Thais have a first name and a family name, with a nickname given to them by an older family member soon after they’re born. People are always addressed by their nickname, prefixed by the salutation ‘Khun’, which functions as Mr, Mrs or Ms.
Thailand has two seasons – cool and dry (November – early May) and the monsoon (mid-May to September). October is part of the shoulder season when the weather is just starting to clear up and become cooler. As a tropical country, Thailand experiences rain all year round. There are dry days all throughout the wet season and rainy days during the dry season, as well. Humidity and heat are both high year-round.
It’s a social faux pas to lose your temper or appear impatient in Thailand.To do so results in embarrassment for all parties, as someone who lacks the self-control to remain calm loses face or causes others to lose face. You’ll often hear the expression jai yen, which translates to 'cool heart’ and means ‘stay calm’. Getting angry in Thailand rarely achieves the desired result – no matter what happens, stay calm and smile for best results.
Thais are intensely proud of their cuisine, and with good reason. Dishes mix chili heat with saltiness and sweetness – always served with rice (unless it’s a noodle dish). Most dishes are eaten with a fork and spoon, the spoon in the right hand and the fork in the left, with only the spoon touching the lips. As a Chinese dish, noodles are usually eaten with chopsticks and a ladle for the soup. A fork and spoon are the usual eating utensils. However, noodles are often eaten with chopsticks. Sticky rice, a northern Thai delicacy, is often eaten with the fingers of the right hand. The traditional Thai way of eating is to order lots of different dishes to share as a group.
When shopping at the markets, the first price you’re given will be marked up significantly as you are expected to bargain. No souvenirs you see in the markets should cost more than 100-200 baht, but it’s important to remember certain things when bargaining.
The little colourful little houses you see in front of every establishment are called saan phra phum – spirit houses. In animist mythology, everything is inhabited by spirits, so when a building is constructed on land, a saan phra phum is provided to house the spirits – the Guardians of the House and the Guardians of the Garden – that inhabit that area.
Spirit houses are usually in the sunniest spot on the property – out of the building’s shadow. Some have statues of dancers, animals and servants, and all will have a daily offering of incense, fruit, flower garlands and soda. If the spirits aren’t appeased, Thais believe the inhabitants of the house will suffer illness or back luck. Spirit houses are not connected with Buddhism.
Thais address each other differently according to their relative age. Older people have ‘pii’ in front of their name, whereas younger people have ‘nong’, which loosely translates to younger brother or sister. It is quite normal to call people – waitstaff, strangers, service providers - by either pii or nong if you don’t know their name.
The best approach to dealing with aggressive vendors or touts is to ignore them, or smile, shake your head and keep walking. Engaging in conversation will make them harder to convince you don’t want anything.
Never get into a tuk-tuk or cab of a stranger offering to drive you to a particular gem store or restaurant as they will receive commission and you’ll be overcharged.
Don’t trust time share vendors.
Never buy drugs from touts. If caught you will be jailed or extorted for a lot of money.
In Buddhism, the head is considered the most respected part of the body and the feet the lowest. As such, it is considered especially rude to touch Thai people on the head (including children), or to touch or even point at anything with your feet. Don’t point your feet at someone, don’t lift your feet up too high and definitely don’t sit with your feet pointing towards a Buddha statue or the King’s portrait.
Always remove your shoes when entering someone’s house or a temple. If you see lots of shoes outside a store, this means you should remove yours before entering as well. Removing shoes before entering a room is a sign of respect.
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The Holiday Inn Resort Phuket is located just opposite Patong Beach, just steps away from golden sands and within a short walk of Patong shopping, dining and entertainment.