Good to know Ė Do's and dont's
In the temple
Show respect! The Thais are happy about your interest in their culture and religion but you have to wear appropriate cloths when visiting a temple. Your shoulders have to be covered and your skirt/trouser has to cover your knees. Some temples have even stricter rules for clothing: no flip-flops and long trousers (for instance the Grand Palace in Bangkok). It is also not appropriate to show affection to your partner when you are in a temple. This is also unusual when being in public.
In some temples signs indicate that it is not allowed to take pictures. Please stick to those rules. Also think about whether the loudness of your voice is appropriate for a temple.
On the market
Thailand’s markets will impress you with shimmering colours. If you are on the market at 6 pm, you will hear the Thai national anthem. Stop walking and pause while the song is being played. This is a way of paying respect to the King. You can observe that the vivid market will stand still for a while.
Please note that smoking and alcohol consumption is prohibited on most markets!
The King and his family are admired and loved all over the country. This admiration is displayed in statues and pictures that you can find everywhere you go. Playing the national anthem on market or standing up in the theatre or cinema before every show, are signs of the respect as well.
Never speak badly of the King or his family; this is a criminal act in Thailand.
Please bring your credit card with pin code for withdrawing money at the ATM. Most of the time there are difficulties with normal EC cards and you need to unlock your EC card for Asia.
To make sure that you will not have trouble at the ATM it is best using a credit card.
On the market and at food stands it is unusual giving tips. When eating in a restaurant or staying in a hotel with good service however giving tips is appropriate. 10% of your expenses are the standard.
Do not come in touch with drugs in Thailand! The possession and consumption of drugs is a criminal offence!
That’s the way it is…
If you are used to western traffic, you will experience the Thai driving style as rather chaotic. Motorbikes and scooters make their way between standing or driving cars, vehicles sometimes pass on the wrong side and the speed limits are rather soft rules. Furthermore, you only have to make use of your seat belt when sitting in the front which is why you sometimes do not even have a choice whether to use it or not (for instance in the back of red taxis). Nevertheless, your Thai driver is used to this kind of traffic and has experience – trust him. Please mind the left-hand traffic!
Of course we have chosen hotels and resorts for you that have a high quality and hygiene standard. Nevertheless, you have to keep in mind that Thailand is located in a tropical climatic zone. Thus, insects are prevalent. You will see geckos, moths, ants and other insects a lot – especially when you book a tour in or near the jungle.
Do not forget your mosquito spray! Although malaria is not common in Thailand anymore, mosquitos can still transmit other diseases for instance dengue fever – and mosquito bites are unpleasant.
Thailand will pamper you with an excellent cuisine and especially the North is famous for its diversified delicacies. In general, you can eat a lot of food without any concern. Nevertheless, you should abstain from mussels, especially if they are offered on the street or on markets.
You should also keep in mind that you cannot expect certain standards or behaviour in Thai restaurants, because some of which you might be used to from back home is just uncommon in Thailand. It is for instance not usual that guests get their meals at the same time. Furthermore, there is no fixed order for serving starters, main dishes and desserts. It can also happen that your meal is not hot anymore but rather tepid when it is served. You should also bring some patience because the working speed is sometimes slow and some waiter/waitresses might have a low level of English.
In tourist areas, international toilets (meaning a toilet with toilet bowl, flush and toilet paper) are common nowadays. Nevertheless - especially when you are travelling off the normal tourist paths - international toilets might not be the standard. You will find traditional toilets for instance when going on a trekking or cycling tour. Thus you should always have some tissues in your backpack / handbag and do not be surprised if you come across such a toilet.