Thailand’s proximity to Cambodia and Myanmar has played a key role in influencing Thai Culture, thereby enriching the elements and practices present today.
Commonly referred to as the ‘Land of a Thousand Smiles’, it is the warmth of the Thai people that endears travellers to the rich culture of the locals. With its great diversity, Thailand is an amazing cultural experience for everyone.
Thailand Culture, Customs, Religion & Traditions
Interestingly, whilst the people of Thailand are united as a country, many travellers find it fascinating that the four distinct regions of the country have different cultural systems, each region unique in its own way.
Northern Thailand for instance, is bordered by Laos and Myanmar, and therefore borrows heavily from the rich culture of the Burmese people. The Lanna Kingdom also has strong influences in this part of Thailand. Central Thailand is an eclectic fusion of the various cultural practices across Thailand as well as subtle modern influences to create an interesting aspect of the Thai people altogether.
Much of Thailand culture is hinged on Buddhism as this is the country’s main religion. These cultural aspects have embraced respect, calmness and self-control and it is expected that visitors take up these values as well when touring the country.
Generally, emotional gestures and responses are frowned upon, little wonder that the locals are seemingly always smiling. Respect for the elderly as well as those in senior positions is expected across the country. In an interesting twist, the concept of Sanuk is prevalent in Thailand. This involves maintaining a fun outlook and sense of humour, making Thailand a delightful destination.
When visiting a Wat (temple), ensure you are wearing appropriate clothing: shorts or skirts that fall below the knee and no singlets, some people wrap a sarong around their waist if they do not have appropriate clothing. Also, do not point, as this is considered rude. Whilst viewing a statue of Buddha, do not point or turn your back on the statue. It is also considered rude to show the soles of your feet to the Buddha. Most places will also require you to remove your shoes when entering the place of worship. But most of all, keep your voices low and do not disturb those in prayer.