February 27, 2004

Dos and Don'ts

  1. Thai people are tolerant and hospitable. Normally tourists will have no difficulty in
    adjusting to the local customs. However, they may find it useful to be aware of certain dos and don’ts.

  2. Thai people deeply revere the Royal Family. A visitor should be careful to show
    respect for the King and the Royal Family. The best guide as to how to behave is
    to watch the crowd and do what it does.

  3. When going inside a chapel, shoes must be removed.

  4. Never climb onto any image of Buddha or chedis to take a photograph.

  5. Buddhist monks are forbidden to touch or be touched by women, or to accept
    anything from the hand of a woman. To give anything to a monk, a woman will
    either hand it to a man who then passes it to the monk, or the monk will spread
    out a piece of handkerchief in front of him for her to lay down her offerings on
    the handkerchief.

  6. When entering a Thai home, take off your shoes.

Social Values

  1. “Nam-jai” (which literally means water of the heart) is very important for Thai people. When Thai people say that a person has “nam-jaii,” it means that this person is happy to make sacrifices for friends and extend hospitality to strangers.
  2. Thai people always say “mai pen rai” (never mind or it doesn’t matter) when something unfortunate happens. They think that everybody and everything is acceptable. Conflicts should be avoided.
  3. Thai people also have a feeling of “greng-jai.” They are very reluctant to impose on anyone or disturb other people.
  4. Thai people are also expected to realize “thii tam thii soong”(literally, high place and low place). People can be “high” or “low” according to their age, family background, occupation, and professional position. They should behave and treat other people according to their own and other people’s status. Body parts such as the head and face are considered “thii soong” (high place) and feet “thii tam” (low place).Therefore, Thai people feel offended when someone touches or passes something to another person over their heads. They are also offended when a person points to them or at something with his foot. Head is considered “thii soong” (high place). Therefore, Thai people feel offended when someone touches their heads.
  5. Thai people think that everything is acceptable. Conflicts, therefore, should be
  1. When Thai people say that a person has “nam-jai,” it means that that person ___________.
  2. What do Thai people say when something unfortunate happens?
  3. People can be “high” or “low” depending on what?
  4. What body parts are considered as “thii soong” (high place)?
  5. What body parts are considered as “thii tam” (low place)?
  6. Why do Thai people feel offended when someone touches their head?


Thai Word
“Nam-jai” kindness
“mai pen rai” that's alright, it doesn't matter
“greng-jai.” considerate
“thii soong” high place
“thii tam” low place