Culture & Religion
Thailand is predominantly a Buddhist nation. Islam is the largest majority, with the most Muslims found in southern provinces.
Attitudes towards foreign visitors are fairly relaxed, mainly in thanks to the nation’s booming tourist industry. There are plenty of temples and other cultural sites here visitors are welcomed to, though people should remember to dress modestly when enjoying such places. As a general rule of thumb, shoulders and knees should be covered, with no see-through or ripped items of clothing. Beachwear is fine on touristy beaches, though people may want to cover up more, with a t-shirt and shorts, when bathing on beaches that attract mainly locals. More conservative standards of dress are advised in more rural and off-the-beaten-track areas.
Shoes should be removed to enter private homes, most temples, and some shops, restaurants, and other establishments. A pile of shoes outside the door is usually a good indicator that visitors should remove their footwear.
The head is seen as being the most spiritual part of the body by Thai people. Touching a person’s head is a huge no no. Likewise, the feet are seen as being unclean, and one should avoid pointing their feet at people or sacred objects, stepping over a person or their possessions, and touching people with their feet.
Public displays of affection are frowned upon in Thailand. While people may hold hands when strolling through larger cities and along the beach, anything more should be saved for in the privacy of a hotel room.