As in many Asian cultures, the concept of face plays a large role. Being confrontational, losing your temper, or showing strong negative emotions in public are all considered very negative in Thai culture. Not only will you lose face and look bad, you will also find that this sort of behavior is not productive in accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Avoid doing anything that may cause you or your Thai friends to lose face.
Thai culture is strongly hierarchical. Respect must be given to those of higher social status, and to elders. Education, profession, age, and clothing all help to place a person within this hierarchy and to shape the way that that person is treated by others. A person’s social status also determines how they should be greeted.
It is not common to touch someone’s hand when greeting them. The typical Thai greeting is called the Wai, and involves pressing your palms together and bowing your head slightly. Typically, the person of lower status offers the Wai. Thais of very high social status, such as monks, are not expected to return the Wai.
It is considered rude to lie. Even white lies, which are generally more acceptable in Western culture, are taboo. If someone says something to you that seems a bit too direct, don’t take offense—just understand that honesty is the cultural norm in Thailand.
There are also important customs and etiquette surrounding the feet. They are considered to be the lowest and least clean part of the body. You should never show someone the bottoms of your feet, point with your feet, or have your feet higher than the level of someone else’s head.
Finally, the Thai national anthem is played every day at 0800 and 1800 hours. It is considered good etiquette to stop and pay respect at these times.