When travelling to Thailand where there are plenty of stunning Buddhist temples, you must not miss the chance to visit one. Is there anything you should be careful about or anything you shouldn’t do at all? Yes, indeed! There are several dos and don’ts that you should definitely follow in order to show respect to the place and the people. Here are some guidelines to follow for your next visit to the Buddhist temples anywhere in Thailand. To see complete list of Buddhist temples in Thailand, click here.

  • Do wear proper clothes

When we say dress properly, we mean the kind of clothes that are not too revealing. If you want to wear shorts, it is possible but your shorts must be the length of the knees level. This is strictly necessary when it comes to visiting the major royal temple like the Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaew). If you don’t follow the rules, you will not be allowed into the premise. For the tops, avoid tank top, spaghetti strap and strapless.

Some of the major temples where they get a lot of foreign visitors, they usually provide sarong or long pants for tourists to change before entering the temple. However, it is best if you prepare in advance.

  • Do take off your shoes

You can wear your shoes when you visit temples, but you have to take your shoes off before entering to the temple’s buildings. Normally the temple will ask visitors to remove their shoes before entering to the main hall like in Ubosot (where the Buddha is placed in the main hall), to show respect.

  • Do take off your hat and sunglasses

For the very same reason to the previous do, visitors are asked to remove their hats and sunglasses as well.

  • Do show respect to the monk

Even you might not be a Buddhist, it is recommended to show your respect to the monk. It is okay to greet or talk to the monk but do remember that you should always mind your manners and keep your position lower than the monk. If you need to surpass the monk, you should lower your head a bit when passing him.

  • Do not step onto the threshold

Buddhist people believe that stepping onto the threshold bring bad luck especially the temple’s threshold. Therefore, to show your respect when entering the building, don’t forget to cross over the threshold.

  • Do not touch the monk directly

This is especially most applicable to women. Monks are forbidden to come into contact with women. This also includes handing stuff to monks, you should always hand things to the monk by putting them on the floor where the monk will have his yellow cloth acting like a medium.

  • Do not point at the Buddha Image

It is considered to be rude or poor manner to point at the Buddha Image. If you would like to show your friend the Buddha Image, you should use your hand gesture instead of pointing to the Buddha directly.

  • Do not touch the Buddha Image

If you cannot touch the monk, the same rule is applied to the Buddha Image as well. Sometimes it is tempting for tourists to reach their hands to touch the Buddha Image that stands in front of them as if it is touchable, but it is not.  Even if the Buddha Images are placed on the path walk, do not touch them because it is not proper and you might ruin the statue.

For more tips on the Dos & Don’ts when travelling to Thailand, read our post on The Basic Guide to Thai Etiquette.

Featured Image: Wat Mahathat – by far the largest and most awesome of the ancient city of Sukhothai’s 26 temples. (Photo: sripfoto, Shutterstock)