Don’t whistle at night and avoid getting angry: 10 things not to do in Thailand

Not eating with a fork, avoiding whistling at night to avoid evil spirits and more- we tell you the things you should not do when in Thailand.

Big golden Buddha statue in Angthong province in Thailand.
Big golden Buddha statue in Angthong province in Thailand. (Shutterstock)

Thailand is one of the cheapest and most attractive destinations in Asia for a holiday and there are a whole lot of experiences to enjoy there.

The world’s 20th most populated country is Asia’s No 1 travel destination with 16 million foreigners visiting it every year. However, there are certain things you need to keep in mind when visiting this beautiful country so that you don’t run into any unnecessary trouble while enjoying your holiday.

Here’s a list of 10 things not to do when in Thailand:

1. Fork off

According to Thai table manners, you should eat off your spoon, not your fork. Eating from the fork is considered unsophisticated in the land of white elephants.

2. Cover up

You should keep your knees and elbows covered while visiting the temples or monasteries. Avoid wearing tank tops, shorts, short skirts or tube tops for these places. In fact, even if you are not visiting holy places, it is a sensible idea to carry something to cover up as you might come across a place you might want to go in and are prepared.

3. Listen, don’t act

If your Tuk Tuk driver seems insistent on taking you to a ‘special’ fashion or jewellery store, you don’t have to go there. The reason he might be doing this is because he’s probably getting a commission from the shop owners for taking you there.


Massage and other multicolored signs on the street of Beach Road, Pattaya. The average price for one hour of oil massage is 300 baht, around 10 dollars. (Shutterstock)

4. No hugging monks

Monks are given a lot of respect in Thailand and women are not allowed to go near them. In fact, monks are not allowed to touch women. If a monk needs to give something to a woman, he doesn’t hand it to her directly and places the object on the ground so that she can pick it up from there. When searching for a seat on a bus, do not sit next to a monk as they are not even allowed to sit next to women.

5. Shoe rules

When visiting someone’s house it is considered respectful to remove your shoes before entering their home. For temples, of course, you need to remove your footwear. This is why sandals are a popular choice for tourists as they are easy to take off and given that you can walk long distances in them.

6. Be careful of your feet

Since feet are considered the dirtiest part of the body, it is considered disrespectful if you point them at anyone. Be mindful of not opening doors with your feet or pointing them towards monks or images of the Buddha.

7. Don’t be disrespectful of the royal family

The king and the royal family are held in high regard in Thailand. So, do not say anything against them or even step purposely on a Thai coin if it falls down as it has photos of the royal family.

8. Don’t take Buddha’s photos out of the country


You are not allowed to take any photos of the Buddha out of the country unless you have special permission. Also, do not get carried away with the whole selfie craze and stand on Buddha statues when taking photos, which is considered impolite.


Beach at Koh Larn island in Pattaya, Thailand. (Shutterstock)

9. Keep your cool

Yes, we understand that you’re not supposed to lose your temper anywhere you are but this applies especially in Thailand. Thais prefer to avoid heated arguments and hence raising your voice is not a good idea when negotiating prices or at other times.

10. No whistling at night

Whistling at night could make Thai people uncomfortable as it is considered to attract evil spirits. They believe it brings bad luck, so don’t start whistling the top Billboard songs when going for that night stroll.


Sea Lion shows at Safari World, Bangkok. (Shutterstock)
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