Understanding the strange "rules"

Respect The Monarchy

Every day at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Thai citizens across Thailand come to a standstill. Even in the chaotic city of Bangkok, pedestrians freeze and stop their daily grind to pay tribute to the most revered thing in Thailand: the monarchy. It is during this time that the national anthem plays, and everyone (including tourists) is expected to stop and pay tribute to the country. This is just one way in which the Thais respect their monarchy, and tourists should be careful to respect it as well. Any criticism or jokes about the royal family can result in serious jail time because of strict lèse-majesté laws.

Keep Your Knickers On

Be sure to pack enough underwear for the entirety of your trip to the Kingdom, as going commando outside of the house in Thailand is illegal. Although how this law is enforced remains to be seen, be sure to have enough tighty-whities in tow while traveling.

Beware where and when You Booze

Places of worship or temples, public offices, education institutions, gas stations, hospitals, and public parks are all the places boozing tourists can expect (for the most part) to receive a handful of months in prison if they drink. There are exceptions to all of these places, but it’s better to be safe than sorry and consume alcohol elsewhere. Without authorization, those who break this law can receive up to six months of imprisonment and no more than a ฿10,000 fine.

The legal age to drink in Thailand is 20, but that does not mean that those over this age should be boozing whenever they please. From 2-5 p.m. and again from midnight until 11 a.m., the sale of liquor is prohibited. It is also forbidden for alcohol to be bought on election day, the royalties’ birthdays (the Queen and King of Thailand), and special religious holidays, many of which pertain to Buddhism. Not all establishments abide by these rules, however, by law, they should be!

No Shirt, No Driving

From a bad sunburn to a fine, there are a few consequences of driving a motorcycle or car shirtless in Thailand. The fine may be low, but do everyone a favor and keep your clothes on.

Whistling 

In the West, whistling is seen as something you do when you’re bored, nothing more than something to do to pass the time or entertain yourself well all else fails. In Thailand however, it’s quite different – whistling at night is said to call the spirits or ghosts. You might not think this is a big deal, but ghosts and spirits are extremely prevalent in Thai culture. 

 in Thai culture, ghost – or spirit– houses are everywhere, and tourists walk past plenty of them everyday without knowing what they are.

Spirit houses come in many shapes, sizes and materials, but their intention is always the same. It’s a place assembled inside or next to your home for wayward spirits to rest. Daily offerings of food are made to the spirit and in return the spirit is pacified and will offer good blessings to the homeowner (which is much more preferable to a haunting). Food offered to the spirit house ranges from a humble offering of rice to candy, with strawberry Fanta proving a popular offering. It’s a tradition that’s passed down from generation to generation, steeped in Buddhist culture, that Thais don’t seem to want to forget anytime soon.

Funny though it may seem to an outsider, Thais take these ghosts seriously. Police have been called to investigate ghostly goings on, and monks are routinely called to bless and purify a property. Ghosts aren’t the only things Thais believe though – they have a superstition for nearly everything.

Other superstitions

If you’re looking for a haircut on your travels, you’d be hard pressed to find a salon open on a Wednesday as it’s seen to be an unlucky day for a haircut, and pulling your crops on a Thursday? Forget about it. You might also have noticed Thai people wearing amulets and with the famous sak yant tattoos. These aren’t a fashion accessory; they’re thought to bring people good luck and, in some cases, special powers. There are also several phallus shrines that you can visit in Thailand, as doing so is said to increase fertility.