Travelling the world is an enlightening experience. From witnessing cultural traditions that you aren’t used to and embracing the very same in a matter of seconds, to sampling unusual foods that you will never again get to taste in all their authenticity, travelling, especially through Asia, is an exhilarating experience.
Thailand is a country of delightful customs and traditions. Some of them peculiar, some of them endearing. Asian Inspirations demystifies some of these interesting Thai customs.
Ghostly consent: Ages ago, overnight visitors were often requested by their hosts, to ask consent from the Phra Phum (ghosts) for staying over. Before taking their leave, the visitors were also asked to thank the ghosts. Some hill tribes still follow this custom with reverence.
Unopened Gifts: While some cultures encourage an enthusiastic display of gift-opening, Thai culture takes the opposite route. In this country, it is considered rude behaviour to open the received gifts in front of the giver. An unopened gift in company of guests is said to be a mark of respect.
Dining Etiquette: When eating, Thai culture norms dictate that a spoon ought not to be dipped into a bowl directly. It is to slightly touch the contents, but never scoop them up above a certain limit. Usually, noodles are eaten with chopsticks, never with spoons or forks. But on the rare occasion that spoons and forks are used, minimal quantities are lifted off the plate.
Never point a finger: Thai people get easily offended when someone points a finger at them, even if no offence is deliberately intended. So, remember never to raise a hand when you’re conversing with people, especially when you’re addressing monks.
Paying for meals: In Thailand, the host always plays for meals. The number of guests never matters. So, if you’re the guest, never fight for the bill, for it is considered bad manners.
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