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
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.
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
Shoes should be removed when entering private Thai homes; chapels
where Buddhist images are kept; and any of the Islamic community's
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.
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
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
Shoes should be removed when entering a private Thai home.
Public displays of affection between men and women are frowned upon.
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
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
Tel: 694-1222 ext. 1090-1094
TAT Supports Fight Against
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.
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:
||2-6 years jail if prostitutes
are under 15 years old 0-3 years jail if prostitutes are
between 15 and 18 years old
||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
||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
office or contact us by
e-mail. Your assistance will contribute to the eradication of
the sexual exploitation of children.