10 Things Brits should know about life in Thailand
When contrasted with the UK, Thailand in many ways offers more differences than similarities – and perhaps that’s why Brits are moving there in large numbers. This beautiful country comes with its own mystique, charm; and there is much to know about the Land of Smiles before you visit there.
- Thailand is a Buddhist country, which is very spiritual and also backwards looking in its associations. This culture has a strong part to play in the country’s hierarchical nature and family look up to elders with respect, as well as to ancestors.
- Like all big cities Bangkok is looser in its values and virtues than many of the outer areas and rural parts of the country. However Buddhism is still the prevalent religion here. There are around 8m people in the city of Bangkok.
- Thais greet those who they’ve never met before with a Wai. The Wai is also used to greet after an absence as well as used to show respect to older people, and to show respect in a social situation.
- The King of Thailand is revered and all Thais will show nothing but the upmost respect towards him. They also expect visitors to the country to do the same.
- Never touch anyone in Thailand on the head as it is considered the highest and most important part of the body – a temple if you will. A pat on the head is seen as very insulting and is greeted with irritation and anger.
- Thailand has never been colonised by any European country, unlike most of the country’s that surround it. The Thai people are immensely proud of this fact.
- Do not point your feet at anyone or anything as it is seen as an insult. You should also never step over anyone or any part of anyone and if you walk in front of someone bow your head in politeness.
- Thailand is made up of a number of different ethnic groups, though all of them speak Thai. The Central Thai group are the most renowned and have the most influence on the country’s culture and most other areas now speak in this dialect of Thai. There are a large proportion of Thai people who have descended from Chinese ancestry. This means that many of the country’s cultures in parts can be similar to those of the Chinese.
- Thai people tend to be very respectful towards others even when they may be very irritated. They show an immense amount of patience and aim to calmly and quietly resolve issues. People seldom if ever raise their voice or get angry about situations and try to resolve conflict in an amiable, quite fashion. Westerners should try and do the same.
- The currency of the country is Baht and you should expect to get between 45-50 Baht for one British Pound.