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Thailand Travel Information: Thai Customs

Thai national customs are important as they are the embodiment of the chief characteristics of the nation.


National Customs

One of the prevalent customs among Thai people is the way of greeting called "Wai" It is done clapping one's hands together with all fingers pointing straightforward, and raising them up at about the chest level while blending one's head down towards them at the same time. While performing a "Wai", one says "Sawasdee", meaning "Good morning" or "Good evening" This action shows respect, humbleness, friendliness to each other, especially to the elders. Apart from being used for greeting, "Wai" can be performed to express thankfulness or the equivalent to an English word "Thank you". When someone shows us respects by a Wai, we should do the same to that person. The performance of Wai is one of the graceful Thai courtesy which represents the sweet, gentle, and friendly nature of Thai people. With such a nature, Thai people are then well-known for the tolerance and hospitality.

The other custom that differs from that of the Western societies is the social hierarchy. Social ranking is an important element for all social interaction. Age, social connections, lineal descent, earning, and education are the principal consideration for social conduct. It may be surprising for the Westerners when receiving questions like "How old are you?" or "How much do you earn?" even in the first meeting. Note that it is a form of smooth talk or simple curiosity rather than an invasion of privacy.





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