Temple etiquette and the Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand, Bangkok, religion, temple, Buddha, Buddism, culture

The first stop on any trip to Thailand, or stop over in Bangkok, should be the Grand Palace. The grounds are a visual delight, and glisten with gold and mother of pearl.

There is much to see including the emerald buddha, temples, courtyards and pavillions. The palace is no longer the official residence of the King but it is still a working palace with offices on site and often used for ceremonial duties.

Temple etiquette:

  • Remove your shoes before entering (also remove hats and sunglasses)
  • Ensure your shoulders and knees are covered
  • Do not step on the threshold – step over it
  • Sit with your legs under you and to the side
  • Do not raise yourself higher than the buddha
  • Do not point at the buddha or a person with your feet (either accidentally or on purpose)
  • Do speak to the monks if they approach you (they like to practice English)
  • Ensure your wai (hands together) to a monk is slightly higher than normal (and they may not return it)
  • Never use your left hand to give a donation or shake hands
  • Do stand up if monks or nuns enter
  • Never turn your back on the buddha – back away instead
  • Ladies should avoid touching monks altogether even if you brush past their robes they will need to complete a cleansing ritual.

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