How to avoid culture shock in Thailand?

Let's be honest, avoiding culture shock can be difficult, but with prepared knowledge before you arrive, it's nothing to worry about, right? To help you understand Thai customs and manners, we've put some tips on how to avoid feeling surprised by the culture in Thailand.

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Making Out in Public & Inappropriate Touching

Thailand is a traditional place where people highly value being respectful and keeping things modest in public. This is especially important when it comes to touching someone of the opposite sex, even if it's common in your own culture to hold hands, hug, or kiss on the cheek as a way of saying hello. In Thailand, when you meet someone for the first time, it's considered more polite to greet them while keeping a little space between you. So, it's not a good idea to get too affectionate in public. It's better to save the kisses and hugs for a more private place.

Finger and Feet Pointing

In Thai culture, certain body parts hold different levels of importance and sacredness. The head is considered the most sacred part of the body, and it's a place of great reverence. On the other hand, feet are considered the lowest part of the body. Now, because of this cultural belief, it's considered disrespectful to point your feet at people, religious objects, or sacred places. It's a sign of disregard and disrespect. Imagine if someone pointed their feet at something you hold dear; it would feel disrespectful, right?

In addition to this, even pointing with your fingers is not encouraged.  It's important to remember that pointing at someone's face is considered insulting and disrespectful, similar to making the "OK" gesture in Brazil. Although some expressions may be universal, it's advisable to adapt your behavior to the culture of the country you're visiting. Plus, Thai people prefer to use their whole hand with the palm facing upward when they want to gesture or point at something. This way of gesturing is seen as more polite and considerate in their culture.

So, when in Thailand, it's important to be mindful of how you position your body and use your hands when communicating, to show respect for their customs and beliefs. So you can show respect and have a more enjoyable travel experience.

Staring at Other People's Faces

Staring at others is considered impolite in Thailand. Instead of direct eye contact, a respectful Thai greeting typically involves a slight bow and a smile. If someone stares at you, it's often out of curiosity and not intended to be rude. Moreover, if you find that the person you're talking to doesn't make eye contact for as long as you usually do, it's because Thai people, in general, tend to be humble and shy. They don't want you to feel uncomfortable and worried as they felt. So, to create a more relaxed atmosphere during your conversation, avoid intense and prolonged staring. Instead, try alternating between making eye contact and shifting your gaze elsewhere.

Criticizing Local Culture

Thailand is a place where you can see a lot of awesome art, unique culture, and delicious food that'll make your heart dance. But since their culture might be different from what you're used to, some things might seem a bit strange. Here's a tip: try not to criticize anything that's just part of the way things roll in Thailand. It'll help you avoid awkward cultural arguments and keep the good vibes flowing.

Thailand's got its own special culture, and the people there are pretty chill and friendly. But there's one thing you should definitely avoid touching - their love for Som Tam and other Thai food, a super spicy papaya salad. It's like their national treasure, and they're pretty passionate about it. So, to keep things smooth, just roll with it and respect their customs, including their Somtam obsession. That way, you can fully enjoy everything about Thailand!! 

Eating All Day: Thai Food and Friendships

When you travel to Thailand, you'll notice a delightful cultural quirk. Whether you meet a Thai friend in the morning, during lunch, in the evening, or even late at night, there's one question they'll always ask you: "Have you had rice yet?" For Thai people, what they eat is a big deal, and it's considered impolite for a guest to be hungry while visiting their home. So don't be surprised if every Thai person you meet in Thailand checks in on your meal status. They might suggest eating together (for example, if you run into a friend at a restaurant while they're having a meal). It's essential to understand that this is a polite question, not a formal dinner invitation. Think of it as a way to express thier care, similar to asking someone 'How are you?'. It's a lovely way for Thai people to show they care about your well-being.

Other Things to Avoid

  • Never touch someone's head, even playfully, as the head is considered the most sacred part of the body.
  • When giving or receiving something, use both hands to show respect.
  • Remove your shoes before entering someone's home or a temple.
  • Don't raise your voice or lose your temper in public. Thai people value a calm and harmonious atmosphere.

Thailand's rich culture and stunning landscapes make it a truly enchanting destination for travelers. However, embracing these cultural differences is key to having a memorable and respectful visit. By following these guidelines and showing genuine respect for Thai customs, you'll not only avoid culture shock but also create lasting memories and meaningful connections with the warm and welcoming people of Thailand.

For various aspects of your Thai adventure, Thai Kru is here to assist you. Our team possesses extensive knowledge about Thailand in many areas. Whether you require help with visas, travel planning, healthcare, retirement planning, or simply finding a place to stay in the city center, we've got you covered. It's no longer a complicated task. We're your reliable friend when discovering the Land of Smiles. Don't miss to consult us.

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