Like any other country in the world, Thailand has its own traditions and customs, and whether you have never been to this spectacular country before or you are a regular visitor, you will soon notice that things here are different to what you see at home.
In Thailand, there are a couple of golden rules one must observe: one is to never touch a Thai person on the top of the head.
The head is the most sacred part of the human body to Thai’s, this is where the spirit is present, the feet on the other hand, so to speak, are at the lowest part of the body and must never be used to point at or touch things.
Also, it is a wise practice not to point your feet on from under the table you are eating at and it even less tolerated to stick your feet on the table, in fact it is best just to keep your feet to yourself and tucked away.
You may have noticed if you have been to Thailand before, almost every shop, office, guest house and restaurant has shoes outside.
Many hotels will hope if not expect you to leave your shoes outside the room you are staying at. When staying at the larger hotels this is not always necessary, however, you will notice that any member of staff that may enter your room will first remove their shoes.
One of the most important places to respect this rule is when visiting Thai temples, it is expected that you take off your shoes, there will be signs reminding you to do so.
If you are walking around the grounds of the temple, then its fine to protect your feet, however, when you go to step inside the temple just leave them on the steps, especially if there are images and statues of Buddha.
Actually this is a very good opportunity to observe the locals and take the ‘do as they do’ practice. You should notice the way in which Thai people pray, which is usually in a seated position with the feet tucked well out of the way and pointing in the complete opposite direction to Buddha.
If taking your shoes off to enter a shop or home is important, you can see how removing the shoes are especially important when visiting holy shrines and temples. Pointing the soles of the feet at any Buddha image or monk is extremely rude in Thai culture and you can expect ramifications.
Thai women usually adopt the ‘mermaid’ posture whilst men simply kneel, but you can do whichever you find more comfortable. The important thing is not to point the soles of your feet in the direction of the Buddha image.
Another very important thing to remember, never step over a Thai person especially near their head Mind Your Feet.
Thai people like to eat many meals while sitting on the floor. Where they sit together and share their food and chat about the day. If you ever find yourself in this situation, it is best not to point your feet at anyone and never point your feet at the food.
When getting up off the floor try your best not to step on anyone or step over the food or plates -as walking around is always the wisest, if not the longest way.