As Thailand modernised there was a danger that traditions would be forgotten. It was hardly likely to happen in the more remote regions but the cities and coastal resorts now receive a significant number of tourists from abroad; the infrastructure has developed to cater for them and that inevitably brings about change. Fortunately, Thai people understand their past and the things of real value. Tourists enjoying Thailand tour packages will see that as they enjoy their Thailand holiday.
The culture includes the greeting, known as the wai. People greet usually with their hands as in prayer and take their leave in the same way, sometimes with a slight bow of the head and smile. Thailand is often described as the ‘’Land of Smiles.’’ This form of greeting is something that originates from the Indian subcontinent. Overt displays of affection are not common in Thai society so the greeting is as far as it goes in some ways yet the younger generation are slowly changing.
Thai people have different attitudes towards the head and feet. It is regarded as rude to touch anyone’s head and likewise to show anyone the soles of your feet which you may inadvertently do when sitting on the floor cross-legged. These are basic things that everyone intending to go on an Indochina travel package needs to understand about all the countries in South East Asia.
Conflict should be avoided; it is part of Thai culture (sanuk in Thai expresses the idea that life should be fun). It is important to each individual not to lose face and hence when bargaining you should be careful not to try to get too much discount; better to walk away in the end.
Monks have a special status. They are not allowed physical contact with women, accidental or otherwise. Likewise, monks will likely sit on a raised platform because ordinary people must keep their heads below that of the monk.
Thai folklore varies by region but of course many have moved from rural areas and hence regional traditions have moved into the mainstream of Thai culture. Traditions were always passed down from generation to generation though of late much has been recorded properly.
The phram, more widely known as a shaman, is the most important person in the village; he performs rituals, exorcisms, healing as well as marriages. People believe they need protection for bad luck and as such they buy charms and amulets. There are even those who get tattoos and indeed multinational companies may have a ‘’good luck image’’ in their receptions while taxis and trucks will have some charm inside. Such things are kept in homes as well; origins may be in China but they are very much Thai now.
Thai people are superstitious; dates, lucky numbers, days for doing particular things, shape of the moon and colours, all small yet important things in life. Their folklore gods are also important and if you are on a Thailand private tour you may come across an event that does not relate directly to Buddhism.
• Nang Kwak is a goddess that brings good luck to businesses and an image is almost always kept in their premises.
• Phi Fa is an old god inIsaan folklore.
• Phosop is the traditional rice goddess of Thailand. She is given regular offerings in the hope of there being a good harvest.
• Kuman Thong, is seen as a young boy who brings good luck.
Spirits and ghosts are central to folklore and hence Thai culture. They are found everywhere, in nature and little spirit houses. Legends encourage the people to live a moral life and many relate to Buddhism as well as folklore. This land is a fascinating place and great for a Thailand family tour.