Known for its gorgeous terrain, amazing cuisine and laid back culture, Thailand is the next best holiday destination for you and your friends to have a unique and surreal experience away!
With our range of fascinating facts about Thailand’s customs, traditions and beliefs, you’ll be set to fly on over to the “Land of Smiles”!
There are many traditional customs embodied in Thai culture. Whether it is learning how to greet locals, or what not to do when visiting sacred sites.
- Greet others with the Wai – In Thailand, locals greet each other using the Wai, as a sign of respect. Place your palms together at your chest and bow your head.
- Do not touch anyone on the head – The head is considered sacred, and therefore it is looked down upon to touch someone’s head. It is also disrespectful to point your feet at others.
- Do not mention the king – It is a serious offence to disrespect the king’s name. In fact, it’s best to not talk about the King at all as Thai people can be very sensitive. Don’t stomp on a coin rolling away or a banknote either, as it contains the Kings image.
- Cover up – When visiting sacred temples, wats, monasteries or palaces, it is important to cover up your elbows and knees.
- Gift giving – If you’re planning to give a gift to someone, don’t wrap it in black, blue or green. These colours are used in funerals and associate with mourning. Instead, opt for red, which is an auspicious colour that symbolises good luck.
Thailand is known to be the land of friendliness and hospitality. Foreigners aren’t expected to effortlessly master the complex world of Thai etiquette, however, it is good to have a basic understanding on what is acceptable and what is frowned upon!
- Eat off your spoon, not from your fork – It is considered crude and unrefined to eat directly off your fork. Instead, you should use your fork to push the food onto your spoon. Hold your spoon in your right hand, and fork in left!
- Use your fingers to eat rice – Whether you’re dining at a restaurant or in someone’s house, you should always use your right hand to eat sticky rice – using your fingers!
- Don’t leave any food on your plate – Try not to leave any food on your plate, particularly meat and vegetables from main meals. When finished eating, nestle your spoon and fork together to indicate that you are full.
- Share your food – When eating with a group of people, it is polite to share the range of dishes provided with everyone. Don’t take the whole plate of food either, it’s better to take one-two spoonfuls of each dish at a time.
- Napkin or toilet paper? – In Thai food culture, napkins and toilet paper are basically the same thing. Sometimes you’ll find a piece of toilet paper sitting on your plate – but rest assured, it’s completely fine to wipe your hands with it!
SUPERSTITIONS AND BELIEFS
The Thai people are incredibly superstitious. There is an endless lift of strange, but incredibly fascinating beliefs that to someone from a different culture will find quite unfamiliar.
- Geckos – It is believed that if you hear a gecko before you leave your home, it is a warning that something bad will happen and you should, therefore, stay home.
- No haircut on Wednesdays – Most hairdressers are closed on Wednesday as it is believed to be bad luck to have your haircut that day. This superstition stems back to the royal family who would often get a haircut on a Wednesday, and therefore common people where prohibited to do so.
- Don’t call a baby cute – Legends say that if you say your baby is cute, an evil spirit will hear and snatch your baby away. It is also believed that if a pregnant women attends a funeral, her baby will be haunted by the spirit of a dead person once it is born.
- Ghosts will tell you your next winning lottery numbers – Ghosts are mentioned largely in Thai culture and belief, so much that they are believed to predict your future in the form of lottery numbers. Most of the times it will be the last two numbers, but you must ask the ghost.
7 Thai Street Foods you must try!
Thailand is not only renowned for its breathtaking beaches and culture but also for its mouth watering cuisine.
A common way to enjoy a meal, either alone or with friends, is at the street food stalls. The food stalls are set up along the streets and showcases Thailand’s plentiful and diverse dishes.
After you order your meal, find your dining spot at one of the plastic tables and chairs nearby!
Keep reading to see our top picks for Thai Street Food.
1. Pad See Eiw
Pad See Eiw is a Chinese-influenced dish consisting of flat rice noodle stir fried in dark soy sauce and light soy sauce. Chinese broccoli, egg and either chicken, pork or beef is also added to the dish.
2. Thai Roti
Thai Roti has a Muslim origin but is a staple with street food vendors. The flat bread is commonly eaten as a dessert as it is filled with bananas, condensed milk and even chocolate.
The main objective for the food vendors is to flatten the Roti as much as possible. Order one and watch as they flatten it and fill it up with your favourite toppings!
3. Khao Niew Ma Muang
Also known as Mango Sticky Rice, this Thai dessert is made with glutinous rice, fresh mango and coconut milk. The rice absorbs the coconut milk, leaving behind a mild sweet taste.
This dessert is also consumed in other parts of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia!
READ MORE: Explore Koh Samui, Thailand
4. Kluay Tod
You might mistakenly identify Kluay Tod as fried chicken!
This snack is deep fried mini-bananas, coated in a flour batter mixed with coconut and sesame seeds. Eat it fresh or at room temperature – either way is delicious!
5. Luk Chin Ping
Luk Chin Ping is Thai meat balls prepared on bamboo skewers. The juicy meatballs are tossed into several herbs and spices and grilled right in front of you!
The result? A smokey taste.
6. Pla Muek Yang
Thai grilled squid skewers can be found at just about every food market place in Thailand.
The road side favourite is served with Thai hot sauce so be cautious if you’re not a lover of spicy foods.
7. Kai Jeow
Kai Jeow is a Thai style omelet served over rice.
Being one of the easiest and cheapest dishes you can order, Kai Jeow is prepared differently from its Western counterpart. The egg is deep fried in oil and fish sauce, and topped with fresh chilli or chilli sauce. The outside should be golden and crispy, while fluffy on the inside!