10 tips on how to behave in Thailand

It can be hard to make heads or tails of the Thai culture, and it is also hard to find out how to behave in a foreign country like Thailand with a different culture, living conditions and especially religion.

Therefore, we have collected 10 tips on how to behave in Thailand, that you can read here:

  1. Do not take large amounts of clothes with you

You can get clothes washed, dried and folded up for just one kroner per kilo (20-50 baht). You hand the clothes in one day and pick them on up the next. A 4 to 5 days’ supply of clothing is more than enough. Besides clothes don’t cost that much in Thailand.

  1. Do not take a tuk-tuk

Tuk-tuks smell, are slow and the driver will take you exactly where they want (they drive you to shops that sell junk because they get paid for it). Use taxis with air conditioning all the time! Avoid the tuk-tuk and take a taxi. AND before getting into the taxi, be sure to ask the driver if he has a meter, and if it works! If they pretend it does not, then get out again. It is very hard to find a fair taxi driver. If you are in Bangkok, take the SkyTrain or boat taxis, they are both a great pleasure.

  1. Be careful if you buy food from the street

Food on the street is cheap, and in most cases,  nothing happens by eating it. However, you must be careful that the raw ingredients are fresh before they are cooked. It is important to remember that food in the Western world is far more hygienically handled and it takes some time for the stomach to get used to Thai hygiene standards.

  1. The monks are not as sacred as they look

The monks are perhaps some of the most sacred people in Thailand, but it is important to remember that Thailand is a poor country in development, and that therefore it is good to be a monk, and many are ordinary people ‘fleeing’ from life on the street, to become a monk. Don’t be surprised if you meet a monk talking on a cell phone in a red taxi.

  1. Be careful if you mention Buddha or the Royal Family

Thailand is known for its peaceful and friendly disposition, but nonetheless, if you talk about sensitive issues such as the royal family or Buddha be careful. Not only can you saying negative things offend people, it can actually lead to imprisonment or possibly even the death penalty. Never point at something with your feet, as these are seen as unclean, and never lift up a statue, or other  artefact symbolising the royal family or Buddha. A few years back a mentally disturbed man became crazy around a statue of Buddha, which resulted in passers-by beating him to death.

  1. Massage

They can be nice or “dirty”! Both kinds are always than available, and they will all try to capture your attention as you walk down the street. The nice massage girls are older, bigger, and wear polo t-shirts. The “dirty” (“sexy massage” or “special massage”) massage women are younger and wear provocative clothes. The price varies greatly.

  1. Haggle at markets

Here you need to know what you are doing. Often dealers will ask you 10 times the value of what you want to buy. Shake your head suspiciously and the dealer will usually hand you a calculator. Tap in a tenth of what they have asked you and give it to them, and then they will shake their head, and tell you that it is a really good price, that the product is genuine and of top quality, and then they’ll subtract 10% off the price. If you are lucky you can push them down to 30 to 50% less than what you were originally offered. You probably won’t be able to get it cheaper, as it is almost impossible (they are too good at negotiating and there is a sea of tourists behind you, who are probably easier to fool). Once you have agreed the price that has been suggested, then you are required to buy it. Do not just haggle to practice. See if you can manage to experience the night markets in Bangkok – they are amazing!

  1. Avoid scams

If anyone approaches you and tells you that they are about to close, or won’t open again until much later, ignore them. Especially if it is someone who tells you they can get you good prices on hand-made suits. Many of the scammers can be difficult to figure out.

  1. Be prepared for the heat and the mosquitoes

Thailand is warm and tropical almost all year round and is very hot with high humidity. The mosquitoes are everywhere (though most places fortunately are malaria free). You can buy sunscreen almost everywhere but mosquito repellent is not as easy to get. Get a small bottle of Ultrathon or Cutter. A small bottle will last longer than you expect. With regards to the heat remember to drink bottled water often and stay out of the sun (unless you are used to it) at the hottest times of the day.

  1. Do not only go to Thailand to enjoy the antiquities

Good luck with your trip to Thailand!

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