DO AND DON'T IN THAILAND


The present-day advanced technology makes it possible for rapid communication among the world’s peoples. The opportunities to get in touch with groups of people belonging to different beliefs or cultures other than ours occur so easily that we are hardly aware of them. Therefore, if people are knowledgeable about different cultures, this will lead to better understanding and promote peaceful mutual existence.


RELIGION

1. When visiting Buddhist temples, dress politely. Visitors are allowed to wear shoes when walking around the ubosot/temple, but the shoes must be removed on entering the ubosot/temple, and at places where there are signs specifying the removal of shoes.

2. In the case of other religions, customs specified by such religions must be observed.

3. There is a rule forbidding Buddhist monks from touching females; therefore, women should not get too close to monks or make any kind of body contact with them. If a woman is given something by a monk, wait for him to put the object on the floor before picking it up. If she wants to present something to the monk, put it on a piece of cloth that he has spread before him.

4. Climbing, sitting on, or leaning against a Buddha image, regardless whether it is big or small, ruined or in good condition, genuine or a replica, is considered a disrespect to religious object. If one wants to have a picture taken with a Buddha image, do it in a polite manner that shows respect to the image.

5. Buddha images should be placed in suitable places. Normally, Thais place Buddha images at a high level. Placing Buddha images on the floor, near the staircase, under a table or a chair, in the bathroom, or on the lawn should not be done, for it is considered a disrespect.

6. Buddha images are sold as objects of worship, and not for any other purpose, since they are deemed to represent the Lord Buddha. Moreover, the use of Buddha images as trademarks for goods such as sweets, beverages, alcoholic drinks, toys, or the placing of Buddha images on articles used in daily life such as shoes, socks, swimwear, or underclothing is forbidden.

7. A Buddha image is one of the most venerated objects made for worshipping. Therefore, in Thailand several laws have been issued to protect Buddha images, for example, the unauthorized export of Buddha images from Thailand is a violation of the law, and legal action will be taken against the offender.
8. Any action to objects or places of veneration belonging to any religious group considered to be contemptible to that religion is a violation of the law according to Clause 206 of the Criminal Law with an imposed jail sentence of 1-7 years.

9. Causing a disturbance or riot at a religious assembly during a lawful meeting, worship, or religious ceremony is a criminal offence according to Clause 207 of the Criminal Law with an imposed jail sentence of not more than one year.

10. Illegal dressing as and assuming the guise of a clergy in any religion is a violation of the law according to Clause 208 of the Criminal Law with an imposed jail sentence of not more than one year.

THE MONARCH

1. The Monarchy is an institution of worship. Any transgression to the Monarchy either openly or secretly is a misdemeanor according to the Constitution.

2. Respect should be paid to the Monarchy.

3. One should stand to pay respect while the Royal Anthem is being played.

4. When entering the palace grounds, dress politely. Sleeveless shirts or blouses, shorts, or sandals are not allowed.


SOCIAL CUSTOMS

1. Thais greet one another with a ‘Wai’.

2. Thais consider the head to be venerable and thus one should not touch anybody’s head. If touching anyone’s head by accident, it is wise to apologise to him/her immediately.

3. Thais consider the feet to be lowly and thus one should not put one’s feet on the table or the chair, or point at people or things with one’s feet.

4. Expressing sexual feeling in public is unacceptable in the Thai culture.

5. Showing the image of the Thai National Flag on any package or goods without implying any sense of contempt can be done to a certain degree only 1) by government’s agencies, and 2) for commercial purpose, with the government’s approval according to the Law regarding the National Flag.

6. Any form of amusement during the Songkran Festival or other traditional. Thai festivals should be held to propagate the good traditions and express goodwill and pure intention. Clean water and proper utensils should be used in the Songkran Festival, and water should not be thrown at those who do not wish to participate in the festival.


Source: National Culture Commission