When going on a beach holiday, everyone usually takes a luggage full of swimming suits, summer dresses and flip-flops. What about taking “a luggage” of basic knowledge about customs and traditions of the country you are visiting? They say “In Rome do as Romans do”. To have a safe untroubled holiday you have to abide with the country’s rules. To make it easier for you we have made a list of the basic current rules and prohibitions. It includes official laws and restrictions - for breaking those one gets a fine or is taken to prison, as well as unofficial ones - for breaking those one may get punched in the face.
Taking necessary safety precautions will keep you out of trouble on your holiday.
1. You mustn’t show any kind of disrespect to the Royal family. Either it is criticizing His Majesty (the late King or the ruling King) in conversations with locals or giving a crumpled bank note to a shop assistant. The punishment is very strict - 7 years in prison. No indulgence to foreigners in this matter.
2. You mustn’t show disrespect to Buddhism or other religious views of the Thai people. When visiting temples, you must wear the clothes which cover your shoulders and knees. You have to take off shoes before entering the temple.
3. Women mustn’t touch the monks. If you ever have a thought to do it, just get rid of it. It is easier and safer to touch a tiger in the Tiger Park than a monk.
4. You mustn’t raise your voice or show any kind of aggressive behavior when talking to the Thai people. Raising the voice is an insult for the locals. And noone wants to put up with insulting. Never start a fight with a Thai man. After the police investigation you will be claimed the guilty party anyway. At best case scenario you will be fined.
5. You mustn’t stroke the heads of Thai children. Thai people believe that a head of a human is a sacred part of the body through which a person is connected to the universe. When stroking a child’s head, you can ruin this connection and cause the anger of the parents. Check paragraph 4 for the consequences.
6. You mustn’t write a name of a person with red ink or pen. Names of dead people or of those who are wanted to be dead are written with a red color.
7. Besides drugs and arms, It is forbidden to take into the country objects imitating or suggesting the look of genitals, electronic cigarettes, literature or video materials containing pornography. For an owner of any of the mentioned above items Thai prison might become a home for at least a year.
8. You mustn't drink tap water. We strongly recommend to have only bottled water.
9. You mustn’t feed fish in the nature reserves. Last year a Russian woman was caught and got fined for 100 000 THB. We don’t think you want be in her place.
10. Starting with 1 February smoking at the beaches is prohibited. The law doesn’t concern smoking in the streets, hotel territories and other public places. Non-smoking places are marked with warning signs. Before lighting a cigarette have a look around. It is very likely you give up smoking if once fined for 100 000 THB.
Besides strict prohibitions there is a list of “shouldn’t”s. One won’t get a jail sentence for that, but can easily spoil their reputation.
1. You shouldn’t walk around in public places (except beaches) stripped to the waist. Buddhist morals are observed even in the vice city of Pattaya.
2. You shouldn’t use the services of unofficial taxis. As statistics states, tourists are often deceived by illegal taxi drivers. At best case scenario they will ask to pay three times more, at worst case scenario - leave their passenger in an unknown district. Official taxi services value their reputation. And their prices are not higher than the prices of illegal drivers.
3. If a Thai man or woman offers you to try some food, you should never refuse. Even if they are offering you a red pepper extract or you have just eaten, It will be nice if you have a bite and thank them for the treat.
4. You shouldn’t hug Thai people. Hugs are suitable only for very close people.
5. You shouldn’t copy the greeting gesture of Thai people (folded hands touching chest or head). Foreigners do not know all the nuances of Thai greeting and its misinterpreting might cause negative attitude.
If you follow these simple rules, you can make sure your holiday will be nice and safe and full of positive memories and emotions.