I have been to Thailand on regular basis 2011-2014. I like the city Bangkok for the simple reason there is a lot to discover. You can go on foot, which I like, or the metro, which makes it simpler. We have the usuals, the taxi, and the tuk-tuk. You can discover and see places but what about people. Until you talk to them, you will not know. There is a language barrier too which needs to be sorted. You have to learn customs and manners of a particular country/place as well. Things that are accepted in other country or worldwide might not work in some countries.
A simple example is hailing a taxi. You put your hands up with fingers up…right! WROOONG! Not in Thailand, it is rude. You keep your hand horizontal, fingers facing down (see pic). Now, that goes for waiters or anybody else you want to call. You put your palm down and fingers straight with an up and down movement. Never clap whistle, snap your fingers it is outright rude for the Thais.
Thai Culture in Temples
There are more than 30,000 temples in Thailand. The government recognizes twenty thousand temples. Then there is the classification of temples. Point is you will be seeing a lot of temples. You should learn their customs. Following these customs for Indians is easy as we do more or less the same in our temples. Thumb rule for any temple is you will leave your slippers outside and you will cover yourself.
That means no shorts, no waist up T-shirts etc. As per Thai Culture, in Thailand temples, women should wear probably white and the skirts should be below the knee. Men just wear Trousers and full sleeve shirts.
These temples are ancient and were made with grandeur. However, at the end of the day it is a `Temple’ and a not tourist spot.
Do not take photographs and do not speak loudly, especially when prayers are going on. Those flashes from the camera are pure ignorance from a visitor. Some temples allow photography out of decency; it is in our hand we do not push them.
When receiving or giving to a monk always use your right hand. In all temples, one should always sit cross-legged. If you cannot, fold your legs back and not in front. Do not point your feet towards Buddha Statue, person or anybody. It is considered very rude in Thailand. You should also not sit in the restaurant like that.
Thais do not like to be touched on their heads.
Thailand is a tropical area Thais like to keep themselves fresh by taking regular shower throughout the day. Many tourists overlook this basic fact. Some of the clothes mainly synthetic tend to smell in Thailand tropical weather. Budget travelers especially do not wear yesterday’s T-shirts after taking a bath. Thais will not say it directly, but they will avoid you.
Another thing about Thais that I like is they never say NO. This more often creates humorous errors. Like when you ask for direction, they will simply point you towards a direction, as he cannot say no. It goes same at the restaurant; you ask for mustard and get ketchup. This does not mean he did not hear you; it is just that they do not have mustard. It is their way of being polite and not saying NO.
Raising your voice is unacceptable in Thailand and considered an act of losing control. You will see them getting aggressive that very movement.
Bargaining in Thailand
We all love to bargain. I am not saying you do not in Thailand. Places like Chatuchak Market, Pratunam Market etc. one should bargain. However, do not drop the price to 50% they will simply ignore you. Thailand other markets are more or less genuine. If you bargain too much they will get angry.
They call Thailand land of smiles, and they have a good reason (Not what you are thinking). You will find all Thai people supporting a big Smile. That is another reason you will not hear No. You may hear No…yes though.
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