Top 10 Things To Remember When Visiting Thailand

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When traveling in any foreign country there are always things that are always a little different from home. Thailand's top 10 things to remember range from the mundane to ways to avoid inadvertently offending people to ways to stay healthy.

  • Bring your own toilet paper! Many public restrooms do not provide toilet paper, while some places offer them for a small fee. The best bet is at private establishments like shopping malls, hotels and upscale restaurants.
  • Cross streets at footbridges.  Unlike in the west, cars, motorcycles and trucks believe that they have right of ways at all times. Pedestrians do not.
  • The head is considered sacred. Don’t touch a grown person’s head, especially someone who is older than you. However, you can rub kids’ and babies’ heads.  Don’t stand over sitting people. Sit down or step away from them.
  • At the other end of your body, feet are considered low, impolite and offensive. Don’t use your foot to point as if it’s your finger. When sitting, point your feet away from people and sacred objects.
  • Take your shoes off before you go inside temples and homes. When you step into a building, step over the threshold, not on it. Bring shoes that are comfortable but not expensive since shoes do get mixed up and lost.
  • Stay away from illegal drugs. While, like most countries, possession of illegal drugs is a crime, many people have spent their life in Thai prisons for possession of drugs. Never accept a package from anyone to take in or out of Thailand.
  • Dress modestly, especially when visiting palaces and temples. Women are advised to dress with a skirt, at least knee length. Long trousers would be polite for men.  However, many places provide wraps for women at the door. This rule doesn’t apply to kids.
  • Females are not allowed to touch the monks. When monks take offerings from women and girls, there is always a medium in between such as an alm or a piece of cloth. When you are traveling on public transportation, choose a seat away from them if you are female.
  • Simply avoid discussing the royal family in public. Thai people love their royal family. What is insightful, funny or ironic to you, may not be to those hearing you.
  • Drink bottled water, not tap water. Save tap water for washing and brushing teeth.

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