Thailand is much more than Bangkok and Phuket, as you can see
from this map, courtesy of www.wikipedia.com. There are many
famous places in Thailand and they are all worth visiting. But
the real beauty of Thailand is its people. Thailand is known
as the Land of Smiles and this is certainly true, even when
things are really bad the Thais are smiling.
Thailand is largely Buddhist, with a large Muslim population
in the south near Malaysia. This area has been the site of much
unrest recently including bombings and shootings so only go
there is you have to and only on an organised tour. The rest
of Thailand is very safe as long as you follow the normal rules
of safety and security. Don’t be fooled by the smiles,
Thai criminals are as, if not more, mercenary and violent as
There are some basic do’s and don’ts in Thailand
which will earn you the respect of the locals if you follow
Always show respect for older people, they have lived long and
must have wisdom to do so, and one day we may all be old too.
If attending a function with elders, always allow them to be
served, fed and catered for first, and greet them first too.
Always carry ‘Beggar Money’, a few Baht here and
there will get you a kind smile and you may even get some credit
in the karma bank. As a rule don’t give to the traffic
touts or the maimed baby beggars, these tend to be organised
touts and usually a front for pick-pockets, so walk fast and
hold on to your valuables.
Never touch a Thai on the head; Never show the soles of your
feet or point with them.
Books contain much wisdom so always treat them with respect
as well, don’t stand on a book or deface it, you will
horrify your hosts, guests or colleagues with this action.
The King is revered to a level many westerners would never understand,
never say anything derogatory about him, never step on a bank
note, it has the Kings picture on it.
Don’t feel obliged to do the ‘wai’ which is
the traditional Thai greeting with the hands in a prayer like
pose. Unless it is done correctly it is not appreciated. Use
your own traditional greeting, or just nod your head and say
Hello or Thank You.