If you are planning a trip to Thailand, or anywhere for that matter, it is important that you read up on local customs so that you don’t offend or disrespect the locals. This is especially important when visiting the Wats in Thailand.
I am continually amazed and disturbed by the lack of respect (or knowlege, or caring) that many foreigners have when visiting religious sites so I wanted to write this post just as an FYI. If you are coming to Thailand please respect your hosts!
Some General Rules for Visiting a Wat:
- Dress Respectfully – Cover your knees and your shoulders. Tank tops and shorts are not OK. You are not at the beach!
- Don’t sit on Buddha – I mean really. Think about it!
- Don’t show affection in public – PDA is not acceptable here and especially not in a Wat. Even holding hands should be off limits. Save it for when you get back to your hotel room.
- Never point your feet at Buddha – Actually you should not point your feet at anyone in Thailand, it is considered very rude! If you are going to sit down in front of a Buddha statue make sure you sit with your feet underneath your bottom so that your feet point away from Buddha.
- Take off your shoes – When entering a temple you will see a place to put your shoes, take them off and have a wander around bare foot!
I had some fun doing a covert ‘Wat Not to Wear’ photo shoot at a Wat here in Chiang Mai. Just because the Thai’s are gracious enough to allow you into their sacred ground when you aren’t dressed respectfully does not mean it is OK!