Sawasdee Thailand

The Thais are good-mannered, gracious people, temperate and conscious of the Buddhist doctrine. They are very pound of their country and it is easy for a foreigner to cause offence inadvertently.
The way to make a WAI -- When meeting a Thai, put the hands together as if in prayer and nod slightly, saying sawasdee or more politely, sawasdee-krap to a man and sawasdee-ka to a lady. The position of the hands is supposed to be quite important. They should be placed in front of the chest when meeting a child, against the chin to greet someone of equal status or a very close friend, raised to the level of the top lip for meeting an older person or someone of senior status, and placed against the forehead when paying homage to Buddha or when meeting the King or a monk. Nowadays, however, Thais will place their hands nonchalantly anywhere in font of the face on most occasions.
The nearest translation of sawasdee is probably "Greetings." It can mean "hello," "good morning," "good afternoon," "good evening," or "good-bye." Never forget to return the same gesture if a Thai makes a wai greeting to you
The wai position is also used when making and apology and when expressing thanks.
Keep smiling -- Thailand, often called the "Land of smiles," is no place for a serious face. When meeting Thais, return the smiles. They are part of the conversation.
They may be times when little irritations occur once too often but it is no use getting angry and shouting. Thais will just stare, bewildered, or simply shrug their shoulders muttering mai pen rai (never mind). They always talk in moderate tones, and it is considered illmannered to shout or even to talk loudly.
Apart from smiling, saying a Thai word or two, and talking softly, the next best thing to do, since Thais are proud of their country, is to chat about Thailand. However, there is still plenty of opportunity for an un way farang (foreigner) to upset the new acquaintance.

Clay figure of Thai top knot girls at Bangsai Arts and Crafts Training Centre of H.M. Queen Sirikit of Thailand,
put the hands together as if in prayer and nod slightly, saying "SAWASDEE KAA"


  • Thailand is a Buddhist country where Buddha images are held sacred. Sacrilegious acts are punishable by imprisonment even if committed by foreign visitors.

  • Thails people hold their King and Queen and the Royal Family in great reverence, and so won't tolerate foreigners talking about them in disrespect.

  • Call Thais their first names, not the family names. Use the title "Khun" for adults.

  • Generally Thail women are conservative. So don't touch them without their consent.

  • Dress properly when entering a Buddhist temple. Mini-skirts and shorts are not allowed. Take your shoes off before going inside the hall of worship. Ladies must not on any account touch a Buddhist monk, give things direct to him or receive things direct from him.

  • Don't touch a person's head, nor ruffle his hair. The head is the noblest part of the body. A sincere apology should be offered immediately if you touch someone's head unintentionally

  • Thais believe that the most sacred part of the body is the head (certain other parts are sacred too), so it will pay to observe the following rules scrupulously :

  • Never tab or touch his shoulders.
    Never pass things over someone's head.
    Back-slapping causes offence.
    When seated next to a Thai, do not put your arm across the back of his chair.
  • Just as the head is thought most sacred, the feet are regarded as the least sacred part of the body.
    Consequently :
    Never use your foot to point things out or to touch any part of the body of any one, which is considered rude.
    Never sit with the soles of your feet or toes pointing towards a Thai.
    When seated, never raise your feet or point at anything with the foot.
    Never stamp your feet
    Always remove your shoes bedore entering a home or temple building
  • Intimacies between man an woman should not be shown in the public

  • Thai people smile to express gladness and happiness, to thank for small services, to return the wai (a way of greeting) of children and inferior person, and even to excuse small inconveniences.

  • Information
    : Tourism Authority of Thailand Tourist Service Center
    : Hotels and Resorts in Thailand