If you are planning to visit Thailand, it is important to understand the dos and the don’ts to avoid trouble and embarrassments during your visit. Thais are considered as friendly and welcoming people but they are easily offended where customs and habits are involved. Thailand is regarded as one of the top tourist destinations in the whole world with a rich culture, great variety of food at affordable prices, beaches, ornate temples among other tourist attractions. However, just like in any other country, here is what not to do in Thailand as tourists:
1. You should never show disrespect to the king and the Royal family because they are highly regarded in the society. Therefore, when visiting the kingdom, you should never say or act disrespectfully to any member of the Royal family or the king. By doing that, you will be offending those around you and it can even get you in prison.
2. It is against the law to take Buddha images out of the country unless you have special permission. Thais worship Buddha and if you are not a Buddhist or you don’t have any special permission to take the images with you, avoid doing it because it can land you into a problem. It is important to know that shops in Thailand sell Buddha images and they won’t tell you it is illegal! Also, you should not show any form of disrespect to Buddha images regardless of their size or form. This can get you in prison even if you are a foreigner.
3. Don’t get involved with anyone or anything that involves drugs because you can get life in prison or a death sentence. This also involves taking bags from people you don’t know or looking after someone else’s belongings and you don’t know. In case these people might be selling or transporting drugs, you will be held responsible and get into trouble. In addition, there are also scams that target foreigners either to extort money or get you into problems. Beware of who you are dealing with at all times even your compatriots to avoid getting into any trouble.
4. Thais are quite conservative and they don’t like seeing people sunbathing nude, kissing, cuddling or being too affectionate in public. It will be offensive and hence you should avoid doing it at least in public.
5. Although most tourists like gambling and having fun, you should be very cautious the type of fun you are looking for. Gambling is illegal in Thailand and if you are caught participating in any form of gambling, you might end up incurring heavy penalties. In addition, do not get involved in prostitution while in Thailand because it makes you vulnerable to getting robbed.
6. While in Thailand, do not (under any circumstances) shout to anyone, use your feet to point at people or things or ruffle or touch a Thai’s hair because it is considered very offensive. Human feet are considered as the most inferior body parts, therefore, it is considered rude using them to point to people or things.
7. Remember to show respect to Thais because they are easily offended. Also, in presence of a monk you are not supposed to cross your legs regardless of where you are sitting (chair or on the floor) because it is considered disrespectful. Finally, if you sit on a floor in a Thai Temple, your feet should not point at a Buddha image because it would be considered rude and disrespectful.
It is very important to understand other people’s culture and way of life to live in harmony. If you are considering touring Thailand, do a research of what you should not do to avoid hurting other people’s feelings. You can also ask your friends who have visited the country to tell you their experience.