Friday, November 19, 2010

Things Not To Do In Thai Culture

broke down palace

I found a pretty great blog in preparation for my Thailand trip HERE. I've spent months reading about Thailand and the culture and from everything I've read his simple blog post pretty much summed up how I can stay out of jail during my time there and be back to the states before 2050. Check out his tips below.

These are the basic no-no’s while you’re in the Kingdom of Thailand. Don’t take them lightly.
  • Never talk bad about or disrespect the King or the Royal Family. This also goes for objects that bear their seal or likeness such as money. If you drop a baht note, do NOT step on it. It’s like stepping on the King’s face. If you don’t get beaten or even killed by the Thai mob that heard you say/do it, you’ll end up in prison on charges of Lese Majeste. Suffice to say you won’t be winning any popularity contests while staying in ‘The Bangkok Hilton”.
  • Never talk bad about or disrespect Buddha or the Buddhist religion. Case in point; A mentally disturbed Thai man started hacking up a famous Buddhist pagoda type statue called the Erawan one morning with a hammer. A mob killed him within minutes. Literally. Don’t mess around with their religion or royals, period.
  • Do not point at things with your feet. Feet are the ‘lowest’ part of your body and using them to point at things is a sign of great disrespect. Especially NEVER use it to point at a Buddha statue or image of the King or Royal Family member’s likeness.
  • Do not touch Thai people on their head. It is the highest part of your body and it’s to be treated with respect. Hats go on your head, that’s about it. NEVER touch something like a hat, with your foot.
  • Do not get caught with drugs of any kind here, you’ll go to jail for a long time or end up on death row. Seriously.
  • Don’t be loud, obnoxious or lose your temper. In Thailand it’s considered a weakness for someone to have to raise their voice or cause a scene to get their point across and you’ll be looked down upon.
  • Do not get in a fight with a Thai person. Not only will the police more than likely see it his way, but every Thai man within a 10 mile radius will come over to join in on your beating. I’ve seen it happen a few times, thankfully not to me.

If you can heed these basic warnings you’ll be safe. These are the big no-no’s. Yes there’s tons of other things you should not do in Thai culture, but the big ones are covered here. Thailand is a wonderful place where most people are smiling and happy to Westerners or farangs. Just use some common sense and heed the above rules and you’ll get along just fine. Explore Thailand, it truly is amazing!


Stoplese said...

Your advice about the king of Thailand is misleading. It's not a question of "talking bad" about King Bhumibol, foreigners can find themselves in a Thai prison accused of lese majeste (insulting the monarch) for asking simple questions like "why do Thai people love their king so much?".

Thailand is a cult nation. The fetish that Thai royalists have about their tyrannical king, is damaging this nation and dividing its people.

Even stepping on a Baht note to prevent it flying away, is considered an "insult" towards the Thai king, as all the notes and coins have this man's head stamped or printed on them.

My advice to foreigners is to stay away from Thailand, rather than trying to abide by draconian rules about "respect" for the "revered" monarchy.

Thailand is not a save country for foreigners to visit. Lese majeste law makes it punishable by up to 15years in prison for commenting on or criticising the Thai royal family, or ANY royal family, from ANY country.

Don't be the next Harry Nicolaides, Oliver Jufer or Conor David Purcell, and just avoid travelling to Thailand all together.

Remember, obsessive respect for Thailand's American born king is not Thai "culture". It is part of the current military backed junta's political agenda to surpress dissent on the part of Thai people, who are demanding greater democracy.

VICKYFF said...

Thanks for all of your hard work.