T.I.T.: This is Thailand…When in Rome

This is Thailand, or T.I.T. as it is endearingly termed, is the phrase that is widely used to describe the oddities of Thailand.  It’s expecting the unexpected like a band of elephants parading across the road or the fact that touching in public is taboo, or at least until very recently it has been.

Never forget that Thailand is run by a monarchy.  The King is…king!  It is best to lay low and never disobey the law.  It is said that the kingdom runs on a bribery system and that not everything is always on the up and up.  Whether that is true or not is best not to challenge.

Under no uncertain terms do you want to talk bad about the King or royalty.  It is actually illegal.  You can be jailed or worse for doing so and that goes for just one negative remark.  In my book, I find it best not to speak of the King or the Royal Family at all but if you choose to, be sure it is something nice…very nice.

The people of Thailand do not take well to being humiliated nor embarrassed.  They are a proud people and can easily take offense.  Loosing face is a huge disgrace in Thailand and if you cause a Thai to do so, you very well may pay a price so best to keep a smile on your face, be gracious and patient as well.

Even though, of course, you will not be taking part in any drug deal, it is imperative that you don’t do anything that might be misinterpreted as doing so.  Don’t be shady in any form or fashion lest you appear to be making a dope buy or sell.  This is one country that will not just give you a spat on the hand if they suspect that you are doing any kind of criminal activity.  Be sure that you don’t hang with others that are either.

You will do best to watch what the Thais do such as how they hail a cab.  It is not at all like we do in the West.  They hold their arm out at an angle instead of waving or pointing so lest you be misunderstood or standing waiting indefinitely, do as the Thais do!

There are a lot of options when it comes to transportation.  There are cabs and Tuk Tuks (not known for being trustworthy and are expensive too), Songthaews (covered trucks that take you where you want to go, sometimes at least), busses and transit systems.  Some say the best way to see the country and get around is the Motosais which is a cab-like motor bike.

There certainly are many huge differences in Thailand and if you are not aware or are not sensitive to them, you can land yourself in a lot of trouble.  But for the general, considerate traveler, Thailand is one of the best places on earth to visit.  You can’t beat the food, the sights and the spirit.  “Mai Pen Rai” is the anthem of the country which simply means, “Don’t worry about it.”  Thailand is a laid back, relaxed country as long as you are in sync with the culture and the unwritten (and written) rules, you will no doubt make the memories of a lifetime.