Touching Heads Tip: Don’t Touch the Head!
Thai people are very friendly, after all it is known as the “Land of Smiles”, but like any other country there are local customs visitors should follow to avoid offending someone unknowingly.
The Head in Thailand
The the head of a person or statue in Thailand are regarded as the most important part of the body. It is considered rude to touch a stranger’s head, as it would be in most countries around the world. It is also disrespectful to touch the head of a statue, especially a statue of the Buddha.
Of course, close friends and family members often touch each other’s heads or hair. This is not considered rude.
Know Where Your Feet Are
Visitors should try to avoid pointing their feet directly at another person or Buddha statue. It is also inappropriate to step over a person or a Buddha statue. In general, your feet should always be lower than another person’s head to avoid offending someone.
Respect the Local Religion
Buddhism plays an enormous role in the country’s culture. Most Thai people will become a monk or nun during their lifetime for a short period of time. Therefore tourists need to show extreme respect towards the religion.
Buddha statues or images should never be photographed, or interacted with in a disrespectful way. Buddhist monks may never touch (or be touched by) a unrelated women. When visiting a temple, tourists need to remove their shoes and dress conservatively. Women should avoid wearing sleeveless shirts or dresses.
Respect the Royal Family
It is not only disrespectful to insult the King or royal family of Thailand, it is also illegal. Don’t do it.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about touching heads in Bangkok.