Rules of conduct and laws of Thailand for tourists

Your behavior in Thailand must be correlated with the laws and regulations established in this country. If the laws as a whole correspond to the trends in the legislation of Western countries, then the unwritten rules have a traditional cultural code that is not intuitively understandable for foreigners. In order not to look at least stupid and awkward, and, moreover, not to conflict with the laws - questions about the rules of conduct, how to dress in Thailand, you need to take care of in advance.


  • Bribe to an official
  • Use of sexual services
  • drugs
  • The police are not on the side of the farangs
  • Respect for the king, his family and power
  • Respect for religion
  • Customs
  • Rules of conduct in Thailand
  • How to dress in Thailand

To many, Thailand seems to be a territory of conditional freedom in which you can drive a car while intoxicated, have sex with local beauties or handsome men, and use drugs. This is not true.

600*90 Bribe to an official

Thai laws are harsh. Although their severity is largely offset by the selective way they are performed. However, vacationers should have an idea of what cannot be done in this country. A tourist who violates local rules is always interesting for the police, first of all, with the opportunity to get money from him.

bribe in thailand

If we take into account that giving a bribe in Thailand is one of the most serious crimes, then entering into corrupt contact with a representative of the authorities takes the tourist into a paradoxical reality with an uncertain scenario.

Use of sexual services

Thai reality is extremely ambivalent. Take, for example, the well-known fact that Thailand is the world's sex tourism hub, providing a variety of recreational opportunities. However, prostitution is prohibited by law. For sex with a Thai or a Thai who has not reached the age of majority, a prison sentence with a fine is provided. And this is by mutual agreement. At the same time, it is rather problematic to visually determine the age of Asians in the group of 15-30 years.


When it comes to drugs, Thailand is a typical Asian country. Perhaps more civilized than the surrounding neighbors, but, nevertheless, this is not Europe and not the USA. Despite the fact that the region where Thailand is located is one of the two traditional centers for the cultivation of opium poppy, and hallucinogenic mushrooms grow in the local jungle, all drugs, both plant-based and synthetic, are prohibited. For their use, the law establishes prison terms. For transferring to someone, punishment is provided up to the death penalty.


At the same time, the duality of Thai reality noted above is fully manifested in this plane as well. Drugs are sold on the streets almost freely and almost any, including purely Western ones: amphetamine derivatives, cocaine and LSD. At the same time, everyone, including the police, is aware of what is happening.

The police are not on the side of the farangs

Although this is not a law, but the unspoken rule is that in any controversial situation from the point of view of the law, officials (police, judges) never take the side of a foreigner.

Respect for the king, his family and power

Disrespect for the king, expressed, including his image, to members of the royal family, to the power of the king is a criminal offense.

king family

This law best emphasizes that, despite the constitution and parliament, Thailand is a modern Eastern despotism, and Thai values are very far from those of Western democracies.

Respect for religion

The laws of Thailand require respect for religious objects and worshipers. There are certain restrictions on what can and cannot be done in temples. For committing gross violations of ethical standards - insulting the statue of Buddha, other symbols, climbing on religious buildings and objects, vandalism - punishment is provided in the form of a fine and / or prison.


The customs clearance rules in Thailand are identical to those in other countries.


However, there is some specificity in the work of Thai customs. For example, there is a restriction on the import of tobacco (200 cigarettes) and alcohol (1 liter). Random checks are practiced. Travelers with pets must submit vaccination certificates.

Thailand Customs does not allow the export of the following items and valuables:

  • images of the Buddha, incl. fragments;
  • gold bars, precious stones, platinum jewelry, antiques without a special permit (license);
  • works of art (not souvenirs), as well as their copies require permission from the Department of Fine Arts.

A complete list of items prohibited for export can be found in the article: what can not be exported from Thailand.

Rules of conduct in Thailand

The dominant qualities of Thais in interpersonal communication are restraint (keeping calm) and goodwill (positivity). This is what they are taught, first of all, by their religion. A tourist should behave appropriately and observe the following rules of conduct in Thailand:

  • address Thais by name with a restrained smile;
  • when referring to adult Thais, it is customary to add "khun";
  • always thank for the help or service rendered;
  • try to avoid touching Thai people with hands, hugs and other ways of expressing joy;
  • women should not be touched without their consent;
  • children should not be stroked on the head (this way you can “frighten off” luck);
  • if you accidentally (for example, in transport) touched someone's head, you should apologize, because. to do so is extremely indecent;
  • When the national anthem is played in public, it is customary in Thailand to stand up.

What not to do in public places:

  • make noise and shout;
  • violently express emotions;
  • sit with your legs on the table;
  • demonstrate closeness in relationships (kissing, hugging, etc.);
  • be completely naked on public beaches (there are special beaches for nudists).

Do's and Don'ts in Religious Places:

  • everything that is not allowed in other public places (see above);
  • in temples and monasteries - to pass in shoes;
  • be with bare shoulders, stomach (should be dressed);
  • in monasteries - to be in shorts (you need to at least wrap yourself in a towel);
  • to be above the images of the Buddha - in some temples everything is very small, incl. and statues: in these cases, in order not to break the rule, one should bow or crouch;
  • point at something with a finger;
  • sitting down in temples and other places of religious significance - there are rules in this regard, but in order not to get confused, it’s easier not to sit down at all.

Separately, it should be said about the Thai gesture of greeting / gratitude "wai" - palms folded to each other at chest level, head or above the head. The multilevel nature of the gesture correlates with the status and age of the person being greeted: the higher the hands are folded, the more respect the greeter shows.


It is acceptable for tourists to do without the “wai” greeting. often it is done incorrectly and out of place, which looks comical. A simple head bow will suffice. If you want to follow the Thai tradition, then follow 3 rules:

  • never do wai first;
  • always answer "wai" at the same level at which you were greeted (with the exception of monks - they should always be greeted with hands held high);
  • you should not mark "wai" on the "wai" received from the child - in this case, the correct answer is a smile.

We repeat: if the farang does not make “wai”, then this will not be an insult, because. everyone understands that a foreigner is a bearer of a different cultural tradition.

How to dress in Thailand

For tourists, it is not necessary to follow the Thai canons of clothing. The main restrictions on appearance are imposed when visiting religious sites (see above), incl. within the excursions.

Outside the beach and beach establishments, it is considered incorrect to appear with an open torso. However, this is a general rule that applies to all cities in the world and is not specifically Thai. An exclusively local rule is the requirement to be behind the wheel in clothing that covers the upper body. Otherwise, how to dress in Thailand is a matter of personal preference and weather conditions.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *