Thailand is a country of scenic diversity and ancient traditions, with tranquil temples and modern urban excitement. With an independent history going back more than seven centuries, Thailand has managed to absorb a variety of cultural influences and blend them into something uniquely and memorably Thai.
The culture of Thailand incorporates a great deal of influence from India, China, Cambodia, and the rest of Southeast Asia. Thailand's main theology--Theravada Buddhism--is central to modern Thai identity and belief. Like most Asian cultures, respect towards ancestors is an essential part of Thai spiritual practice. Thais have a strong sense of hospitality and generosity, but also a strong sense of social hierarchy. Seniority is an important concept in Thai culture.
Thai Way of Greeting
The traditional Thai greeting, the wai, is generally offered first by the youngest of the two people meeting, with their hands pressed together, fingertips pointing upwards as the head is bowed to touch their face to the hands. The elder then is to respond afterwards in the same way. Social status and position, such as in government, will also have an influence on who performs the wai first.
Taboos in Thailand
Taboos in Thailand include touching someone's head or pointing with the feet, as the head is considered the most sacred and the foot the dirtiest part of the body. Stepping over someone, or over food, is considered insulting. Books and other documents are the most revered of secular objects.
Because of their religious discipline, Thai monks are forbidden physical contact with women. Women are therefore expected to make way for passing monks to ensure that accidental contact does not occur. When making offerings to monks, women shall place their donation at the feet of the monk or on a cloth laid on the ground or a table.