Touching Heads, Bangkok

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  • Touching Heads
    by machomikemd
  • Touching Heads
    by machomikemd
  • don't touch the head
    don't touch the head
    by machomikemd
  • theguardianangel's Profile Photo

    Do's and Don'ts in Thailand

    by theguardianangel Written Jan 7, 2012

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    The must Do:

    -dress properly when visiting a temple

    -treat monks with the highest respect

    -try to learn a few Thai phrases




    Don't show disrespect towards the Thai Royal Family

    Don't touch a Thai woman without consent

    Don't touch a Thai person's head or ruffle their hair

    Don't take Buddha images out of the country

    Don't point your feet towards other people

    porcelain pagoda in Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
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  • LoveFamilyTime's Profile Photo

    Little things to keep in mind in Thailand

    by LoveFamilyTime Written Aug 2, 2010

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    Just a couple of quick ones. Never touch a Thai on the top of their head - it is a huge insult. Also, even though the Royal Family in Thailand is almost invisible (unlike Britain) the Thais revere the King and Queen. NEVER deface anything with their image - do not even step on a coin. Seriously, it could put you in jail or fined. The Thais are the nicest people in the world, this is just one little thing that really bothers them.

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  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Heads and Feet

    by machomikemd Written Oct 1, 2007

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    Taboos exist on some parts of the body that have little significance in Western culture. For example, the head is regarded as the highest part of the body and you should never touch another person on the head.

    By contrast, the foot is regarded as the lowest part of the body and you should take care never to point your foot towards anyone. This is an extremely insulting gesture! Try to get into Thai habits of sitting with your feet on the floor or tucked away under you. Even moving objects around with your feet is seen as very uncouth.

    don't touch the head
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  • Linda_T's Profile Photo

    Don't be rude

    by Linda_T Written Aug 5, 2007

    Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body, literally and figuratively. Therefore, touching people on their head is considered rude. In contrast, feet are considered the most degraded part of the body. Thus, using feet to point something to someone is regarded very rude for Thai people.

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  • jerjc99's Profile Photo

    Touching heads - a lot of bunk!

    by jerjc99 Updated Apr 14, 2007

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    Journalists and guide books have written a lot of nonsense about the subject of touching the head of a Thai. The truth is that we don't touch the head of anyone anywhere in the world unless we know them quite well. To do so is an act of over-familiarity. It's no different in Thailand. Sure, for the Thais the head is the most sacred part of the body, but that doesn't mean that you can't ever touch the head of a Thai person of equal or lower rank. In particular, it is NOT considered bad behaviour to touch the head of a child or a baby, so long as your hands are clean.

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  • RoyJava's Profile Photo

    Don't Touch The Head!

    by RoyJava Written Sep 9, 2006

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    In a spiritual as well physical way the feet are the lowest part of the body. That means you better do not put your feet on a table to slouch in a chair. Also donot point your feet to people's direction around you. And Thais believe in the same context (like Indonesians), the head is regarded as the highest part of the body; the most sacred part of the body! So, refrain from touching the head, even not ruffling their hair!

    That's why it is strange to see people (tourists ofcourse ...) touching the head for some luck of the famous fat Buddha statues. Mostly located in museums these images can be in parks, too. I saw locals do touch the feet, or his belly and, preferred to do the same. I really do not know where the luck will come from ... ;-)

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  • keeweechic's Profile Photo

    Thai Customs and Taboos

    by keeweechic Updated Aug 22, 2006

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    Thai people have a number of customs and taboos which the visitor should respect. They are uncomfortable with very public displays of affection between both sexes although holding hands is now more accepted. They also see the head as being literally and figuratively as being the highest part of the body and therefore do not approve of touching the head of anyone.

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  • JaneCajuguiran's Profile Photo

    Head should always be higher than feet

    by JaneCajuguiran Written Mar 18, 2006

    In Bangkok, it is unethical to point your foot on someone. It is also very impolite (actually, rude might be a better term) to have your foot higher than someone else's head. Also, it is customary for anyone to remove their shoes or other footwear when going inside a house, palace or museum.

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  • trisanna's Profile Photo

    Thai etiquette

    by trisanna Written Apr 21, 2005

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    While in Thailand or bangok, you should respect the way other Thais treat each other. Here are a few Thai etiquette tips
    - respect religon
    -respect the King and the royal family. Never say anything that could be construed as criticial about them.
    -the government plays the Thai anthem on every day at 8 am and 6pm. Before all sporting events and movies the anthem is heard. Please stand up for this.
    -Please dress respectively
    -never point toes at a Buddha image
    -women should not approach or talk to monks, unless stated somewhere (like monk chat or they come to you)
    -Don't touch anyone's head
    -Don't pass things with your left hand
    -Always keep cool and never loose your temper. You and the person you are talking to will loose face. Losing face is a major issue in Asia. It's very disrespectual.
    -Don't wear shoes in a long Thai's houe or in a bot (at a wat).

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  • harryboy's Profile Photo

    1. Always greet people by...

    by harryboy Written Aug 26, 2002

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    1. Always greet people by saying sawat-dii khrap if you are a male say sawat-dii kha in case you are a female (Thai people always greet before starting any conversation...)and this is an all purpose greeting(and farewell)

    2. Don't point your feet at people or at things

    3. Don't touch a thai person on head

    4. In temples go neatly dressed (no shorts or sleeveless shirts) and u'll have to take off your shoes to enter the temples

    5. Budhha images are sacred objects , don't pose in front of them for pictures and definately don't touch them

    6. Monks are not to toch and nor touched by females !!!

    7.When in a temple keep your feet away from buddha's image or monks ( see how the monks are sitting in the photo u'll know)

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  • daryll's Profile Photo

    Thais head

    by daryll Written Jun 29, 2006

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body, literally and figuratively. Therefore, avoid touching people on the head, not even as a friendly gesture.

    The guide explain to us...
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