Temple Etiquette in Thailand – Do’s and Dont’s
Thailand is 95% Buddhist. Consequently, the country if full of temples, which are central to Buddhism. Understandably, a significant part of Thailand’s culture pertains to temples. This is why famous temples within Thailand are frequented by tourists all year round, for instance, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.
If you happen to visit the temples in Thailand, below are some do’s and dont’s you should keep in mind to ensure that don’t flout temple etiquette.
Temples do not allow people to get in wearing whatever they feel like. For instance, men are required to wear long pants and a shirt that covers the shoulders. For women, dresses and skirts should be able to cover the knees. The shoulders should not be visible either.
Without appropriate dressing, you will not be allowed into a temple. You should also take off your shoes or hat as you enter the temple.
Be Respectful in the Temple
You should be reverent when in the temple. For instance, you should bow before the Buddha. Additionally, you should not turn your back on the Buddha when walking away. You should walk backwards in a respectful manner and then move on to where you are going.
Turn Off Your Phone
Your phone should be completely off when getting into the temple. A phone ringing in this holy place would be an ultimate sign of disrespect. Likewise, you cannot use your phone or listen to music while in the temple, even on your headphones.
Point Your Feet the Buddha or Other People
Feet are considered the dirtiest part of the body. Consequently, using them to point at a religious relic or the Buddha or even other people is a very disrespectful. Even when seated, you should sit on your feet and point your toes backwards.
Don’t Touch Somebody on the Head
While feet are considered the dirtiest part of the body, the head is considered to be just the opposite – the holiest part of the body. Under no circumstances should you touch anybody on the head while in the temple, even if it is the people you went there with.
Climb on Statues
Climbing on statues and monuments may be a customary thing among tourists trying to create a memorable photo opportunity, but, in a temple environment, this is a no-no. You should not even take pictures with sacred statues. Even letting your head rise above the Buddha is considered very disrespectful, which is why you should bow your head around the Buddha.
Lose Your Cool
In general, losing your temper in public in Thailand is considered very embarrassing. However, in temples, you absolutely have to maintain your temper. You should also not speak loudly or display strong emotions as this is considered extremely rude, disrespectful, and even embarrassing.
Temples are held in very high regard in Thailand, and anywhere else in the world for that matter. When visiting Thailand, there are some things you should do to ensure you do not disrespect these revered places of worship. For instance, dressing skimpily, talking noisily and behaving in a manner considered disrespectful to the temple or the Buddha are absolute dont’s. On the other hand, you should be reverent, and restrained in your movement and behavior while in the temple.