How is the culture in Thailand

Thai Way of Life and Culture: What Vacationers Should Know

No matter whether you are planning a vacation in Thailand yourself or want to exchange ideas with friends: sooner or later you will not be able to avoid learning about the culture and way of life of the Thai people.

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Because the mentality differs significantly from your usual European way of life. Here you will find a lot of useful information that will help you on vacation and thanks to which you can stay in have a say in cultural discussions can.

Bowing and wai as mindful gestures of greeting

Overall it is in Southeast Asia it is not customary to shake hands in greeting. Instead, the locals usually greet each other with a bow. Unlike the Asians, it is However, we do not advise holidaymakers to imitate this gesture.

This is because the posture when bowing can vary. Every depth brings expressing a different appreciation. So it makes more sense to the friendly hosts either with a nod of the head or with a light handshake to greet. Many Asians have simply got used to Tourists shake hands in greeting.

The hierarchy is also important with regard to the greeting. It is common practice to put the Greet "senior officials" and the elders. This is followed by equals on a social level, regardless of their gender. Whoever introduces himself always first names the last name and then the first name.

There is a special form of greeting in Thailand. The “wai” is used to say “hello” to each other, to say goodbye and to thank each other. Here, the palms of the hands lie flat on one another while the body leans forward, bowing slightly. In the country, these rules of behavior are still widespread, while the City dwellers often greet them with a handshake.

In general, holidaymakers should also use this type of greeting carefully on an individual trip to Thailand. If you are unsure, people of lower rank should not use a wai, but greet them with a nod or smile.

Happiness and humility are part of everyday life

Have many Far Eastern wisdoms and styles Europeans have already taken over in everyday life. Good examples of this are the widespread Feng Shui harmony theory and the Japandi style. This type of furnishing style picks up on the eastern aesthetics and connects them with it Scandinavian cosiness. The furnishing concept is based on a minimalist basic idea, the is deeply rooted in the Asian way of life. The Southeast Asians understand “less is more” literally by saying find happiness in their humility.

This way of life can be observed in everyday life, especially in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand. This depends, among other things, on the way of life in rural areas together. People live and work together in small villages - often in confined spaces. Above all, it is poorer people who sleep close together in small houses. Although they sometimes earn little money, are they not dissatisfied. On the contrary: many vacationers report retrospectively on the The friendliness and courage of their hosts.

Thais sleep differently

Maybe you will see yourself with one right after you arrive in Thailand faced unusual sleep culture. In fact, many people sleep there in all conceivable (impossible) places and times. Whether in the subway, at work or on the motorcycle: For Asians it is perfectly normal to Napping in public in the middle of the day.

In the Far East is the public short nap socially accepted and recognized. According to the Asian way of life man sleeps as soon as he is tired. This is not a sign of laziness, but of diligence. Asians assume that people who slept during the day were all the more hardworking and active at night. Often stuck too pragmatic reasons behind the short nap. It is convenient for people to be able to fall asleep in any position and in different places. Some “Thais” are used to noise and can consequently, better doze off in a crowd.

So be prepared for the locals when on vacation like to take a nap during the day when there is little to do. It can happen that you have to wake up a taxi driver before you can use his services. Or wake up a sleeping weekly market trader, to negotiate prices with him.

Of course, tourists are also free to do so Acting out sleep culture yourself. So-called power nap lounges can now be found in metropolises like Bangkok. In these localities vacationers or business people can find themselves Relax on the ear in a hammock or massage chair hit.

If you want to be smart, you avoid conflict

Europeans are not contentious, but at the same time they do not shy away from discussions. It is different with the basically friendly-minded Southeast Asians. They prefer to avoid disputes and conflicts as much as possible.

Because in Thailand it is extremely important not to lose face. So it can also be useful for holidaymakers not to get angry when discussing a discussion with locals.

Instead, why not just partially live the way there? Specifically, this means to be interested in the good of the community and to avoid conflict.

Have a smile as often as possible

If German people smile at strangers, this is always a matter of its own. Most strangers find this behavior suspicious at first. The question quickly arises of what the stranger wants from you. When you travel to Thailand, you should act the other way around - and people, smile at whom you happen to meet.

In many Southeast Asian countries, this is not only socially accepted, but also desired. Sometimes Asians simply greet you with a friendly "Hello" without any ulterior motives. Sometimes However, behind the smile there is also uncertainty. Sometimes people smile because they don't know or understand something. In such a situation it is advisable to not to expose them. Because here, too, Asians always want to save face and give their best to strangers.

Marriage has an important place in Southeast Asia. As a vacationer, you should be prepared to be asked about your relationship status in the middle of a conversation. Here it is simply more honest to stick to the truth. A “no” can, however, raise questions, since unmarried men and women in Southeast Asia are not perceived as being as liberal as in Europe.


Thai Wedding and Wat Ton Kain Temple Chiang Mai from

Monks collect alms in Thailand from Kanjanee Chaisin /

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About the author

Stefan has been traveling to the countries of Southeast Asia since 2006 and often spends several months there. In 2013 he founded Fascination Southeast Asia and since then has also written several eBooks and books on the subject (including the insider travel guide “555 Tips for Bangkok”). Between his travels he lives and works in Düsseldorf.

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