6 Key Thailand Etiquette To Know Before You Travel to Thailand


Traveling to a new country always requires some research. While most Google searches center around where-to-go and what-to-dos, keep in mind that cultural aspects of the country should also be considered – you would not want to offend the locals, would you?

As with every culture, this Southeast Asian country has various traditions and religions that translate into its significant Thailand etiquette. What may be seemingly appropriate to you, could potentially be offensive or land you in hot water with the locals (or law!).

So, to make sure you make the best out of your travels, we have listed seven Thailand etiquette for tourists you should be aware of when you visit us.

  1. Wai
              The ‘Wai’ is a Thai greeting – you will see many locals doing this as you pass by. It can mean a polite hello, goodbye or to acknowledge someone, and even to apologize. The gesture, which is putting your hands together in a prayer-like position, is used as a sign of respect or gratitude. Traditionally, people wai to those with higher statuses. So, make sure you return the sign of wai, as you could be perceived as rude not to. However, do not wai if you have something in your hand – if this is the case you can pass a smile or bow your head.

  2. Don’t touch heads
              The head is considered a sacred part of the body in Thailand, hence, touching or patting someone is considered inappropriate. This is why masseurs may ask permission to massage your head initially to show respect. It is also rude to raise your legs above someone’s head or stepping over people.

  3. Remove your shoes
              If you are visiting someone’s home or a temple, make sure you remove your shoes as a sign of respect. Shoes pick up dirt and wearing them in a temple or house is a sign of disrespect as you are bringing in the dirt. Some establishments may also practice this to signify respect.

  4. No touching monks
              Females, be careful around monks as it is forbidden for monks to have any form of physical contact with women. If you have something to give, you may put it down in front of them instead. As monks are highly regarded, they must be treated properly, for example, you should offer them your seat on public transport. Additionally, if you are visiting a temple, ensure you are dress conservatively (no exposed knees, or low cut tops). One thing to note is that monks do not have to return the wai gesture.

  5. The national anthem
              You will hear the national anthem being played at 8 am and 6 pm, daily. The anthem is also played before movies in cinemas. During this, you must halt whatever you may be doing and stand up to pay your respect in silence.

  6. Watch your foot
              Feet are considered to be dirty so be careful with yours when in Thailand. Hence, you should avoid pointing at items with your foot, especially in temples. When sitting, try a position that does not show the bottom of your feet.

Explore Pattaya for your next getaway

Thailand is a popular tourist destination and Pattaya, a city on Thailand’s eastern Gulf coast is known for its beautiful beaches. But, Pattaya offers various other activities as well. So, if you are heading to the sunny resort city of Pattaya, we have listed a few articles below to read up on for your itinerary:

What to know about Pattaya

Visit Terminal 21 Pattaya

A quick guide to transportation in Pattaya

5 Adventure Activities to try in Pattaya

With that being said, make sure you practice the Thailand etiquette and ensure you respect their tradition or customs to ensure a pleasant stay with us.

Need a place to stay? Book a room at Holiday Inn Pattaya – we are located along the popular Beach Road and strategically accessible to all the wonderful destinations of Pattaya. 

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