Etiquette & Culture

Instead of shaking hands, Thais sometimes place their palms together and raise their fingertips level with the chest or face, a form of greeting called the wai. The exact position of the hands depends on the status, relationship, and many other factors of the person they are greeting. Visitors don't need to wai waitresses, doormen or other people who wai you as part of their job.

Buddhist culture is an intrinsic part of many Thais' life, and shoes should be removed before entering someone's home or a temple The Thai Royal Family is regarded with an almost religious reverence. Visitors should respect this - in fact it is a criminal offence to make critical or defamatory comments about the King or other members of the Royal family. This offence is punishable by a prison sentence of 3 to 15 years or even longer.

By law, tourists are expected to carry their passports with them at all times, and there have been incidents where tourists have been arrested because they were unable to produce their passport.

Possession of even very small quantities of drugs such as marijuana can lead to imprisonment. Amphetamines, ecstasy and heroin are all regarded as class A drugs; possession of 20 grams or more will normally attract the death penalty.