Thailand for farang

Do's and don'ts Thailand

If you are a visitor in a country my opinion is that you should respect their ways and beliefs. You don’t necessarily have to agree with everything, but you should adapt to what is appropriate and what not. Don’t act disrespectful in a country that welcomes you.

Thailand is know for being the land of smiles, but behind those smiles are many hidden emotions. Thai people are friendly in general. But if you upset a Thai person they will not let you know, because of ‘Kreng Jai’ (I will get to that later). To keep those smiles genuine, please follow a few simple basic ‘rules’.

Do’s in Thailand

  • Respect H.M. the King and the Royal Family (and all images of them)
  • Respect Buddha and all images of Buddha
  • Respect Monks
  • Be respectful to authorities (immigration, cops, …)
  • Keep calm at all times : losing your temper in public will result in losing face and losing respect of others
  • Remove your shoes when entering a temple or somebody’s house
  • Smile, smile, smile I can’t say it too much
  • Dress properly to visit a temple
  • Use the wai instead of a handshake/hello/goodbye
  • Take care of your personal hygiene, Thai find it very important

Don’ts in Thailand

  • Don’t do the opposite from what is written above (especially don’t disrespect H.M. The King and his family or Buddha)
  • Don’t play with coins or bills, because it has H.M. The King’s head on it
  • Don’t get involved with illegal drugs : don’t bring/buy/use it, …stay away from illegal drugs
  • Don’t touch a Thai persons head or mess with their hair, not even with kids : it’s disrespectful
  • Don’t point to anybody or anything with your feet
  • Don’t put your feet on a table
  • Don’t show the soles of your feet to anybody, it’s insulting. Especially don’t point your feet or soles of your feet in a buddhist temple
  • Don’t wear a hat in a buddhist temple
  • Don’t go underdressed in public, for men going shirtless is ok at around the beach of course, but if you enter a restaurant, bar or shop wear a shirt
  • Don’t feel offended when thai people ask for your age, weight, wage, marital status or how much you paid for your house/car/… . You don’t have to answer if you are not comfortable wit hit, but these are normal questions in Thailand
  • Don’t be all lovey-dovey in public, don’t kiss in public (don’t use Pattaya/Phuket as references), holding hands is ok as long as you are not in a temple
  • Don’t take buddha statues home : it’s illegal to export a statue, but it’s not illegal to sell them to foreigners
  • Don’t throw things to someone to hand them something
  • Don’t ask to many closed questions as Thai often are not comfortable saying no, they might even say yes when the answer is no (they are not stupid, they don’t like to say no)
  • Don’t be offended if a Thai person gives you wrong directions, this happens often as they want to avoid looking ignorant, Thais dislike showing their lack of knowledge, so they may lie to you
  • Don’t move and don’t talk during the national anthem at 8 am and 6 pm
  • Don’t gamble for money
  • Don’t play cards for money
  • Don’t beckon or gesture someone to come over with your palm facing upwards, it is considered an aggressive gesture.
  • Don’t overstay your visa

Don’ts in Thailand for woman:

  • Don’t sunbathe toplesstopless: is not done, you probably have beautiful bosoms and are proud of it, but keep them covered in Thailand!
  • Don’t touch a monk or pass something directly to a monk

The most important for every farang :

Don’t screw it up for other Farangs who take being respectful serious!

If you think there is an important ‘rule’ missing, please send your suggestions to and I’ll complete the list. Thank you!

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