Thailand is one of the most diverse and culturally rich places on the planet. There is so much to learn about Thailand and Thai Culture. Important Cultural elements are the thai greeting (wai) and thai customs.
The Wai & Other Thai Customs:
The Wai is the same as a “hand shake” in the western world. The wai is something that offers respect – and can be used as a greeting or goodbye.
The wai is simply putting the hand together (palm to palm) and raising them up to your nose/forehead.
To raise the hands in a Wai to the very top of your forehead and bow slightly is offering extra respect (reserved for government / royalty or dignified peoples)
The standard Wai is when you put the hands up to the lips/nose area. You will find yourself getting mutal respect when you wai thai people upon greeting them.
Another important custom of note is that touching someone on the head may be considered rude. It is also considered rude to place one’s feet at a level above someone Else’s head, especially if that person is of higher social standing. This is because the Thai people consider the foot to be the dirtiest and lowliest part of the body, and the head the most respected and highest part of the body. This also influences how Thais sit when on the ground—their feet always pointing away from others, tucked to the side or behind them. Pointing at or touching something with the feet is also considered rude. It is also customary to remove your shoes/foot wear when entering most private residence (this can include some shops and business)
It is also considered extremely rude to step on a Thai coin, because the king’s head appears on the coin. When sitting in a temple, one is expected to point one’s feet away from images of the Buddha.
The King and Buddha are both highly respected in Thailand which means symbols, images and shrines are never to be stepped on, sat on or disrespected in any way.
Thai people are happy people, it is pretty much considered customary to always wear a smile on your face and in turn to offer a smile back.
Religion & Art of Thailand:
Thailand is a 95% buddhist country. Buddhism is highly respected and integral part of Thai culture. You will see thai temples, shrines and images everywhere in Thailand.
Hand in Hand with Buddhism is thai art, the thai art is usually based around buddha or other busshist aspects.
Another element of thai art are the Sak Yant (thai traditional tattoos) These images are believed to offer magic to the person tattooed with the Sak Yant – there are many diff. types of Sak Yant and traditionally they should be done by a monk or particular person of magic.
Many visitors to Thailand will find interest in Sak Yant tattoos, as a recommendation we suggest you find out what each Sak Yant represents and means. Along with this you should also know that traditionally and for the sake of the magic – the Sak Yant should be done by metal rod or bamboo (manually) not by machine.
Also you should also be aware that monks or certain people of magic are supposed to give the Sak Yant – not your regular tattoo man.