The famous Thai smile that gave the county its name, the Land of Smiles, characterizes its friendly, good-natured people. One of their most distinctive traists is their sense of fun, a characteristic which they call sanuk and the French refer to as joie de vivre.
Thai people have a natural cheerfulness and light-hearted spirit that imbues everything they do. Even at work, there is a sense of fun, plenty of teasing and genuine feelings or warmth among colleagues that make life perpetually enjoyable. And why not smile all day? In Thailand, life really is good and enjoyable. The culture is a social one, with a tradition of extended family and community, and a society where extreme importance is placed on one´s manners and speech towards others. Because of their great love of community, Thai people revel in social interaction, loud noise and hustle and butel. In contrast to the European outlook, the thought of being alone, or travelling and dining solo in a foreign land, is deemed a das affair for the kindred-loving Thai.
Thai people are renowned for their gentleness and politeness in any situation. The deeper implication, and more socially significant side of the Thai smile, is that it is a gracious way of “saving face”, or avoiding embarrassment and loss of dignity. Smiling covers up any potentially negative of distressing situation. Thai people shun any sort of confrontation, argument of conflict, and will go to great lengths to avoid it, to the point that they hardly ever say no, even when they mean it. They simply answer affirmatively and carry on as before. Any question is always answered with yes, even if the answer is otherwise. “Do you have some bananas?” “Yes. We have no bananas.”
A key element of Thai culture is great respect for religion, the monarchy, elders, and family. At each social stratum, from the humblest servant to the loftiest aristocrat, Thai people practice a natural politeness and grace that is unfailingly appealing and always pleasant.
Thai culture reveres the head as the highest and most sacred part f the body. So in Thailand, one never touches another persons´s head – this is considered shockingly rude..
It is also disrespectful to have your head higher than the head of an elder or your boss, or someone of a higher social class, which is why Thai manners are so deferential, with lots of bowing and nodding in social interactions.
Correspondingly, the foot is considered the lowliest part of the body; it is the height of rudeness to point your foot at someone, or touch another person with your feet. Another way of showing respect in Thai culture is by keeping good personal hygiene and being properly dressed. Thai people shudder at the thought of venturing our in public shoddily groomed or shabbily attired, as it results in loss of face and is disrespectful to other people. Due to the tropical heat, Thai people usually shower and powder themselves two or three times a day. When meeting elders of officials, they always dress modestly as a sign of respect. Thai people enjoy dressing up and going out because it adds sanuk to the custom of being well groomed, this also appeals to their love of visual arts, creative flair and social interaction. It´s no wonder there is a such passion for following fashion trends in Thailand.
With all of these social customs stemming from a reverence for fun, behavior and respect, the service industry is exceptionally brilliant in Thailand, with its signature warmth unrivalled by any other county. Visitors came addicted to Thailand and her people,