Other countries are often like other planets: you never really know what to expect. And a short vacation in a good hotel is not enough to really get to know the spirit of a new place and learn about the habits of the inhabitants.
We at Bright Side wanted to tell you about the cultural features of Thailand.
1. In Thailand, there are 3 types of respectful greetings. And there’s one more for those that can’t choose from the first 3.
The Thai greeting “Wai” might be the first thing you will see when you come to Thailand. This is a little bow with hands, that looks like you’re praying. The gesture is not only used as a greeting, but also to show respect. You can do it in 3 different ways:
- Thumbs touching the chin — for colleagues and friends;
- Thumbs touching the nose — for people who are older than you;
- Thumbs touching the forehead — this is the most respect, for example for the king.
If you don’t know how to respond to this gesture, you can put your hands together at the height of your chest and bow a little. But tourists don’t have to do this — the locals will be happy if you just smile at them politely.
2. Putting your legs on the table, the chair, or other surfaces is a direct insult.
Putting legs on top of one another so that your soles are visible to other people, and also putting them on the table or a chair is considered a sign of disrespect. It is a very rude and insulting gesture because legs here are considered to be the dirtiest part of the body. This is why the Thai wash them when they come home.
Of course, they understand when tourists ignore this, but it’s better to respect the local culture.
3. The head is the most sacred part of the human body.
The head is something sacred. You shouldn’t touch anyone’s hair, even if it’s a friendly gesture or a joke. The same goes for someone’s children. The locals won’t understand it if you touch a child’s head.
However, this is not a very strict rule and not all Thai people follow it.
4. The locals love inhalers.
In any stores or pharmacies, you can find shelves with small inhalers in different flavors. Menthol is the most popular.
The locals use inhalers to get rid of things like a headache or a runny nose.
5. At birth, many children get unusual middle names.
Many Thai people have traditional beliefs. One of them is that evil spirits can’t harm a child if they don’t know its name. So, children are given 2 names.
In recent years, the tradition has changed: children are often given second names after famous brands or popular English words. For example, Pepsi, Benz, Pancakes, Gold, Bank, Wi-Fi, and so on.
6. In many public places, you won’t find toilet paper. But you will find something else
Most toilets have bidets that are used instead of toilet paper. If a bathroom is not very well-equipped (for example, instead of a toilet, there’s just a hole in the ground), you will find a bucket of water and a dipper.
If there’s toilet paper, you can’t flush it in the toilet: the sewers in Thailand are different and they might get clogged.
7. Toilet paper here can be used in a different way
Thai people are very practical and they use toilet paper instead of napkins. They use it to wipe everything: desks or even their own faces.
8. Short dresses and skirts are not worn the way they are in the rest of the world.
Most young women in Thailand wear long dresses and skirts, and may even wear tights underneath. The reason is simple: Thailand is a pretty conservative country.
9. In many apartments, there are no kitchens.
In most Thai homes and apartments, there are no kitchens. The first reason is that the local food smells a lot and cooking it at home wouldn’t be a good idea. This is why some people cook on their balconies. The second reason is that it’s often easier and cheaper to buy food on the street. And finally, kitchen furniture and appliances cost a lot and take up a lot of space, and Thai apartments are quite small. However, some people still have small stoves or small fridges.
Have you ever been to Thailand? Did you notice anything special there?