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Getting Along in Thailand Thailand is justly celebrated for its tolerance and hospitality, and the average tourist will have no difficulty in adjusting to the local customs. All the same, as when coming into any unfamiliar society, a visitor may find it helpful to be aware of certain do's and don't's and thus avoid giving accidental offense. Basically, most of these are simply a matter of common sense and good manners-not really all that different from the way one would behave in one's country-but a few are special enough to be pointed out.
The Thai people have a deep, traditional reverence for their Royal Family, and a visitor should also be cereful to show respect for the King, the Queen, and the Royal Children. In a cinema, for example, a portrait of the King is shown during the playing of the national anthem, and the audience is expected to stand. When attending some public event at which a member of the Royal Family is present, the best guide as to know to behave is probably to watch the crowd and do what it does.Religion
Thai law has a number of special sections concerning religious offense, and these cover not only Buddhism, the religion of the majority of the people, but also any other faiths represented in the Kingdom. It is, for instance unlawful to commit any act, by any means whatever, to an object of a place of religious worship of any community in a manner likely to insult the religion. Similarly, whoever causes any disturbance at an assembly lawfully engaged in the performance of religious worship of religious ceremonies is subject to punishment, as well as "whoever dresses or uses a symbol showing that he is a priest or novice, holyman or clergyman of any religion unlawfully in order to make another person believer he is such person".
In less legal language, here are a few tips on what to do and what not to do on a visit to a religious place:
Dress neatly, Don't go shirless, or in shorts, pants, or other unsuitable attire. If you look at the Thais around you, you'll see the way they would prefer you to be dressed-which, in fact, is probably not very different from the way you'd dress in similar place back home.
The don't of Thai social behavior are less clearly defined than those concerning the monarchy or religion, especially in a city like Bangkok where Western customs are better known and more widely accepted. However, what is acceptable in Bangkok may not be in the countryside where the old ways are still strong. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
It is considered rude to point your foot at a person, so try to avoid doing so when sitting opposite anyone, and following the conception that the foot is a low limb: DO NOT point your foot to show anything to anyone, but use your finger instead.
Do and Do Not in Thailand
Public displays of affection between men and women are frowed upon. You may see some very Westernised young Thai couples holding hands, but that is the extent of the displaying of affection in this polite society.
Losing your temper, especially in public, will more than likely get you nowhere. The Thais think such displays denote poor manners, and you are more apt to get what you want by keeping a cool head and concealing your emotions.
DO NOT be surprised if you are addressed by your first name; for instance, Mr. Bob or Miss Mary instead of by your surname. This is because Thais refer to one another in this manner, usually with the title "Khun" "(Mr., Mrs., or Miss) in front. Follow the customs of the country as far as possible and you will make more friends during your stay. And the more friends you make, the more you will want to return to Thailand.