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Thai etiquette

Krabi Culture | The interesting world of Thai etiquette

It is because Thais are proud people with a rich and long history that you find a complex and well-established hierarchal structure of status that constitutes Thai etiquette. From the Royal family to the common man, Thais follow a stipulated regime of Thai etiquette which gives them a place in society.

The wai is an important part of Thai etiquette

The most important part of Thai etiquette is its greeting where polite Thais initiate the wai on greeting each other. According to Thai etiquette, the wai is a submissive bringing together of hands to the chest or under the nose to show respect to those higher in age or wealth than them. On following Thai etiquette, you find that even on social levels, Thais refer to their elders as 'pii' which means elder sibling.

The suffix 'kha' is used in Thai etiquette to address females while 'khrup' is used to address males in strangers, employers, employees and elders. In addition to this, there is more to Thai etiquette that foreigners have to observe when in Krabi. The most important thing is to avoid losing your temper with the people of Krabi.

Feet are dirty according to Thai etiquette

According to Thai etiquette, feet are dirty and should never be pointed directly to people, or raised. This is another reason why shoes should not be worn in indoor living areas where the head is considered to be sanctified. This is why in Thai etiquette disallows anyone touching one's head, unless by an intimate friend.

As Thais are conservative, Thai etiquette requires that their visitors dress right in formal, public places. In addition to this, they are not that comfortable in showing affection in public this is why holding hands is considered to be taboo by the older generation.

Passiveness is emphasized on in Thai etiquette

The one thing you have to remember in Thai is that though you consider subtleness in voice an indication of one's mood, Thais tend to capture your mood through body language and approach. With Thai etiquette, emphasis is placed on passiveness. Though they are used to the abrupt mannerisms of foreigners, it is better for you to smile and be as gentle as possible.

Thais tend to maintain eye contact when communicating so that you can sit at ease with them. According to Thai etiquette, Thais are very patient and forgiving in nature and are usually happy to accept things as they are. In testing situations, Thai etiquette calls for you to offer a soft laugh while saying 'mai pen rai', a frequent excuse.

Thai etiquette is maintained to maintain one's status

Thai people follow the Thai etiquette of acting appropriately so that their status is maintained or improved in society. They also adore their King and respect the royal family. The present king of Thailand is Highness King Bhumibol, of the Chakri dynasty which is the longest reigning monarch alive.

So gauging by all this, you find that Thais follow a subtle Thai etiquette. This is what may cause some discomfort and irritation to foreigners as they are not aware of all this. However with some reading up on Thai etiquette on the internet or some Thai etiquette books, you will be able to understand Thai etiquette and make your stay much better in Krabi.


Last Updated: 20 Feb 2008