Wat Not To Wear

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!

DSCN5232 DSCN5274 DSCN5276 DSCN5285 DSCN5302Dress with respect to get respect!

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  1. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family says:

    This always annoys me too. As does topless bathing on beaches in Thailand and Malaysia.

  2. Renee — RambleCrunch says:

    Great pix, Amy.

    Uncovered folk in wats are beyond irritating.

    We noticed this same clueless behavior in Istanbul too. Muslims are serious abut covered bodies and hair (for women) in mosques. Outside major mosques someone is always handing out scarves so you can cover whatever needs to be covered…legs, shoulders, hair.

    But every damn time we went inside, sure enough there’d be some dufus guy in shorts, his legs uncovered. Or some woman with her hair uncovered, holding the scarf in her hand or draped around her neck. So irritating. So rude.

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