Do’s and don’ts

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Do’s and Don’ts in Thailand

Do’s and don’ts information and recommendations for tourists travelling to Thailand. There are so many great reasons to love The Land of Smiles, however keep in mind that the Thai culture differs from the western culture. Thailand is one of the most friendly and tolerant countries in Southeast Asia, but despite this fact there are a few things you can’t do there.

The Monarchy:

Thai people have a deep, traditional reverence for the Royal Family, and a visitor should be careful to show respect for the King, the Queen and the Royal Children. In a movie theater, movie-goers are required to stand up while the royal anthem is played. When attending a public event, at which a member of the Royal Family is present, watch the crowd and do what it does.

It is a criminal offence to make critical or defamatory comments about the King or other members of the Royal family in Thailand. This offence is punishable by a sentence of three to fifteen years or longer.

Religion:

Visitors should dress neatly in all religious shrines. They should never go topless, or in shorts, hot pants or other unsuitable attireIt is acceptable to wear shoes when walking around the compound of a Buddhist temple, but not inside the chapel where the principal Buddha image is kept.

Each Buddha image, large or small, ruined or not, is regarded as a sacred object. Never climb onto one to take a photograph or do anything which might indicate a lack of respect. Buddhist monks are forbidden to touch or be touched by a woman, or to accept anything from the hand of one. If a woman has to give anything to a monk, she first hands it to a man, who then presents it.

Social Norms:

Thais don’t normally shake hands when they greet one another, but instead press the palms together in a prayer-like gesture called a wai. Generally a younger person wais an elder, who returns it.

Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body, literally and figuratively. Therefore, avoid touching people on the head and try not to point your feet at people or an object. It is considered very rude. Shoes should be removed when entering a private Thai home.

Public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon.

Special Advice:

– Beware of unauthorised people who offer their services as guides. For all tourist information, contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Tel: 1672. For information about Bangkok, contact the Bangkok Metropolitan Tourist Bureau, Tel: 0 2225 7612-4. Visitors arriving at Suvarnabhumi International Airport should use only authorized transportation services from the airport to the city and other areas.

– Observe all normal precautions as regards to personal safety, as well as the safety fof your belongings. Walking alone on quiet streets or deserted areas is not recommended. Be sure that all your valuables-money, jewellery, and airline tickets are properly protected from loss. Visitors needing assistance relating to safety, unethical practices, or other matters, please call the Tourist Police at Tel: 1155.

– Drop your garbage into a waste container. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration id no strictly enforcing the law in an effort to keep the city clean and healthy. The fine will be imposed on a person who spits, discards cigarette stubs, or drops rubbish in public areas.

Drugs in Thailand:

Never become involved with drugs of any kind in Thailand. Penalties for drug offences are very severe in Thailand.

– Possession of even very small quantities can lead to imprisonment. If you are found guilty of being in possession of marijuana you are likely to receive a long prison sentence plus a hefty fine.

– Amphetamines, Ecstasy and meth (Ya Ba) are regarded as class A drugs and possession or trafficking of them carries the same penalties as, for example, heroin. If you are found guilty of being in possession of 20 grams, or more, of a class A drug at a point of exit from Thailand you will most likely be sentenced to death.

Take into consideration:

– It is illegal to import more than 200 cigarettes per person into Thailand. The importation of more than 200 cigarettes will be met with a heavy fine and the confiscation of the cigarettes.

– By law, tourists are expected to carry their passports with them at all times in Thailand.

– Do not support any manner of wild animal abuse. Never purchase any products or souvenirs made from wild animals including reptiles like snakes, monitor lizards, and also turtle shell and ivory. Avoid patronizing local restaurants that serve wild animal delicacies. It is against the law to slaughter wildlife for food in Thailand.