November 27, 2020

How to be the rudest tourist in Thailand

Imagine going for lunch at a busy restaurant – full of dining businessmen. In the middle of everything a dumpy, middle-aged woman stands up, hikes up her skirt and takes off her knickers. Her knickers!

This post may contain affiliate links, from which I receive a small commission on any resulting purchases at no cost to the customer. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. It keeps The Koh Samui Guide ad-free, never sponsored and 100% independent. See privacy policy for more details.

Thai etiquette 101

She’s not deranged, not making a political statement – she’s simply decided that it’s an acceptable time and place to change into her bathing suit.

The knickers – white granny jobs – are summarily kicked off as the restaurant stands still.

Standing in a skirt, oblivious, she pulls a swimsuit out of her bag and starts wiggling into it. Everyone’s getting views they’d rather not.

Once her top’s off, Granny’s bits are on full display.

Finally, painfully, she puts on her swimsuit top and sits down to her lunch, delivered by a horrified staff.

Such was our recent lunchtime spectacle on a Koh Samui beach. Arrogant or ignorant? We still can’t decide.

Yes, it’s Thailand.

Yes, it’s hot.

Yes, the beach is nearby.…

But what woman in her right mind would think this acceptable behaviour in a restaurant?

Things are different in Thailand and, very often, you might have no idea that a subtle gesture might offend those around you. Granted, it takes a very obtuse tourist to get it that wrong, but a little research goes a long way.

Learn your basic Thai etiquette

We really recommend just a little Thai etiquette research in your travel preparations. You'll get so much more from your visit. Norms slide on Koh Samui, it’s a tourist island after all, but even still: Would it kill us to put our bits away, at least at lunchtime?