A Cultural Journey Through Thailand, Part III

Part III of Donielle Steven’s blog from her semester with USAC’s Chiang Mai, Thailand program 

Playing catch up? No worries: Read Part I & Part II here.

Do’s and Don’ts of Thailand: The Fun & Factual 


DO….wear weird hair ties!

Is it the same size as your head?

Does it have frills or large tassels?

Is is heavy enough to make your neck strain?

Is it a stuffed animal?


DON’T…step on coins!

Have you heard about the strict lese majeste laws in Thailand? Do not disrespect the king!

The coins have the king’s face on them, if you step on a rolling coin you will feel liquid hatred burning from the Thais’ eyes around you.

DO…understand Kathoey culture!

Thailand’s third gender shows the world that gender and sexual orientation are not the same. Embrace the transgender and admire their unique way of life.

DON’T…drink Sang Som!

…if you want to do anything productive the next two days. Locals mix this rice whiskey with soda water in preparation of the bat-shit crazy night they are about to have. You think that red wine hangover was bad? Sang Som will obliterate you right after it gives you the most fun night of your life.


DO…draw eyebrows on your dog!

Please, please, please do this! I have never laughed harder in my life than seeing the dogs in Thailand with eyebrows drawn on! I might start an non-profit where we feed and care for the dogs with the condition that they must have eyebrows. Uni-brows get VIP treatment.

DON’T…touch the monks!

Ladies, I know the first thing you’ll want to do when you see an 80-year old monk in his wittle glasses and that soft belly poking from his orange robes will be to hug him. I know, I did too. But you can’t, no touching the monks. Also wear below the knee pants or skirts and keep those shoulders covered, he has more important things to meditate on then your sexy skin!


DO…wine buffet!

I’m pretty sure our USAC group has been to every wine buffet offered in Chiang Mai. And as the red or white liquid of the gods starts flowing through the veins just remember Thai’s use inside voices outside too.


DON’T…assume traffic will stop!

Pedestrian, smedestrian. Crosswalk, schmasawalk. You don’t have right-away! Who does, you might ask? We still don’t know…we aren’t sure anyone knows!


DO…speak Thai-lish!

Even if you can pull out a little bit of Thai the people will respect you for trying! Over achiever? Wow Thai strangers with this this tongue twister!

A big demon chased a small giant; a small giant chased a big demon.

ยักษ์ใหญ่ไล่ยักษ์เล็กÂ ยักษ์เล็กไล่ยักษ์ใหญ่.

Yak yai lai yak lek; yak lek lai yak yai.

DON’T…get too flirty with Thai men!

Thai men aren’t used to the forward flirting habits of Americans. So when you are dancing with Thai’s (which will be rare since Thai’s don’t dance) and you’ve been drinking and getting rowdy, and someone pulls out a camera to take a picture and you thought you’d enjoy the limelight by landing a smooch on his cheek. Know that you are now married. That smooch skipped Thai courtship and brought you to nuptials. Congratulations (and people said you’d never land a fella!)

DO…not worry, Mai Pen Rai!

See what I did there? Hehe.

Follow the common mantra here in Thailand, “Mai Pen Rai!” “Never mind, no worries, it’s alright”.

Really, it will all be okay.

USAC – Your Gateway to the World!

Like what you read? Stay tuned for more of Donielle’s adventures coming soon.