Thai Smiles – A Guide To What NOT To Do in Thailand

Thailand is a land of respect and “non-confrontational culture” where losing your cool is frowned upon and everything revolves around keeping a smile on your face.  This is a list of what NOT to do in Thailand!  Follow it if if you want to keep those Thai Smiles on the local’s faces.  Mistakes happen, but trying goes a long way in keeping the locals on your side!

What NOT To Do in Thailand – A Guide to Thai Smiles

1 – Disrespect The Royal Family:

A Guide to Thai Smiles - What NOT To Do in Thailand

The Thai Monarchy is all-powerful in Thailand.  As a foreigner, you shouldn’t voice any opinions about the King unless they are very positive.  You should always give the Royal family your utmost respect.  This includes not staring at posters of the King, standing up in the theater when the pre-movie film about the King is played, and standing still at 8am and 6pm when the national anthem is played over every speaker in Thaialnd.

2 – Get Upset:

Getting visibly angry or annoyed is considered bad form in Thailand.  Keeping that Thai smile on your face is the best way to get the most out of a bad situation.  Thai culture is based on respect and it goes both ways.  It isn’t always easy, especially when you come from a place like the United States where you get upset with people every day.  Test it out the next time you are about to lose your cool; a little respect goes a long way.

3 – Leave Your Shoes On:

what not to do in thailand

Going into someone’s house or business usually requires you to take off your shoes.  Thai people (and most Asian countries) think that shoes are super gross.  If you see shoes at the front door, leave yours there too.  It’s handy to wear sandals everywhere, making the removal process a lot easier.

4 – Ride the Elephants:

thai smiles - don't ride elephants

Elephants belong in nature, not cooped up as vehicles for your enjoyment.  Most of the elephants that are ridden were taken from their mothers as babies, broken of their animal spirit and destined to miserable lives in cages.  DO NOT RIDE elephants, EVER.  Also, many of the elephant “sanctuaries” are just zoos where the animals are treated very poorly for the enjoyment of uneducated tourists.  There are several places in Thailand that have more ethical sanctuaries, however these are a small majority and in general you must question the reason that any elephant is not in the wild.

5 – Eat Shark Fin:

no shark fin soup - thai smiles

Many places in Bangkok, especially Chinatown, serve shark fin.  When the sharks are caught, their fins are cut off and the rest of the fish is thrown back into the sea.  This is a very wasteful and unethical practice.  Sharks are one of the most important parts of the ocean ecosystem and when their population declines it reeks havoc on all aspects of sea life.  World fish populations are in drastic decline throughout the world, reduced by more than 50% since 1970.  Keeping the top predators alive and thriving is the best way to support healthy marine environments.

6 – Touch the Monks:

what not to do in bangkok thai smiles dont touch monks

Monks should be treated with the utmost respect.  Never should you touch a monk, and always give them space in a crowded situation.  Most transportation systems have special seats for monks so they can avoid contact with others.  This is especially important for women.  A woman touching a monk can bring the monk great shame and hurt his standing among the other monks.  Women should also never hand anything directly to a monk, but instaed hand it to a man first who then hands it to the monk.  Your best bet is to giv them as much space as you can to avoid awkward situations.

7 – Dress Inappropriately in the Temple:

A Guide to Thai Smiles - What NOT To Do in Thailand

Temples throughout Thailand and Asia in general are places of modesty and should be treated with respect.  Men and women should wear pants below the knees, while women should always cover their shoulders and chest.  Ignoring these rules is extremely disrespectful and puts a bad face on tourists.  Also, the images of the Buddha should never be used in appropriate ways.  The Buddha should never be displayed in a bar, or put on your body in the form of a tattoo.  If you have a Buddha tattoo and it is visible when entering Thailand, Thai customs agents can deny your entry into the country and permanently ban you from entering the Kingdom.

8 – Display Affection in Public:

no kissing in thailand - thai smiles - what not to do in thailand

Thai people are very modest in public and couples should avoid displaying affection on the streets.  Holding hands is frowned upon, while kissing with tongue in public is illegal.  Keep your hands to yourself and save the smooching for your hotel room.

9 – Shake Hands:

thai smiles from mcdonalds

Shaking hands is a very western thing.  Asians are very clean people and dislike spreading germs through touch.  Opt instead for the classic Thai wai.  Many Thai people will wai you and this should generally be returned.  Do this by placing your hands like a prayer at your chest and bowing your head until your nose touches your finger tips.  Don’t wai people of lower social status than you, as this is embarrassing to everyone around you.  This includes waiters, service people, and anyone who is obviously younger than you.   Don’t forget those Thai smiles with your wai!!!

10 – Point at People:

Pointing at things or especially people should is considered extremely rude in Thailand.  This is especially true when pointing with your feet. Use your head to direct attention in a certain direction.

___________________________________

There are more things that could have been added to this list.  For instance, it’s bad luck to whistle at night, don’t dress sloppy, and don’t push too hard for the best deal.  The most important thing is to always keep those Thai smiles on your face and things will work out just fine!

Enjoy this post about what NOT to do in Thailand – a guide to Thai smiles? Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

Please follow and like us:
Advertisements

Ayutthaya Temples- The Second Capital of Thailand

Ayutthaya, Thailand rests just north of Bangkok along the Chao Phraya River.  Founded around 1350, the city eventually became the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai.  Because of it’s central location with easy access to the rest of Asia, Ayutthaya became one of the must important trading centers in the world.  By 1700 the Siamese capital was the world’s largest city with over 1 million inhabitants. Today the Ayutthaya temples and temple ruins are some of the most impressive in all of Asia, drawing huge crowds to the small city.

Ayutthaya successfully held off many western invaders and Thailand was never colonized.  However, the Burmese successfully sacked the city in 1767, riding on elephants and knocking the heads off of every Buddha statue they could find.  The occupation was short lived, as the Chinese had seized the opportunity to move their armies into Burma.  The Burmese forces retreated to their homeland with a majority of the Thai gold, burning the Ayutthaya temples in their retreat.  The following years were plagued by civil war in Siam until control was taken by King Rama I.  The founding member of the Chakri dynasty, which still reigns in Thailand to this day, Rama I relocated the Thai capital from the ruins of Ayutthaya to present day Bangkok.

Today Ayuthhaya is home to some of Asia’s greatest temples, and the history of the place is intruiguing.  The Ayutthaya tempes are an easy day trip from Bangkok by bus or train, taking less than two hours to travel by either.

Renovations at our first temple stop
An ornamental bull

We booked a room at Yimwhan Hostel & Cafe just outside the old city.  They had bikes for rent which we took advantage of and soon found ourselves among the temples.  I purchased a large rainbow bag of corn puffs which I though would be funny to cruise around with in my bike basket.  They tasted terrible and I was a bit disappointed until I was told that the puffs were actually fish food for children to throw into the river.  We went to the river and threw some in as giant catfish swarmed all around.  We laughed about this for a little while, then biked across the river to the more famous Ayutthaya temples.

Wat Phra Si Sanphet

There are temples all over the city, but the best area for biking is inside the old city’s moat where the temples are more numerous.

Wat’s Up?

One of the most popular temples for tourists is Wat Mahathat which contains the famous Buddha Head in a Bodhi tree, where one of the knocked-down Buddha heads became entangled in the roots of a giant old fig tree.

Another of our favorites was Wat Ratchaburana which you could climb inside of.  After heading down a very steep set of stairs you reach the crypt which has some ancient paintings on the walls and bats in the ceiling.

Wat Ratchaburana
Wat Ratchaburana
Wat Ratchaburana
The view from Wat Ratchaburana.
It’s always yoga time for this aspiring yoga teacher
Headstands anyone?

Enjoy this post about Ayutthaya temples? Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

Here is a good website to book your transportation from Bangkok to Ayutthaya.

 

Powered by 12Go Asia system
Please follow and like us:

Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam Motorbike Madness in Saigon

The customs process entering Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, was weird and a little complicated.  First you had to apply online and pay.  Next, you had to show up at the airport on the exact day as your visa approval letter.  At the gate you had to pay again for a stamping fee and submit passport photos, along with another form.  You drop all of this with your passport with the agent, who takes about 20 minutes to file the papers and stick the visa into your passport.  Then you walk to the actual customs gate where they inspect the visa and stamp your passport, taking up an obnoxious 1.5 pages.  But this was the cost to enter, and we were happy to pay it.  This would be our second visit to a Communist stronghold country and we expected to jump through hoops.

Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam Motorbike Madness in Saigon

Upon exiting the Ho Chi Minh City airport we were barraged with taxi drivers all offering different prices to the Saigon city center.  All the taxis were supposed to be metered but no one offered us a metered rate.  The lowest we found was 200,000 Dong (23,000 Dong to $1 US) which our Airbnb said was an OK price so we went with it.  After leaving the airport the driver said that it was 200,000 plus a 150,000 airport tax.  We had a big argument where he told us to get out and still pay 200,000.  I said “No, you’re trying to cheat us.” But eventually we settled on 300,000, as I didn’t really want to get out.  The driver was happy and we arrived already annoyed.  For the record, the airport tax is 15,000 Dong and the trip on meter costs less than 150,000.  Taxi drivers can really suck sometimes.  They are the first impression travelers sometimes get in a new place and a bad one can start your trip in a bad way.  We got over it; you live and learn.

Lets take this pup for a ride!

Our first stop was for “bahn mi”, the classic Vietnamese sandwich.  It was so nice to get good bread finally and the toppings were amazing.  We walked around the city for awhile, hitting the sites.  The hardest part was avoiding death by motorbike, as they drive very crazily and all over the sidewalks.

In 1976 Saigon’s name was officially changed to Ho Chi Minh City, but many people still call it Saigon today.  We hit many of the attractions including the War Remnants Museum, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, and the Central Post Office which was designed by Gustave Eiffel and built between 1886 and 1891.  We have seen many of Eiffel’s works throughout the world, this one being very similar to the main bus terminal in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam Motorbike Madness in Saigon
Saint Paul’s Cathedral
Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam Motorbike Madness in Saigon
The Ho Chi Minh Post Office.
Colonial Architecture

The Ho Chi Minh City Ben Thanh Market was definitely a must see.  There are hundreds of vendors selling all types of food and souvenirs.  We had our first pho, the classic Vietnamese noodle dish with amazing broth.

Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam Motorbike Madness in Saigon
Ben Thanh Market

Once the sun went down it was fun to go to Bui Vien Street.  This is backpacker central for Ho Chi Minh with cheap hostels and many bars on the street.  It reminded us a lot of Khao San Road in Bangkok, but a little less wild.  It’s nice to get a 15,000 Dong beer and sit on the street in a plastic chair watching the madness stroll by.

Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam Motorbike Madness in Saigon

Our friend Flora has a cousin who was a very popular DJ around Saigon called D-Roc.  We went to watch him spin at a fancy nightclub called Qui.  This place was the worst– weird service and an annoying management.  However, the music was great and we hung out for most of the night.  After David’s set was over we went to another club called Lush.  They had several rooms with different types of music.  Their light shows were also very impressive.  They were open until 4 but we headed out before 2 cause we’re not as young as we used to be.  Clubbing is not really our scene but it’s fun once in a while with good friends!

Before leaving Ho Chi Minh City we went on an epic food tour with Flora and David (“D-Roc”).  We tried squid beaks, salt water snails, spice soup with chicken blood, and many other dishes.

Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam Motorbike Madness in Saigon
Squid beaks and snails!
Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam Motorbike Madness in Saigon
Vegetarian food was easy to find in Ho Chi Minh!
Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam Motorbike Madness in Saigon
This soup had a huge chunk of chicken blood.
Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam Motorbike Madness in Saigon
Dinner with friends!

It was sad to say goodbye to them after such an epic few days, but we were full and our curiosity for Vietnam had increased greatly.  We couldn’t wait to come back and explore more of the county.

Enjoy this post about Ho Chi Minh City?  Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

Please follow and like us:

Stay Samed Coffee & Bed in Koh Samet, Thailand

Stay Samed Coffee & Bed in Ko Samet, Thailand is a beautiful new boutique hostel on the island, located down a quiet side street less than 10 minutes walk from Sai Kaew Beach and Na Don Pier.  Stay Samed let’s you relax in peace while being moments away from the party strip and the amazing ocean! 
Stay Samed Ko Samet
All rooms in Stay Samed come with air conditioning, and the beds are some of the most comfortable we have ever come across in any hostel dorms.  The private rooms are very spacious and come with LCD televisions and their own private bathrooms.

Stay Samed Ko SametThe dorm rooms have a maximum of 8 beds.  Each bed has its own privacy curtain, electrical outlet, and reading light.  Each dorm also has it’s own bathroom and shower.  The showers have soap and shampoo dispensers and the front desk gives you a towel at check-in.

Stay Samed Ko SametThe street front Stay Samed Cafe features western favorites such as chicken and waffles and the Stay Bowl- an invigorating breakfast bowl of yogurt, granola, fruit and superfoods!  There are also a large selection of coffees, sodas, and beers to quench everyone’s thirst.  They serve breakfast all day so don’t worry about sleeping in! The staff is super friendly and they probably speak better English than you.  Don’t hesitate to ask questions or have them help you with booking tours!  Here’s our video tour and some fun moments on the beach!

 

Services:

Fast Wifi

Security Lockers

Hot Showers

Tour and Boat Booking

Cafe and Bar

English Speaking Staff

Free Maps

Prices:

8 Bed Mixed Dorm: from ฿500

6 Bed Mixed Dorm: from ฿525

Private Room: From ฿1200

Rates vary seasonally.

Contact:

Phone: 095 523 2515

Email: staysamed@gmail.com

Address: Sai Kaew Beach
Ban Koh Samet, Rayong, Thailand 21160

Facebook.com/staysamed

Instagram.com/staysamed

 

 

 

 

Save

Please follow and like us:

7 Ways To Be A Better Traveler – Positive Impact Tourism

Many of us go traveling without any real purpose or direction.  This can be great but sometimes our travel can cause harm to the local economies, environments, and people.  Being mindful about how your travel affects others can make a real positive difference, especially in the developing world.   Here is our list of 7 ways that Positive Impact Tourism is important when you’re on the road.

1) Dress Like the Locals:

If you travel to a Muslim or more religious country, you don’t necessarily have to wear a hijab or dress to your ankles.  However, you might consider ditching the crop top and short shorts for a more conservative approach.  This is especially important when entering temples and other religious sanctuaries.

2) Understand Local Customs:

Before you embark on your trip, take a moment to Google “how to be polite in __________”.  This will go along way to encouraging the local people to not hate you.  For instance, in Thailand it is very impolite and unheard of to get visibly upset or mad at someone.  Keeping your cool can go a long way to having a more positive traveling experience.

3) Avoid Businesses Profiting Off of Animals:

Playing with the elephants, petting tigers, feeding the monkeys.  These things all sound mighty fun but these businesses are profiting off of keeping wild animals in cages.  These places are sad and there are few that should be supported.  Spend your money in National Parks where the wildlife is wild and will eat you if you try to pet it.

4) Reduce Waste Along Your Journey:

Carry a reusable bag and water bottle on your travels.  When you go shopping, insist that they put your purchases into your reusable bag.  Also, many hostels have drinking water stations so refilling your bottle can save a lot of money along with reducing waste.  Try to avoid plastic bottles in general, as usually you have an option to purchase soda in a can.  Refusing plastic straws is also a great way to help the environment as single use straws are very destructive.  Check out these bamboo drinking straws which are reusable and make you look super educated when you use them.

5) Eat At Local Restaurants:

When you go to a new country and immediately go straight to McDonalds, you are being a very bad tourist.  Eating at the local establishments keeps the money you spend in the community.  Skip Starbucks and drink the local coffee.  It will be cheaper and you won’t look like a total douche.  Spending your money the right way is one of the most important parts of positive impact tourism.

6) Volunteer The Right Way:

Stick to volunteering on farms or at hostels to extend your stay.  Many “voluntourism” options create more harm than good.  Make sure to do your research especially if it involves elephants or orphans.  Make sure your work is having a long tetm positive impact before you begin your stay.  Here is an article from the Huffington Post about “voluntourism” and the “white savior complex” and how terrible it is for third world nations.  One of our favorite Instagram stars, Barbie Savoir, sums up the problem pretty well through her clever satire.

7) Learn The Language:

Locals understand that most travelers can’t speak their language.  However, it’s really easy to pick up a couple words to make yourself a more polite traveler.  Learning “hello,” “please,” and “thank you” in every country you visit can earn you a lot of respect and smooth over awkward situations.  Do not just show up and start yelling at everyone in English.  Bad Tourist!!!

__________

Like this article about Positive Impact Tourism? Check out our archives for other amazing stories and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and subscribe to our Youtube Channel for new and exciting videos!

Please follow and like us:

Organic Farming in Chiang Mai with Live It Global

Live It Global-45

One of our days in Chiang Mai was spent helping our friend Julie check out organic farms for her new organization, Live It Global.  Organic farming in Chiang Mai is becoming more popular, thanks to several people who are pushing the community in that direction.  There are a lot of small villages around Chiang Mai that are mainly focused on agriculture, growing fruits and vegetables which they sell in the local markets.  It was a great experience to get out of the city and see how some country people live. Read more

Please follow and like us:

7 Types of Terrible Hostel Guests

Hostels are great places that laid back traveling people can enjoy.  They are some of the best places to meet new friends and share your favorite backpacking stories.  However, we’ve all met some types of people who just shouldn’t stay in hostels.  While there are more, these are our top seven types of terrible hostel guests.

terrible hostel guests

 

Top 7 Types of Terrible Hostel Guests:

Read more

Please follow and like us: