Culture Of Thailand

Thailand - Culture


Thailand's culture is about more than music and paintings. It arises from a complex system of mutual respect and politeness that binds the country's people together.

Respectfully Yours
Thai culture evolves largely around Buddhism and respect for seniority, whether in terms of age, status or wealth. However, monks receive absolute deference and it is common to see healthy young monks sitting on buses while elderly passengers stand. Seniority has different forms: younger people respect elders, the poor look up to the rich, and common citizens defer to politicians and high ranking military personnel. Seniority in years is sometimes unclear, so Thais often ask a person’s age. With seniority established, the older person may address the younger as nong, and the younger person may address the older as pii.

Paying Your Way
Seniority is complex and involves unwritten obligations. For example, a manager dining with her staff will automatically pay the bill, regardless of the ages of those present. Some visitors find this unfair. A common assumption in Thailand is that foreigners are rich and should therefore pay higher prices than locals; hence the two-tiered pricing system seen at many tourist attractions.

A Wai Goes a Long Way!
A traditional greeting is the wai, made by pressing the fingers and palms together at chest level while slightly bowing the head. The wai serves several functions: saying hello, showing respect to a senior and asking forgiveness. A wai is always returned, unless it is from a child.

Keeping it Inside
Keeping calm is important, and outward displays of anger are unwelcome. People generally overlook minor misdeeds, and even major offences are dealt with as discreetly as possible. Patience is a virtue.


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