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Holidays to Thailand 2011: cultural survival guide

Planning holidays to Thailand in 2011? Thai cultural is very different from UK culture. Here we look at some cultural dos and don'ts for Thailand.

Do

  • Do dress respectfully in temples. Wear long trousers and long sleeves
  • Do dress modestly in cities and towns. Shorts and vests are fine - but bikini tops or no top at all is not
  • Always show respect for elders - including when you're bargaining in a market or with an older tuk tuk driver
  • Do take your shoes off before entering a Thai house. You may also be expected to take them off when entering a hairdressers or beauty salon - if there are shoes lined up at the door, take yours off

Don't

  • Don't speak disrespectfully about HM The King and HM The Queen
  • Don't point at people or things with your feet
  • Don't sit with the soles of your feet pointing at an image of Buddha
  • Don't touch anyone on the head, including children
  • Don't engage in public displays of affection. Kissing or hand holding in public is considered to be rude
  • Don't raise your voice in public
  • Don't call a waiter or waitress with your fingers pointing in the air. If you raise your hand, make a fist
  • Don't clear your plate when dining out with Thai friends - they will keep ordering more until you leave something

Remember that Thai culture tends to be very easy going and accepting towards foreigners. As long as you are polite, it's unlikely that you will seriously offend any Thai people.

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