Thai Etiquette – Thai Culture for kids

People usually do not shake hands when greeting.  Instead, the custom is to “wai”.  Usually the younger person “wais” the older person by placing his/her palms together and bowing slightly.  If the hands are high, the person is greatly respected.  The older person then returns the gesture.  This greeting is done while standing, sitting or even walking.  If someone does not offer you a “wai” (especially if you are a foreigner) then it is polite to offer a handshake.  Smile and bow your head out of respect. A wai can mean “Hello”, “Thank you”, “I’m sorry”, or “Goodbye”. A wai is not used to greet children, servants, street vendors or laborers. Never return a wai to a child, waiter, clerk, etc. Simply nod and smile in response. Monks do not return a wai.

If invited to a Thai home, a gift is appreciated but not required.  The gift should be wrapped. Gold and yellow are considered royal colors so they are good choices for wrapping paper. Appropriate gifts are flowers, chocolates or fruit.  Silverware is used, as well as chopsticks for noodles.

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Sticky rice, a Thai favorite is often eaten with the fingers of the right hand.  It is polite to leave a little food on your plate to show that you are full.  If your plate is cleaned, then the host/hostess will think you are still hungry. It is also polite to never leave rice on your plate as this is seen to be wasteful.  As in most other countries, it is not polite to ask for a second helping or to take the last bite form the serving bowl.  It is also not polite to lick your fingers.

When entering a doorway of a house, you should step over the threshold, not on it.  Thais believe a spirit lives in the threshold.  You should also remember to take off your shoes out of respect before entering a home, temple or building that has a Buddha image.

It is not polite to show affection in public. You should never touch or pass anything over anyone’s head. The head is considered sacred in Thailand and must be respected.

You should never point your feet at anyone or use your feet to move anything or touch anyone. Feet are regarded as unclean.  It is not polite to keep your hands in your pocket when someone is talking to you or to put your arm over the back of a chair in which someone is sitting.  It is not polite to wave your hands when you talk or to pass anything with your left hand.  You should not point with your fingers or your hands.  It is not respectful to cross your legs when older people or monks are around.  If you want to get someone’s attention, you should hold out your arm with the palm of your hand down and flutter your fingers up and down.

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Thai Travel Destinations – Thai Culture for kids

Thailand is a popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia.  The country has clean beaches, thick jungles and interesting foods to sample.  It is also home to beautiful, old temples.  Here are some popular places to explore.  You will see that many of them are islands known for their lovely scenery, beaches, relaxation and water activities.

Ko Taruto is one of the 51 islands that belong to the national marine park archipelago in southern Thailand.  One of the island’s greatest attractions is the wildlife of sea turtles, whales, monitor lizards, crab-eating macaques and mouse deer.  Try out a beach, see a waterfall and enjoy hiking the island.

Ayuthaya was founded in 1350 A.D. by King U. Thong.  It was the second capital of Siam and a trading capital between China, India and the Malay Archipelago.  In 1700, it was one of the largest cities in the world with one million people.  In 1767, the city was destroyed by the Burmese Army.  The kingdom ended.  The city was re-built a few kilometers to the east of the ruins which make up the Ayuthaya Historical Park.  You can tour the park and see the remains of temples and palaces, two types of stone structures of long ago.

Ko Chang is an island near the border of Cambodia.  It is the second largest island in Thailand and the largest in the Ko Chang Marine Park archipelago. You can enjoy the many waterfalls, coral reefs, rainforests and white sandy beaches.  On your hike you can see some of the wildlife of birds, snakes, deer and elephants. Bangkok

Bangkok is home to the Grand Palace of the Old City of Wat Pho which was where the kings lived until the mysterious death of King Mahidol in 1946.  The city was built with many architectural styles to blend Thai with western architecture.  It includes the Wat Phra Kaew, home of the Emerald Buddha, one of the oldest and most famous statues of Buddha in the world. The floating markets on the Chao Phraya River and waterways and the Chatuchak Weekend Market are fun to visit, as well as Chinatown and Jim Thompson’s House and Museum of Thai art, antiques and silk products.

The Similan Island in the western Andaman Sea is considered an excellent place to dive.  There are nine tropical islands with white sandy beaches.  The eastern part of the island offers gently sloping coral reefs while the western part features large, granite boulders covered with corals.

Chiang Mai is a top-rated Thailand attraction.  The famous Night Bazaar spreads along several city blocks.  The bazaar sells handicrafts, art and clothing among the nearby modern shopping centers.

Rai Leh Beach is a small peninsula with high limestone cliffs that cut off the mainland.  Therefore, it is only reachable by a boat. The cliffs are enjoyed by rock climbers from all around the world.  It is a place of beautiful beaches and a quiet atmosphere.

Phang Nga Bay is one of the most scenic areas in the country.  There are beautiful caves and sea grottoes.  A popular way of visiting the area is by kayak.

Koh Tao means Turtle Island.  It is a small island located near the eastern shore of the Gulf of Thailand.  It is a wonderful place to dive around the island reefs.  It is very clean and you can see down 15-20 meters.

Ko Phi Phi is a small archipelago in the Krabi Province in Southern Thailand. It is the largest island of the group and it is the only island with residents all year round.

Thai Common Words and Phrases – Thai Culture for kids

When being introduced or greeting someone, men say sawatdee-krap and women say sawatdee-kah. This means “Where are you going?” rather than “Hello”. A polite response is “Just down the street”.

Hi!                               Sa-was-dee

Good morning!             A-roon-sa-was

Good evening!              Sa-yan-sa-was

Welcome!                     Yin-dee-ton-rab

How are you?               Sa-bai-dee-mai

I’m fine. Thanks.          Sa-bai-dee, kob-kun

And you?                     Leaw-kun-la

Good/So-so.                  Kor-dee/reauy-reauy

Thank you.                   Kob-hun

You’re welcome.           Mai-prn-rai.

Good night!                   Ra-tee-sa-was.

See you later!                Leaw-jor-kan-mai.

Good bye!                     La-korn

Thai Children’s Songs – Thai Culture for kids

Many of the children songs sung in this country are about animals, toys, the family and nature.  Children’s songs like most children’s songs throughout the world have chants, actions, rhymes and silly phrases.

  • Pleeng Loy Krathong (Full Moon Song)

  • Pleeng Chaang (Elephant Action Song)

  • Poong Paang (Fish Trap Chanting Game)

  • Maun Saun Paa (Cloth Doll Chanting Game)

  • Rii Rii Khao Saan (Rice Chanting Game)

  • Pleeng Wan Koed (Happy Birthday Song)

  • Pleeng Voracheed (The Virtuous Brother)

  • Pleeng Khaang Khaaw Kin Klauy (Bats Eating Bananas)

  • Tap Nok (Bird Suite)


Thai Alphabet – Thai Culture for kids

The Thai language is made of 44 consonants, 32 vowels and five tones in pronunciation.  The tone of a syllable is determined by the consonants, the type of syllable and the length of the vowel.  There is also a script that has Indian origins.  The Thai language belongs to the Tai family and comes from the Old Khmer alphabet that was created in 1283. Thai is the main language of Thailand and it is spoken by 65 million people mainly in Thailand and also populations of Thai who live in the Midway Islands, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. There are several regional dialects.  Other languages spoken in Thailand include Chinese, Lao, Malay and Mon-Khmer.  English is becoming more commonly used in government and business.  English is taught as a second language in secondary schools and universities. An interesting fact about the written Thai language is that there are no spaces between the words.  Instead, spaces are used only at the end of clauses and sentences.

Thai Names – Thai Culture for kids

Thai names are often long as the given name and family name are to be unique. There aren’t two last names that are the same unless the people are related. Thai people also change their family names at additional times other than marriage.  The names that are chosen stand for positive things.  Some parts of these favorite name choices listed below are used by Thai parents to name their children.

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Boys’ Names

Adirake, Jaidee, Tai, Badinton, Cha, Jao and Niran

Girls’ Names

Abhasra, Jaidee, Kalaya, Ma-dee, Nataya, Noi, Rajini, Sunisa, Achara, Ban, Chaiama, Kamala, Mai, Ratana, Damni, Dao, Hansa and Lalana

Thai people address one another by their first names and titles.  They use the last names for more formal occasions and when they write to these people.  Foreigners are addressed by their given names because it is easier.  You may be called Mr. Joe or Mrs. Diane.  Titles, rank and honor are very important.  Thai given names are preceded by Khun (Mr., Mrs., or Miss).  If the person has a degree like doctor, then this title is used.  So you would address a person (given name) + (family name) = Khun (given name).  You would write to this person as Dear Khun (given name).  Nicknames are also common in Thailand.

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The Thai Flag and National Sports- Thai Culture for kids

Flying kites is a favorite activity for children.  It is even a competitive sport in Thailand. Takro is another sport.  It is played by keeping a ball in the air by using mostly your feet, knees and chest. The ball is passed from one person to another.  The goal is to make a basket.

Thailand’s flag has five horizontal stripes (red, white, blue, white and red).  The middle blue stripe is twice as wide as each of the other stripes. Red stands for the land and people, white for Buddhism and blue for the monarchy, King Rama VI. He was the sixth ruler of Siam who helped the country move towards nationalism and more independence.  The country is a constitutional monarchy which means it is ruled by a king and queen.

Religion and Values of Thailand – Thai culture for kids

About 96% of the people are Buddhists.  Many boys and young men become monks for a short time in their lives to understand and practice the Buddhist beliefs.  Monks wear orange robes and they shave their heads.

The Thai people believe in politeness, respect and manners.  Children are taught to respect their teachers and parents. Family is very important to the Thai people. The culture celebrates Children’s Day in July.  On this day, many special activities are planned throughout the country.  The people of Thailand believe that children are an important resource to their country.  They have a saying “Children are the future of the nation.  If the children are intelligent, then our country will be prosperous.”

From this proverb, you can see that education is very important. Thai children learn the same things that most children around the world learn.  They also learn scouting as part of their education.  There is a time during the school day for worship.  Most schools have a temple and statues of Buddha.  Shoes cannot be worn in the classrooms.

Thai lessons for children