Thailand has long been on our list and it looks like we might be able to make a trip happen in the next year (first we’re headed to Scotland and Ireland).

I’m excited about all of the usual suspects associated with Thailand. I plan to consume massive amounts of khao soi (coconut curry noodle soup) and khao niew ma muang (mango and sticky rice). I’ll eat street food aplenty, though I can’t promise I’ll be adventurous enough to try the fried insects.

It won’t be all about food of course (but mostly). I’ll experience Thai massage that dates back over 2,500 years. Maybe we’ll visit rice farms and temples, waterfalls and lesser-known islands.

When we gear up for the trip, it’s important to study the culture and etiquette, and to try to communicate these things to our children. Here are 9 things I’ve learned so far about heading to the Land of a Thousand Smiles:

  1. Greeting involves the wai as a sign of respect. Palms together, fingers pointing up, bowing of the head to meet the thumbs.
  2. Never point (especially with your feet) or touch someone’s head.
  3. No aggressive gestures or overly loud speech.
  4. Stop and stand to show respect for the anthem, broadcast twice daily.
  5. Shoes off before entering homes and temples.
  6. Allow a reasonable amount of personal space.
  7. Elders and monks are afforded great respect, this can be shown by dropping your gaze after making eye contact.
  8. The left hand is unclean, don’t eat with it or use it to pass an object.

I have no idea how I’m going to teach my children not to point.

Zip ties are probably not an option.

I’m pretty sure we can adapt to everything else, though.

Well, maybe not the fried insects.


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