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Last updated : Nov 2009
Pattaya Culture Guide
Pattaya Culture Guide - TravelPuppy.com
Thai culture is profoundly and firmly rooted in religious and historical traditions of the Thais, and it has a deep and strong influence on the way of people life. Thai cultural habits are different from those accepted in the West. Thai people greet each other by a salutation known as Wai, rather than by shaking hands as western people do. Thais call this gesture of bowing Sawadee, and this is 1 of the 1st things they teach their children. It makes their parents very proud to see their little babies bowing. All greetings, such as: Hello, Hi, How do you do, Welcome, Good morning, etc., including Good bye and See you later, are also Sawadee in Thai. The Thai language uses the gender markers that distinguish a way of speaking for men and women.

Hospitality is the significance of Thai's nature. Guests are normally welcome into houses or offices with a glass of water. Restaurant guests will also be served up a glass of cold water, although they don't order. Before entering a Thai house as well as Buddhist temples, please make sure that you have taken off your shoes. The same goes in traditional Thai restaurants where guests sit on the floor. Many Thais sit on the floor when having their meals and most houses don't have beds, just the mattresses.

Thai table manners and the way dishes are prepared and served, have its entirely different way. Generally, in Thai restaurants spoon with a fork will be given to a guest for the main meal and and short spoon with small bowl for soups. Knives are not provided, because the food is already cut down into small enough pieces, or could be easily sliced by spoon. The goal is to eat with a spoon in your right hand and a fork in your left, to help push foods onto the spoon. Chopsticks will be provided when guests order noodle dishes. The knife and fork will be normally provided when guest orders steaks or western food dishes.

Rice is the main staple in Thai-style dining and it is always prepared as the classic Thai steamed rice called Khao Soway, and served on a plate or in small bowls from which you put it into your plate. Except deserts, all dishes are served in no particular order, just as soon as they are ready, and are eaten all together. A typical Thai dinner comprises several dishes placed and occasionally even cooked (fondue) on the table, and are eaten by taking small portions from selected dishes and topping the rice in your plate. For drinks, other than iced water, Thais prefer to accompany their meals with some beer or whisky on the rocks with soda, rather than wines. Thais like to add spice not only in the food they eat, but also find ways to add spice and excitement to everything they do, even in simple daily routine things.

Thais respect their elder people and refer to the oldsters as Pee, which means the elder brother or sister. It is also common to call youngsters as Nong, which means the younger brother or sister. When in restaurants or similar places, it is polite and advisable to call the waiters waitress Pee or Nong, rather than a waiter.

All Thai people have nicknames which will be called in unofficial, casual places. In contrast to their real names, which are quite long and hard to pronounce, Thai nicknames, consist of single syllable sounds: Aoi, Bua, Boom, Gai, Goong, Nok, Moo, Tao, Lek, Nam, Pla, Gob, Som, Tae, Pook and so on. Some of these are kind of hilarious, for instance, Gai means Chicken, yet no offence is intended or taken.

Travellers will not see Thai couples embracing, hugging, kissing or anything like that on streets or in public areas. It is unsuitable in Thai society. Any display of emotions in public, particularly when affected by loud speaking or noisy arguing, is considered disrespectful.

Thailand is an open and very friendly modern society that embraces almost everything that comes its way, Thai people are rather conservative in regards to the Thai women behavior and dress. In spite of hot weather, vast majority of female office staff wear stockings. It is long standing, yet still a customary tradition that Thai girls make a curtsy to express respect while passing near a man.

Shopping habits here are also profoundly differ from the western world. Bargaining is in the nature of Thai folks. In most shops and at stands there are no price tags. One must ask "How much?", which everyone understands and waits for. After you have asked, vendors look at you, assessing your seriousness in purchasing, and then, take out their calculator to enter a starting price accordingly. While keeping an eye on your reactions, they tempt you to enter into the calculator a price worthy for you to pay...they are very experienced professionals in striking a bargain.