Thailand Culture Guide
Thai Culture, Customs & Etiquette
An amazing tropical paradise, Thailand doubles as a bargain hunter’s dream with its cheap shopping options. Thailand boasts beautiful beaches and islands, friendly people, delicious Thai cuisine and surreal Buddhist culture with everything laid out to make your trip simply amazing!
Thailand has for many years been the go-to destination for South Africans travelling to the Orient. It is one of the few places where South Africans can travel visa free!
If you are planning a Thailand holiday, you no doubt have seen colourful pictures of beaches, markets and temples. These are all important elements of your trip, but Thai culture extends way beyond visiting a temple or two.
Thais are patriotic, fiercely loyal to their king and lastly, deeply spiritual in this predominantly Buddhist country.
To kick off - all visitors to the capital should take a city tour of Bangkok which includes the Grand Palace, The Temple of the Golden Buddha and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. The latter houses an immense reclining Buddha which is gilded and no less than 46 meters long. It is of paramount importance to show the utmost reverence when visiting temples. Always dress modestly and ladies should cover their shoulders. Cameras are allowed but visitors should speak in hushed tones and selfies are discouraged indoors.
Like all big cities Bangkok also has a selection of fascinating museums: The Bangkok National Museum which houses Thai art and history in a former palace; The Jim Thompson House Museum which is a must for decorators and lovers of silk and linen fabrics; The National Gallery of art housed in the former Royal Thai Mint, to mention a few.
One of the favourites is the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre which is a contemporary arts centre with exhibition space for art, cinema, theatre and performances. The centre boasts dramatic architectural features with internal balconies under a domed ceiling. An interesting museum for keen aviators is the Royal Thai Air Force Museum with a well curated collection of rare aircraft and other wartime artefacts.
Another form of culture that should be investigated is Thai dancing. The best place for this is Siam Niramit for dazzling cultural shows with exquisite costumes which will be enjoyed by many of all ages. These performances are not restricted to Bangkok but can be found around the country. The most popular dance show in Phuket is Fantasea which is dance extravaganza of breath-taking proportion. Your evening includes dinner, a recreated shopping street and the spectacular show.
In Thailand food is an integral part of the culture. The best way to immerse yourself in Thai cuisine is to join a one-day cooking course which teaches the basics of this delicately perfumed cuisine. Most Thais shop for fresh ingredients at open markets which are dotted around the city with the larger markets on the outskirts of the city but easily reached on the MRT train.
For an authentic dining experience stroll through one of the hundreds of street markets where ingredients are displayed on beds of ice to ensure freshness and once you have made your choice the meal is prepared and served at plastic tables and chairs on the pavement. Top dishes include Tom Yum Goong (a spicy shrimp soup), Pad Thai (Thai noodles) or Tom Kha Kai (chicken coconut curry).
Needless to say, there are many more cultural experiences for you to enjoy so get to Thailand and have fun immersing yourself in a wonderful, enriching experience with a fantastic Thailand holiday package.