Thailand Country Guide

Respect

 
 

Royalty & Religion

Respect to the Royal Family
It's illegal and a crime in Thailand to show disrespect to Thai royalty, which can carry imprisonment of up to 15 years. Do not make any negative remarks or remarks perceived as disrespectful about the King or any member of the Royal Family. Since the King is on the country's currency, don't burn, tear or mutilate the notes, especially in the presence of other Thais. If you drop a coin or note, do not step on it to stop it - this is considered rude and disrespectful, since you are stomping on the image of the King's head.

 
 
 
 
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King's image on Thai currency by arion potts

Also, anything related to the stories and movies on "The King and I" and "Anna and the King" is illegal to possess in Thailand. Nearly every Thai (even those living in other countries) feel very strongly against it, regardless of any version of the story. They feel that it makes a mockery of their monarchy and is entirely inaccurate. In 2007, a Swiss man was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for spraying graffiti on the King's portrait, though he later expressed remorse and was personally pardoned by the King and deported.

Grand Palace in Bangkok by Aimaimyi

Respect to Monks
Buddhist monks are meant to avoid the temptation of women, in particular they do not touch women or take things from women's hands. Women should take efforts to make way for monks on the streets and give them room not to make contact with the opposite sex. Women should avoid offering anything to a monk with their hands. Objects or donations should be placed in front of a monk so he can pick it up or place it on a special cloth he carries with him.
Monks are not allowed to accept money and offering money is a sign of disrespect. If you wish to donate to a monk, offer only food. Those accepting money are con artists.

Buddhist monks by Sry85

 
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