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Making a Good Impression in 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.

The statues of Buddha are a religious icons, and therefore sacred. Every one of them, no matter the size, or the state of repair. You may photograph them, but do not stand or sit on them. Do nothing that might be interpreted as disrespectful. Monks have no contact with women generally, and are forbidden to touch or be touched by one. So if you want to hand something to a monk (alms, perhaps), hand it to a man first to hand to the monk, or place it in his bowl. Never hand it directly to the monk.

Avoid commenting on the Royal Family. The Thais are protective and loyal to the ruling family, and treat them with deep respect. They are not a subject for levity in the way our politicians are.

The Thais set a lot of store on good manners and in handling things with a smile. If something goes wrong, a Thai is likely to smooth it over with a smile or a laugh. This is not an insult, or disrespectful. This is graceful living. So be gracious. Losing your temper is considered very bad form. If you must complain, do so with a smile.

Don't be surprised if a Thai addresses you as 'Khun' or says 'Khun' before saying your name (for example: "Khun John". This is a courtesy. You may also notice that Thais always address someone by their first name.

Thais considered eye to eye contact impolite, and while generally not look directly into your eyes while speaking to you.

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.

Thais don't normally shake hands when they greet one another, but instead press the palms together in a prayer-like gesture called a Wai. If someone greet you with a Wai, it is polite to do the same in return.


 
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