Monday, January 12, 2009

Top 10 Best Ways to Offend Thai People

Just a fun look at unexpected cultural rules you are sure to break if you don’t read this, or something like it, before you come to Thailand:

1. Disrespect the King (don’t stand in honor at 8am, 6pm or before a movie and always make sure to lick that stamp with the King’s image).

2. As often as possible, as blatantly as possible, show everyone the bottom of your feet.

3. On that note, make sure you step over things lying on the ground or floor and especially step over people who might be laying in your way in a hallway, aisle or line.

4. Touch the top of a Thai person’s head as often as possible.

5. When entering someone’s home, do not take off your shoes and make sure to get dust, dirt, sand and muck all over the floor…

6. When entering a temple, don’t take off your shoes and always point your feet directly at a Buddha image (bonus points if you show the bottom of your feet to the Buddha image).

7. If you’re a man, touch a female monk. If you’re a woman, touch a male monk- oh yeah, they love that.

8. Kiss and touch your lover in public – pda, pda, pda!

9. Wear shorts above the knee, tank tops or just go with your bathing suit when you’re not on the beach.

10. Show your outrage publicly when the service, personal comfort or convenience is not the same as at home!

Special bonus advice on how to best offend a Thai person (and hopefully others):

11. Make the already-cheap prices for a Westerner cheaper by taking advantage of the street vendor, server or other representatives of famous Thai hospitality and their non-confrontational personal approach, getting that tuk-tuk ride for $1.50 rather than $2.00 or that fried chicken wing for 30 cents rather than 45 cents…way to go, capitalist, be proud.

Pictures above:

1. A typical meal gathering in rural Thailand or many homes in the cities. Sitting on the floor increases the likelihood that you’ll break the “bottom of the feet” cultural rule – be extra careful.

2. Bugs, like these locusts, are “edible” and usually, um…well, crunchy.

3. Do yourself a favor and just don’t mess with drugs in Southeast Asia!

4. Buddha images are not only found in the many wats or temples, but also in various outdoor locations like this one in the middle of the commercial district of Bangkok – another likely place for visiting tourists to severely disrespect Thai culture simply out of ignorance.

5. Paige celebrated a birthday this past week, so we went to top floor of the Baiyoke Hotel for a buffet and view of Bangkok from Thailand’s tallest building and the 28th tallest in the world. Happy Birthday, Paige.

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