C is for Culture: Thailand Update

By Issy Goode - 20:56

On Wednesday I briefly posted about a day spent training for my volunteering in Thailand. Along with being given ideas for lesson plans, information on insurance and health and safety guidelines, we also got told a bit more about the Thai culture we'll be experiencing. There was a few things that I was quite surprised about:

Firstly, you shouldn't throw away rice
- I don't think throwing away food is a good thing as it is, but specifically rice surprised me. Though it shouldn't have done considering we've been told how much we're going to be eating. 

You shouldn't point your feet towards people
- This is considered quite a rude gesture apparently. As is pointing your feet towards Buddha! I may find this one a bit hard as where I point my feet isn't usually something I think about! 

You shouldn't brush past or sit next to a monk
- I'm already quite aware how important monk's are to people in Thailand, but didn't know that if you're a female especially you have to ensure you keep yourself well away from monks. You cannot speak to them unless they speak to you, and the front seats of buses are reserved for monks, so if you chose to sit in them, you have to move. I hope I don't accidentally bump into any monks - but I'd really love to meet and talk to one!

You shouldn't touch people's heads
- It's not like I go around touching people's heads in England, but I just found this surprising. It's also quite a disrespectful thing to do, similarly to pointing your feet towards people. This is something I'll have to keep reminding myself if I'm playing games at school with the children and going round in circles numbering them.  

You shouldn't step on money
- Once again it's not like I go around stamping my feet on coins and notes, usually I snap them up and put them in a jar in my room! But in Thailand it's considered extremely rude to step on money because it has the King's head on and in Thai culture, to insult royalty is punishable by imprisonment. I shall definitely just not bother mentioning any royalty at all to avoid any misinterpretations or misunderstandings! 

We learnt a few other things too, and from the sounds of it, Thai culture's going to be hard to grasp but with 6 weeks to spend getting used to the place, I'm sure I'll be keen and ready to make another visit in the future. I'm also really interested in the food and can't wait to try lots of new things and hopefully learn a few recipes! I've been told to expect a lot of sticky rice and eggs. As I'll be living with a host family, I'll be trying all the traditional home cooked dishes and I bet it's all going to be amazing, and hopefully not too spicey! 


I also must keep in mind the Thai greeting: wai - this involves putting your hands together in a prayer-like gesture and bowing your head slightly. Apparently the height of your hands is dependant on the status of the person you are greeting, I just hope I don't unintentionally insult someone! 

I'm also quite excited to wear some traditional Thai clothing and to experience the Buddhist religion. Buddhism is a religion I've always been quite fascinated with so I'd love to learn more about it.

I'm certain there's plenty more I need to learn before I go away to Thailand, and I'd love to have a bit of basic Thai in my head before I leave in summer as I find learning the language a respectful thing to do whenever you go to a foreign country. For now I've got my passport to send off, my visa to apply for and a bit of shopping to do.

If anyone has visited Thailand, especially the north, I'd love to hear about your experience, so do leave a common or feel free to email me - missisgoode@gmail.com. 


MissIsGoode

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4 comments

  1. Ah you're so lucky to be going. Thailand is one of the most beautiful places I've visited and I can't wait to go back one day. I only visited Bangkok and Chaing Mai before venturing south, but Chaing Mai is just beautiful! The people are so friendly too. Bangkok was very manic and very bustling, full of tourists, but still great for sight-seeing. Be wary of the tuk tuk men trying to 'sell' tours to you though...we had a couple trying to tell us the temple we wanted to visit was closed and instead go with him for an alternative tour...they seem harmless and just looking to make cash but be wary and just do your own thing :) Good luck..looking forward to hearing more about your trip! Danielle x

    frontière girl

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    1. I'll be visiting Chiang Mai for definite! And I've heard about how beautiful it is so can't wait :) I won't be spending any time other than landing for my flight in Bangkok, so that's a shame but hopefully I'll be able to go back in the future. I will do! Thank you for the warning :) Thank you! x

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  2. I learn something every day... Great post, good luck with the challenge!
    Evalina, This and that...

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    1. I'm glad I shared some knowledge with you! Thank you :)

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