Thailand is a more pleasant place to live if you are aware of certain
practices and cultural norms.

- Do not give your Passport to a rental car company, to hold as security,  
American-based Rental Car Companies,such as Hertz, Budget, etc, do not
ask for your passport..

-  Keep your Passport with you at all times.  Make a copy of your Passport (I
made 2 copies of mine).  If you're ask to show your Passport by a policeman,
and you do not have it with you, you can be arrested.  Spending the night in
a Thai jail in not very pleasant.

-  An international driver's license is required in Thailand to drive a car
(Make a copy). Call
AAA for information on obtaining an Int'l driver's
license.   Ensure that you have a valid driver's license since it's possible
you will be stopped at random police roadblocks.   No International Driver's
License = about 500 Baht fine

If you now live in Thailand, obtain a Thai Drivers' License.  Most places will
accept a Thai Drivers' License in lieu of your Passport

- There is a motorcycle helmet law in Thailand.  Although many Thais do not
wear one, the Police are starting to enforce the law more to cut down on
traffic deaths.  No helmet - pay a fine.

-  Do not speak negatively about the King or the Royal Family.  People have
been arrested for this offence

- Appearance is extremely important in Thailand.  Don't walk around looking
like a bum.  Do not wear shorts in Temples and try to wear shirts with

Do register with your local Embassy when you arrive in Thailand.  US
Embassy   Although it is not a legal requirement, it is a good way to meet  
people and how you can be contacted in case of an emergency.

- Do try and learn some of the Thai language even if it is just the basics  
Learn Survival Thai",  It will make your stay much more enjoyable.

Don't touch any Thai on the top of the head - the head is the highest part
of the body and as such is revered.

-  Don't put your feet on anything (table, chair, etc).  The feet are the lowest
part of the body and are seen as "dirty".  Also, don't point your feet at

-  Entering another person's house, temple, shrine, etc,  with your shoes on
is very bad manners.  If in doubt as to whether you should remove your
shoes, remove them unless you are instructed otherwise.  Or, just ask.

-  Don't show public displays of affection or drunkenness.  Thai's don't like
overt public displays of affection (such as kissing in the street) or
drunkenness.  Although it is unlikely someone will say something to you,
you will have lost their respect without even knowing it.

-  Don't talk politics with Thai's.  First of all they are not interested in your
political view and second, they don't want to put themselves in a situation
where the conversation could turn controversial.

-  Don't "Wai" a child.  Although a Thai will not comment on it, it is considered
inappropiate to Wai children.  (WAI - Thai greeting and show of respect,
indicated by pressing your palms together near your chest and bowing).

-  In major Towns and cities, don't jay-walk.  You will see jay-walking all day
long and the Police rarely enforce it.  But due to rising pedestrian
accidents, they are starting to enforce it.  Fine - about 1500 Baht (about $50).

-  Don't be surprised to find that you are paying for dinner, even if you were
the one invited to dinner.  In Thailand, culture dictates that the most
"Senior" person at the table at least offers to pay for dinner.

-  Please, , "do tip" even if the service is not up to your expectations.  The
wages here are very low and perhaps there was a misunderstanding that
led to your not being completely satisfied with the service.

-  Do "Smile".   Many foreigners walk around here without the common
courtesy to smile (at least say "Good Morning, How are you", (Sawatdee
Kaup) in Thai.  Many Thai's, who are not well off, are smiling and courteous.

-  Do treat the women here as ladies.  If they happen to work in a bar or
giving Thai massages they shouldn't automatically be labeled as prostitutes.

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Don's Life In Thailand
Not Appropiate Attire
Stay Indors
Checklist (Do's and Dont's)