OK, try riding your motorbike, one hand holding an umbrella, the other hand sending an sms, steering with your knee and then suddenly dropping everything to offer a quick wai to a roadside spirit house before crossing four lanes of traffic to make a U-turn because you forgot to pick up your girlfriend and she’s going to wear a sulk longer than it takes to explain the concept of ‘money back gaurantee’ to a Thai businessman.
For sure, Thailand can be quite strange and newcomers find themselves conducting all sorts of cultural faux pas and going bezerk trying to figure out some of the crazy habits of the locals. Don’t ask us why they eat ice-cream sandwiches, or drink their beer with ice. Never sleep with your head facing west, duck when you walk in front of people, paste yourself in skin whitening cream… there are all sorts of strange beliefs here.
This useful collection of ‘how to’ articles helps you figure out a few important things, like, how to wai, doing a visa run, bargaining and all, dressing the Thai way, even how to find a Thai wife or husband!
Luckily Samui allows you to keep a foot both in the Eastern and Western world. An increasing number of Thais now speak English, especially in the services industry, and there are all sorts of clubs, groups and activities that suit expats. Of course, you should make the effort yourself to learn the language and etiquette of Thailand and assimilate into Thai social circles to truly appreciate the place.
One important consideration if you are planning on living here is that it’s not perfect. The Thai way of life is quite different to what you may have experienced back home and they have their own, sometimes strange, way of going about things. In fact the Thai here in Samui are incredibly good at some things, but can be quite unsatisfactory at other things we may expect or take for granted back home.
Hopefully these articles will help you understand Thai culture a little better.