Thai Customs

BUDDHA
Sacred and revered. Even if it's a ruined, half destroyed statue of the deity - treat it with the utmost respect and you'll shine in the eyes of the Thais. Common sense again - don't clamber up onto one and make bunny ears behind it for a photo.

If you want to take a picture of a statue, please do so respectfully and, if possible, ask a monk if it's ok to do so.
ROYALTY
The Thai Royal Family is revered and there can be no worse "faux pas" than joke about the King. Some have actually been thrown in jail for making "uncivil remarks" about their beloved leader. It's serious business and you should take note.

You'll see his image absolutely everywhere, which should give you a good idea of the respect and love he has from the Thai population.

Just use common sense and you'll be fine. If in doubt about what you should do in any given situation - just do what the Thais around you are doing and you can't go wrong.
KISSING
Public displays of affection are a big no-no all over Thailand, and should be avoided. No snogging in the restaurant please - or you will be faced with a sea of red-faced Thais all avoiding you.
DRESS
It' one of the great ironies of life that the one place in Thailand that has the best beaches, ocean and blazing hot sun, is also one of the most conservative when it comes to dressing. The predominantly Muslim population here in the South can take real offense to any tourist wandering into their shop with just a bikini on, or tiny shorts for the guys.
I know, you're on holiday and you deserve that then - I understand. But here, bikinis are for the beach and only the beach.
SHOES
Easy this one - take your shoes or flip flops off at the entrance to any indoor space. If in any doubt, look for other flip flops at the doorway and leave yours there with them. Resorts are the exception to this, as are most restaurants - but absolutely take them off if entering a Wat (temple) or a Thai's home.
HEAD AND FEET
In Buddhism, the feet are seen as the lowest part of the body and the head the highest - both literally as well as figuratively. This means that you should never point your feet at a Thai, a monk or a statue of Buddha. Instead, sit with your feet under your knees or cross-legged.

The head is seen as the most "holy" part of the body and as such, should not be touched. This means no playful ruffling of that cheeky boy's hair or patting of kids heads. I know, to us it's a gesture of affection. To Buddhist Thais, it's very offensive.
HAGGLING
Thailand is an excellent place to pick up some bargains, and haggling is expected amongst customers and vendors. Remember to take the "softly-softly" approach and don't be aggressive.

Smile and ask what their best price is and take it from there. Keep your voice calm and quiet and never, ever lose your temper.

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