During your stay in Phuket, you should be aware that Thai social culture is quite different to the more direct European and Western style. Thai beliefs, norms, values, and etiquettes are also a little distinctive from other Asian countries. Some following points of etiquette will be important for making your stay in Phuket safe, interesting, and possibly a little less stressful.
Thais are more cordial, tolerant, and hospitable than most Nations. The people of Phuket shake hands a little it depends on their time in Phuket and their level of exposure to westerners. If they are comfortable with a handshake they will usually offer their hand first to westerners. They will usually and most often welcome you with the traditional Thai ‘Wai’ the custom of greeting or showing respect with two palms and fingertips together in front of the face while making a small bow.
A nice big smile is also a great way to win a heart, to get a smile back, or to diffuse a tense situation.
Foreigners should not Wai first because you are a guest. If a Thai person Wai you first, you can reply with a Wai, or a smile and a nod is most acceptable. If you Wai first, they will understand and giggle to welcome you.
About Thai Royal Family
Thai people have a deep traditional reverence for the King, Queen and the Royal Children.
As a visitor, you should also show respect to the Thai Royal family.
Don’t disapprove of the Thai monarchy or make any fun publicly about The King or any member of Royal Thai family. Don’t criticize the Government of monarchy as well as political affairs.
In Thailand, there are strict Lesse Majesty laws.
The national religion of approx. 90% Thai people is Buddhism. Respecting their religious activities and dressing appropriately at temples and cultural centers are expected. Dress in a proper way when entering a temple or a religious shrine.
You should not dress (also including see through dresses) in such a way that shows your bare arms, legs, belly, and thighs. Crop tops, hot pants, bikinis, and bathers are prohibited at temples, and shrine and are most unwelcome well in public places like supermarkets/shopping centres. Beach attire is preferably kept to the beach and areas very close to the beach.
Head and Feet
The Head being the upper part of the body is spirit essence to Thais. Touching someone’s head is disrespectful and not likely to be well accepted. On the other hand, feet, the lowest part of the body, are not well regarded. Never direct someone by pointing with your feet and if possible try not to show the soles of your feet. If you have an injury and cannot sit on the floor with your soles hidden just apologise “Kawtawt” (my core is taught) and mention it and any affront will immediately be forgiven.
The Buddha is a religious role model in Thailand, so please observe all likeness of Buddha respectfully. The Buddha Sculpture may be small, big or partly broken; it does not matter. Buddha Sculptures are considered a holy object, and deserve respect.
Don’t climb on any sculpture of Buddha and never do any activity that shows your negligence.
Monks are religious persons; Women should not touch Buddhist monks, or Monks should not receive anything directly from a women’s hand. Any offering can be placed down for the monk to take but not passed directly by hand.
On temple premises, you can walk in your shoes. But you should shoe off before entering a temple or a shrine. This custom also applies to homes and also to many less public shops.
Irritation and shouting
Thailand has never been colonised. Thais have no understanding or acceptance of the more confrontational and direct western style.
Thai people prefer a smile rather than aggressive behaviour. Tolerance is more appreciated than an annoyance.
Try to be calm if any unpleasant situation arises. Shouting is not desirable from a tourist. Any bad situation will remain under control if you are quiet and thoughtful. Don’t get excited with drivers on the roads. Horns are only used as a warning device tooted briefly.
Topless on the beach
It is illegal to be topless in public places. Thailand as a very tolerant society has not, for the most part, made too many objections to topless bathing on tourist beaches. But it would be incorrect to mistake this tolerance as acceptance.
Thai nationals consider it simply as bad taste and a low standard of behaviour. It would be better to save topless activities for the more tolerant beaches of Europe. Dressing properly is the most respectful way to travel anywhere in Phuket.
In Phuket, many hotels and resorts offer the opportunity to enjoy special romantic moments with your loved one, as they can offer gorgeous romantic accommodation, beach dining and many forms wedding and social activities. There are nightclubs aplenty and bars are also available to enjoy local female companionship and drinks. Patong Beach nightlife acts as the most vibrant entertainment preference you that cannot be missed.
But any obscene and offensive behaviour outside or in public is strongly forbidden at all times, and is punishable by law. So don’t be crazy in public, and enjoy your holiday.
Your personal items
Be careful with your personal possessions, the same as anywhere in the world. Life is tough without your passport and they are not so easy to replace these days so guard it carefully.
Credit card fraud is often experienced be careful at ATMs that there are no unusual attachments added to the machine
You can use safe deposit box at your hotel for valuable items or keep them in a secure place.
When planning to visit Phuket, you should learn about Thai culture and the expected behaviour for a great relaxing holiday in the “land of smiles.” Remember, Thais are very cordial and accepting of tourists, but you should not do anything that conflicts with their culture, as it will at times not be well received and cause more trouble than you were counting on.