.

Thai Flag History:

The current Thai flag was adopted on September 28, 1917, making it one of the world’s older flags. From the mid-19th century until 1916, Thailand, which was called Siam until 1939, used a red-based flag with a white elephant on it. That flag was replaced in 1916 with a red-white-red-white-red horizontal striped flag, which was modified in 1917, when the blue centre replaced red.

Interesting Facts:

The Thai flag is called Triaranga or Triarong, which literally means ‘tricolor’.

The Thai flag may be seen alone or it may be flown with other flags, which have their own meaning. For instance, the National Flag may be flown alongside a yellow flag with the Royal Insignia. This is the King’s flag with yellow representing the King as he was born on a Monday. Similarly, Queen Sirikit has her own flag, which is blue (she was born on a Friday) with her own individual Royal Insignia.


Be respectful about Buddhism. Dress correctly in Temples. Don’t sit on Buddha images, sit before them with feet pointing backwards. Don’t misuse a Buddha image. Icons should be kept in a place of worship and not used as furniture or ornaments.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Do's and Don'ts in Thailand


Thailand is a Constitutional Monarchy. King Rama IX, HM King Bhumibol and his family are totally revered. You will see images of the Royals everywhere. Always stand when the National Anthem is being played, for example, at the cinema before the film starts. Do not make disparaging remarks about the Royals. There is a strict lese majeste laws and offenses can be punishable by imprisonment.



Monks are commonly seen in Thailand. The majority of males in Thailand would have experienced being a monk at some time in their life. Monks are recognized by their saffron robes. Women should not touch or hand anything directly to a monk. Also a woman should not be alone in the presence of a monk.

 Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Do's and Don'ts in Thailand


Thai people do not shake hands. They will greet you with a Wai, which is a prayer like gesture at chest or head level with head slightly bowed. This gesture is not only used as a greeting but also for respect or for reverence if performed in front of a Buddha image. Respect is demonstrated by the height at which the hands are held and how low the head comes down. It can also be used to express thank you or goodbye. The Wai is not used for children and people junior in age or status will always offer the Wai first. If someone Wai’s you, do not be frightened to respond.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Do's and Don'ts in Thailand


Do not touch a person’s head or ruffle their hair. The head is considered to be the highest and the purest part of the body. Do not touch the head or ruffle hair. Apologize if you accidentally touch somebody’s head.

Feet are considered spiritually as well as physically the lowest part of the body. It is highly disrespectful to point feet at someone or to pick things up with the feet. Do not wave your feet around someone’s head. If you should touch someone accidentally with your foot, apologize. Stepping on Thai currency with the King’s Head or sitting in the temple with feet pointed to a religious icon is considered sacrilegious. Stepping over food is also a huge faux pas!!!


Always remove footwear before entering a house or temple.



Dress respectfully. If visiting Temples then cover up! Topless sunbathing is frowned upon in Thailand.


Eating in Thailand is a social event. It is normal to have several dishes for everyone to try. Once you are full leave a little food on your plate as this signifies that you have finished. If you empty your plate your host will think that you have not eaten enough. Thai’s eat with a fork and spoon, occasionally they will eat noodles with chop sticks. Do not lick your fingers!! If you need to get the waiter/waitresses attention then don’t call them with the fingers of the hand pointing up. This equates to raising the middle finger in Western society. Turn the hand so the fingers are pointing down and beckon.


Thais are non confrontational. Public disputes or criticism are to be avoided at all costs. Raising your voice or loosing your temper will never be constructive in Thailand. Loss of face is a disgrace to a Thai, so they try to avoid confrontation and look for compromises in difficult situations.


Public displays of affection are frowned upon in Thailand.