Etiquette and Tipping
Aggressive behavior Thais do not take kindly at all to shouting or rudeness or even loud speech. It will not help your situation in the country to raise your voice, in fact the opposite is true. Problems are better solve by quiet , and rational explanation, and apologies where appropriate.
Touching Heads:- Thai believe that the Head is the sacred container of the soul so touching someone on the head can be taken as an insult.
Showing the souls of your feet:- In Thai culture this is a serious insult.
Interrupting meal times ;- As you will witness the Thai people hold their eating habits in high regard. It is normal for a Thai to eat 4 to 5 meals per day. They do not like to be disturbed mid meal, even for business reasons. It is very common, even in Large businesses for the whole organisation to close for lunch, unlike in Western society.
Visiting holy places:- To show the correct deference and respect for local culture please always ensure proper attire when visiting the many interesting shrines, and temples in the Kingdom. Ladies should wear trousers or long skirts and modest tops, and Men should wear long trousers and sleeved shirts. Please remove your foot-ware before entering a covered space (this is common in shops and offices too. Look for rows of shoes before you enter).
Flashing Headlights:- When driving in Thailand just remember that many of your fellow road users like to overtake on the inside, so frequent use of the mirror is essential. Furthermore if you see a vehicle flashing it's lights at you it doesn't mean " I'm letting you through", it means "Get out of my way . I'm coming through".
The Wai (Thai traditional greeting). The Wai comes in many forms. If you are a Westerner, don't worry too much, as the modern Thai have become used to Falangs (white people) getting it wrong. Nowadays In many informal situations you may be offered a handshake or just a Hello or Sawadee .If you do take the time to learn correct Wai-ing your Thai hosts will be impressed and you are likely to be held in high esteem.
1.Wai Poo Yai:- Hold your hands, fingertips together on your chest and lean forward until your face touches your fingers. The Wai Poo Yai is made to a person of higher order. Normally given by a younger person to an older person as a sign of respect.
2. Rab wai:- This is the response to the above and consists of the recipient of the Wai Poo Yai clasping hands and fingertips together at chest level.
3. Wai pra.Yai:- This wai is used when acknowledging a senior monk or Buddha image. It consists of clasping the hands in front of the face in the kneeling position; and is concluded by touching the floor with one's forehead.