Tipping
Bargaining
Etiquette


Do's & Don'ts
Buyer Beware
Child Prostitution

 

Hotels & Resorts
Package Tours

Golf Packages

 

 
Tipping:  
Tipping is not a usual practice in Thailand although it is becoming more common. Most hotels and restaurants add a 10% service charge to the bill. Taxi drivers do not require a tip, but the gesture is appreciated. It is customary to tip porters and hotel personnel who have given good personal service. A 10%-15% tip is appreciated in restaurants, particularly where service charge is waived.

Bargaining:  
Fixed prices are the norm in department stores, but at most other places bargaining is to be expected. Generally, you can obtain a final figure of between 10-40% lower than the original asking price. Much depends on your skills and the shopkeeper's mood. But remember, Thais appreciate good manners and a sense of humor. With patience and a broad smile, you will not only get a better price, you will also enjoy shopping as an art.

Etiquette
Polite behavior is welcomed everywhere, and what is considered polite in other countries is probably considered polite in Thailand, too. However, there and a few cultural pitfalls, mainly social and religious taboos, the breaking of which can cause offence:
For example, Thais revere their royal family. Even social malcontents who ignore legal and community standards refuse to tolerate a faintly implied slight on the Thai monarchy.
Outward expressions of anger are regarded as crude and boorish. The visitor who remains calm and smiles appreciatively will find all sorts of doors open to him.
Visitors should dress neatly in all religious shrines. They should never go shirtless, or in shorts, hot pants or other unsuitable attire.
Shoes should be removed when entering private Thai homes; chapels where Buddhist images are kept; and any of the Islamic community's mosques.
Each Buddha image, large or small, ruined or not, is regarded as being a sacred object. Never climb onto one to take a photograph or do anything that might show lack of respect.
Public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon. Westernized Thai couples may hold hands but that's as far as it goes in polite society.
It is considered rude to point your foot at a person or object.
Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body, both literally and figuratively. Therefore, they do not appreciate anyone patting them there, even as a friendly gesture.

Do's and Don'ts

The Monarchy : Thai people have a deep, traditional reverence for the Royal Family, and a visitor should be careful to show respect for the King, the Queen and the Royal Children.

Religion : Visitors should dress neatly in all religious shrines. They should never go topless, or in shorts, hot pants or other unsuitable attire.
It is acceptable to wear shoes when walking around the compound of a Buddhist temple, but not inside the chapel where the principal Buddha image is kept.
Each Buddha image, large or small, ruined or not, is regarded as a sacred object. Never climb onto one to take a photograph or do anything which might indicate a lack of respect.
Buddhist monks are forbidden to touch or be touched by a woman, or to accept anything from the hand of one. If a woman has to give anything to a monk, she first hands it to a man, who then presents it.

Social Norms : Thais don't normally shake hands when they greet one another, but instead press the palms together in a prayer-like gesture called a wai. Generally a younger person wais an elder, who returns it.
Thais regard the head as the highest part of the body, literally and figuratively. Therefore, avoid touching people on the head and try not to point your feet at people or an object. It is considered very rude. 
Shoes should be removed when entering a private Thai home. 
Public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon.

Buyer Beware
The Tourism Authority of Thailand receives over 1,000 complaints a year about fake jewelry purchases. To avoid being a statistic, you must stay alert to the warning signs of a swindle at work. Heeding our warning could help you stave off unpleasant surprises and make your vacation what it should be - full of sparkle

The following are valuable pointers for your protection :

  • Be wary of any encounter that ends up requiring your presence in a gem shop. Most probably it is a scam. 
  • Buying gems or jewelry to resell at double or triple the purchase prices is an impossible proposition under any circumstances. Buy jewelry only for personal satisfaction for your own use or for loved ones. 
  • Make price comparisons in various shops before deciding to buy. Never be in a hurry. 
  • Never mail sapphires or other precious stones. Carry valuable items with you. 
  • Do not believe special (jewelry) sales of any kind. Reputable dealers hardly ever offer sales and never send touts to lure tourists to their stores. 
  • There are no promotions, shows or special sales on jewelry authorized by the government or any official agencies at any time of the year. 
  • The government does not own, operate, subsidize, or authorize any jewelry stores. 
  • As far as you can, take time to verify all claims. Words, promises, personal guarantees, unchecked documents, unauthorized verbal or written statements, casual references, encounters and the like do not constitute verification. Remember, you are your own best protection. 
  • All Thai embassies, consulates or any delegations abroad are neither bound nor responsible for refunding goods that are bought in Thailand. 

When in doubt about a gem shop, check it with us at: 

Tourist Assistance Center
Tourism Authority of Thailand 
Le Concorde Building
202 Ratchadapisek Road
Bangkok 10310
Tel: 694-1222 ext. 1090-1094

TAT Supports Fight Against Child Prostitution

Welcome to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. We appreciate your interest in Thailand and in our efforts to eradicate the prostitution of children. 

In recent years, there has been a growing movement against the worldwide evil of child prostitution and the sexual abuse of minors. Thanks to the efforts of organizations such as End Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT), UNICEF and enlightened governments, this scourge is now being actively addressed, with pressure being brought to bear on governments and societies around the world to eradicate it, as one would deal with a cancer.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) unequivocally supports the fight against child prostitution and is doing everything in its power to prevent it. 

TAT, together with the Royal Thai Government and people of Thailand, abhor and condemn child prostitution and abuse. It is contrary to the laws of Thailand and the precepts of our Buddhist religion. However, there is no denying that it exists in Thailand as it does in other countries. Thailand, unfortunately, has perhaps received the most publicity as being a major center of child prostitution. This is due to the fact that Thailand, with its long history of democracy, has what is possibly the developing world's greatest freedom of speech and of the press, allowing both local and foreign journalists and writers unhindered access and freedom to publish accounts of the Kingdom's social problems. 

childThis freedom has resulted in Thailand being branded as the world's leading child prostitution center. This is simply not true. According to the US State Department's Human Rights Report, other countries rank ahead of Thailand both in terms of size of sex industry and percentage of underage prostitutes. In referring to this, we do not mean to shy from admitting Thailand's problem by pointing fingers at others, it is only to put the real situation in a proper perspective. 

So what is being done in Thailand to eradicate child prostitution?  TAT has taken a firm stance on preventing and discouraging sex-related tourism, and has, over the past years, cooperated with the Tourist Police on seeking out and prosecuting sex tourism operators. TAT's policies on preventing sex tourism, and particularly child prostitution are as follows: 

TAT emphatically does not promote Thailand as a sex tourism destination, and it works strenuously against independent tour operators that do so. TAT overseas offices have been instructed to monitor the activities of foreign countries' tour operators and report any that offer sex tours of any kind, so that action can be taken to halt these activities. 

TAT works in conjunction with the Tourist Police to strictly enforce Thailand's anti-prostitution laws, and has taken legal action against operators in Thailand that contravene the laws. 

In April 1996, the Royal Thai Government of Thailand passed stringent anti-prostitution laws with the most severe penalties reserved for those involved in child prostitution. Now customers, procurers, brothel owners, those who force children into prostitution and even parents, face long prison sentences as well as large fines. The penalties under Thailand's new Prostitution Prevention and Suppression Act are as follows: 

1. Customers  2-6 years jail if prostitutes are under 15 years old 0-3 years jail if prostitutes are between 15 and 18 years old
2. Procurers  1-10 years jail if prostitutes are over 18 years old
5-15 years jail if prostitutes are between 15 and 18 years old 10-20 years jail if prostitutes are under 15 years old
3. Venue Owners  0-15 years jail if prostitutes are over 18 years old
5-15 years jail if prostitutes are between 15 and 18
years old 10-20 years jail if prostitutes are under 15 years old
4. Parents  4-20 years jail if prostitutes are under 18 years old
5. Those who force or torture others into prostitution 1-20 years jail 
Life sentence if prostitutes are seriously injured
Death penalty if prostitutes are killed

TAT fully supports these tough new measures and would like to ask visitors to this site to do their bit to help end child prostitution. If anyone knows of any organization, operator or individual that offers sex tours to Thailand, particularly those involving children, please report them to your local TAT office or contact us by e-mail. Your assistance will contribute to the eradication of the sexual exploitation of children. 

(c) 2001 travelthailand.net - Reproduction without permission prohibited.