Do & Don't While in Pattaya
Buddhism in Thailand - Even in Pattaya
When it comes to religion, Thailand is overwhelmingly Buddhist, and many traditions reflect that. Whenever you enter a temple, cover up. Every sacred place requires you to remove your shoes before entering, and some temples provide clothes so you don't go in showing any leg.
It's generally okay to take photos inside the temples.
Monks in Thailand
Monks are a strict bunch, and live by an equally rigid set of rules. If you're a girl don't even think about touching them - they're supposed to have entirely pure thoughts - and ladies can't pass anything directly to a monk; it has to be touched by a man first. If the monks are sitting down, then try and ensure you're not standing or sitting higher up than they are.
Feet are a big thing. They're regarded as rather dirty, what with their being on the ground so much, and so Thais make a point of not pointing with them. Showing the sole of your foot to anyone is the equivalent of flicking someone the finger back home, and so is best avoided.
Thailand is Generally an Extremely Safe Place
But things are a changin'. And, as with every other big city, there are some people who are more than happy to ruin your holiday. These tips and advice will help ensure your trip is trouble-free:
- Always lock your hotel room and keep valuables in a safe where possible
- Don't carry more cash with you than you will need
- Avoid walking along the beach late at night
- Never agree to go with anyone offering to sell discounted jewellery - it's a con!
- Expect to pay more than the locals for rides in the vans that run around town
- Do not take any drugs here - Thais have the death penalty for those who disobey
- If you rent a vehicle then be careful, Thais rarely pay attention to road rules!
Thai Royal Family
While the Royal Family in Britain may be regarded as having questionable benefits, a similar remark about the Thai version could land you in jail. Its a criminal offence to say anything nasty about His Majesty.
There are bank holidays for his birthday, the Queen's birthday, the Princess' birthday; and all cinemas play a video homage to him before the main presentation (and yes, you have to stand up along with everyone else).
A guy in a bar was once attacked due to an inadvertent indiscretion. He had bought a beer and, in paying for it, produced a handful of coins from his pocket. Some of this shrapnel went flying and as he tried to stop them rolling away he put his foot out and stamped on a few.
The locals, seeing a tourist merrily using the sole of his foot to stamp on coins, which show the King's head, promptly went over and attacked him.
Eating in Thailand
Eating is a huge part of Thai culture and every meal is an event. As with many Middle and Far East countries, the left hand is a no-no. As it's used for your ablutions it's regarded as dirty, and so Thais will normally just use their right hand to eat. As a foreigner you will probably be excused for your lack of dignity, but if you want to eat like the locals then just use your right.
Thai people smile - a lot. They do it when they're happy, they do it when they're not, they do when they say hello, and they even do it if they're arguing.
Don't raise your voice to anyone, as you'll just look like the ignorant, uncultured tourist you really are.