Thai Culture – What to Know When Visiting Phuket

July 1, 2019
The Nai Harn

Every country has certain customs that everyone, including both locals and tourists alike, needs to conform to. In Phuket, there are a number of behaviors that are frowned upon. While some of the customs can be casual, others are more serious and should be avoided at all costs. If you have been living in Thailand long enough, then you might already be aware of those rules, including the unspoken ones. However, if you are new to the country and unfamiliar with the customs, then you should really start learning about them now. Listed down below are some of the things that you absolutely need to avoid doing when visiting Phuket:


1. Do Not Show Disrespect Toward the Royal Family

In Thailand, the Royal Family is highly respected. This means that if you happen to show any sign of disrespect, whether intentionally or unintentionally, you could be facing serious consequences. If you have never been to Thailand before, you may be very surprised to see that everyone stands up before the movie starts at the cinema. Also, the national anthem plays in the streets of Bangkok and Chiang Mai at 8 am and 6 pm, and everyone has to stop what they are doing and stand still. Make sure that you stop walking as soon as the national anthem begins to play.


2. Do Not Wear Shoes Inside a Temple

When you visit a temple in Thailand, you will see that there are a lot of shoes in front of the temple. Thai people walk barefoot inside their house because they don’t want to bring the dirt from the outside to the inside. That is because many Thai people sit and even eat on the floor. Some shops may even request that you take off your shoes before entering as well. Therefore, make sure that you read the sign or look in front of the shop to see if there are shoes. If so, leave your shoes outside the shop.


3. Do Not Wear Revealing Clothes When Visiting a Temple

Temples are religious places, and you should dress appropriately to enter such places. However, there are still many tourists who still visit a temple with short shorts and sleeveless shirts. Make sure that you respect the place by wearing pants, a dress, or a skirt that reaches knee level and a shirt with sleeves when visiting a temple. Be sure to take off your hat as well. While only a few temples such as the Grand Palace in Bangkok enforce this dress code, you should always show your respect as there are monks living on temple grounds.


4. Do Not Take Buddha Images or Statues Outside of the Country

Remember, Buddha images and statues are religious items, not decorations. Unfortunately, many travelers are still oblivious to this fact, buying these items as souvenirs to bring back to their home country. If any of these unregistered Buddha items are found in your luggage at the airport, they will be confiscated.


5. Do Not Touch a Monk

Never, ever touch a monk. This custom is how it has always been and you should not violate it. If you see a monk walking down the street, be sure to step aside respectfully.


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