Thailand Tips #8: Do As the Thais Do

I’ve seen tourists at a local Buddhist temple here that are completely clueless about what they’re doing. It’s bizarre to me that some tourists walk into Big C without a shirt like they’re in downtown Pattaya. It’s more bizarre to Thais who don’t know what to say to people that disregard their culture to such an extent as this. The phrase “do as the locals do” means nothing to many of the tourists I see in Krabi on an almost daily basis.

Here’s some help – not because you asked, but because you didn’t…

1. No Thai rides a motorbike without a shirt. You shouldn’t either. In Patong, Pattaya – there are enough visitors doing it that it’s almost become the norm. It shouldn’t have, but since most people visiting those spots are there for the prostitutes and beer, they don’t care all that much about how they act and do as they wish. It’s Thai culture not to say anything so as not to offend you or embarrass you. It doesn’t mean you should do it. Thais will think you’re key nok (bird shite).

2. No Thai EVER will go into a store without a shirt. Nor should you. I’ve seen about a dozen foreigners in Big C and Tesco without shirts. It’s offensive to Thais and it’s like putting a sign on your hairy back that you’re someone that could give a $h!t about the people’s culture you’re temporarily visiting.

3. Being at a Buddhist temple without your shirt is not OK. It’s sacrilege for god’s sake. Would you take your shirt off at the vatican?

4. Touching the Buddhist statues, standing on them, leaning on them, is not OK.

5. Sitting with your feet pointed at the Buddha statues – or at any Thai people is NOT OK. Read something about the culture before you visit.

6. Bikini tops and/or bottoms are not OK at the Buddhist temples or anywhere off the beach. Not in a store. Not on the motorbike.

7. Blowing your nose loudly is not OK.

8. Picking your teeth without covering your mouth with your other hand is not OK.

9. Holding hands, kissing, walking with your hand around your whore’s girl’s waist you just found in the bar after 10 minutes of talk and groping , is not OK.

10. Thais don’t bring their bargirls or barboys home to where they live. Never. They take them to short-time hotels that are usually hidden from the main streets and sometimes even have curtains to hide your vehicle when you pull in.

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.

2 thoughts on “Thailand Tips #8: Do As the Thais Do”

  1. I too am often amazed at how ignorant visitors can be. Even here in Isaan, where there isn’t a beach in Cooeee. I still see farangs without shirts getting about.

    I love the strike out in number 9. I laugh when I see two love birds in one of the seedy parts of Thailand groping his girlfriend virtually in public. I cannot believe that so many will kiss or worse go in for a good ten second snog.

    It just goes to show how far bargirls will go, how much they will disregard their customs to just get a few more Baht out of some dimwit farang.

    1. You have farangs without shirts in Isaan? Wow! That’s news… I’ve not seen that one yet – but then you’ve been there waaaayyyy longer than I have. Isn’t it sad though to see bar girls – what they’ll do for cash… when they come home to Isaan to have their “john” meet the family… the pig that he is… and there they are walking around Big C or Robinson center hand in hand – him 65, sweating, fat and reeking of stink… and her, 19-22 years old covered with tattoos, piercings, make up and clothes that she thinks are all the sudden hip in Ubon. As much ranting as I do about the girls… they’re doing what they can do… and I just wish the guys would wise up to it. It’s outlandish to see guys that’ve been dating girls from bars (different ones) over and over year after year… decade after decade… eventually they kill themselves or worse. So many great girls in Isaan! Not the ones that work in bars in Pattaya, the ones that STAY in Isaan. The ones that never saw the inside of a bar.

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