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Adapting to Thai Culture

05 February 2014

Our Thai students know and understand their country, but for those who are from other countries, part of the satisfaction of living here is learning how this fascinating culture works. Here are a few handy hints from staff in the boarding houses - but it’s advice which is just as useful for day-students. When you arrive, your new Thai friends will be here to help you too.

  • Loy Krathongs floating in water
  • It is important in Thai society to show respect for the King and the Thai royal family. Not to do so is against the law! Monks and older people should also be respected. You can learn the proper form of traditional greeting from your Thai friends. If you are invited into a Thai household, make sure you impress everyone by showing the right level of respect to the parents of your friend.
  • Clothing for girls should not be revealing. Low cut or semi-transparent tops, short skirts, short shorts and clothes that do not meet in the middle are all likely to result in a request that you change into something else. Swimsuits should be one piece and not cut high at the hips.
  • Body piercing has very negative connotations in Thailand and students are not allowed any form of piercing other than earlobes.
  • Attitudes towards relationships between pupils are quite different to those in many European, American or Australian cities and any visible close relationship between boys and girls can be difficult. It is better if boarders do not become girlfriend and boyfriend, but keep things on a less intimate level.
  • In Thai culture feet are considered the lowest part of the body and shoes are also unclean. Take off your shoes to go into temples or someone’s house. Don’t step over people sitting on the floor and don’t sit pointing the soles of your feet at other people. Do not touch other people’s heads, and never lose your temper. All of these are bad manners.