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A Few Cultural Tips for Visiting Thailand
When visiting another country, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with any customs that may be new to you. It's easy to blunderinto giving offense, particularly in Middle Eastern or Asian countries, where the difference can be significant. Here are a few tips forvisiting Thailand. Visitors should dress neatly and conservatively in all religious shrines. They should never go sleeveless, in shorts, midriff baring tops, or other unsuitable attire. It is acceptable to wear shoes when walking around the compound of a Buddhist temple, but not inside the chapel where the principal Buddha image is kept.

When visiting shrines, it's important to remember that these are religious sites, and not tourist attractions. Every image of Buddha is sacred, no matter the size or the condition. Never stand or sit on one. Never do anything that could be construed as disrespectful.Buddhist monks may not have physical contact with women, if a woman wants to hand something to a monk, she should do so through a man, or place it in his bowl. Don't hand anything to the monk directly.

Thai people have a deep, traditional reverence for the Royal Family, and a visitor should be careful to show respect for the King, the Queen and the Royal Children.

Be a good sport. The Thais are a gentle, humorous people, and deal with every day problems with a smile. If your waitress forgets your coffee, she may laugh at her mistake. Sometimes westerns see this as laughing at them personally and react badly. This is not the case. Relax and be gracious. Courtesy under fire is very important to the Thais.

The title "Khun" is a courtesy. A Thai may add this to your name or address you as such. It's also very common to call you by your first name on first meeting you.

It is not unusual if a Thai does not look at you while he or she is speaking with you. For a Thai, it is considered impolite to look someone in the eye when talking to them.

Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body, literally and figuratively. Therefore, avoid touching people on the head and try not to point your feet at people or an object. It is considered very rude. Shoes should be removed when entering a private Thai home.

When meeting you, a Thai may greet you with a gesture called a "Wai" instead of shaking hands. A Wai is made by pressing your palms together in front of your chest, as if you were praying. A younger person will always greet an older person with a Wai. If someone greets you with a Wai, it's considered courteous to return it.

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