Cultural Taboos to Avoid While Visiting Thailand

Thailand is a country rich in culture and history. Thai people can be the friendliest people you will ever meet, however, take care not to cause insult as things could become nasty rather quickly. As a general rule of thumb, Thai people are inviting, warm, generous, and caring so if you’re looking to visit Thailand for the first time, here’s some valuable information to help you enjoy your cultural enrichment while staying in the good graces of your hosts.

cultural taboos to avoid in thailand

As with every culture around the world, there are things that people commonly do in one country without notice that may cause offense in another. This article is going to run through some of the biggest taboos to avoid when in Thailand.


Avoid Showing The Soles Of Your Feet


Thailand is predominantly a Buddhist country, and the soles of the feet are seen as being the lowest part of the human spirit. Therefore, to place such lowly parts on chairs, cushions, or in view of peoples faces are seen as rude and uncouth. Never point with your feet, and if you drop money on the floor, do not step on it to stop it. The King’s head is on all of the money in Thailand, and to place your foot on his face will lead you to inadvertently commit a crime in the country.


Try To Avoid Thai Swear Words


Thai’s may love to use western swear words, but they are not so receptive when they hear their own swear words used on them. Sure, you may think it is funny or in-the-know to call a Thai a buffalo or monitor lizard, but these are actually very serious insults. Also, not every Thai woman is a bar maid, nor is every teenager a troublemaker.


Don’t Touch Peoples Heads


The head is seen as the peak of the spiritual body. So, to touch someone’s head is seen as bad manners. This is more of an issue when it comes to touching the head of someone older than you. For children, it is typically not a problem.


Don’t Shout


Thais have the whole concept of ‘saving face’ down to a fine art. This means that Thais do not like being made to look stupid. The majority of Thai people are humble and reserved, so to raise your voice in public is seen as very bad form. Unfortunately, if you cause a Thai to ‘lose face’ you may find yourself in trouble with them quite quickly.


Haggle With Vendors


Haggling and bargaining for reduced prices are all part of the fun of shopping in Thailand. However, do not be insulting by offering a low-ball figure like 20% of the asking price. A good guide is to start at 60% of the stated price and work your way up to around 70%. If you can’t get a price you want, move along.


Topless Men In Malls


Thailand has got some of the most amazing malls in the world. However, all too often tourists enter the mall as if they were on a beach. Appropriate clothing for the mall is a minimum of shorts and a vest. It is not appropriate to enter a mall, temple, or public park without your shirt on.


Derogatory Words Toward The Royal Family


Thailand is fiercely proud of its royal family, and to talk badly of them would result in lèse-majesté. lèse-majesté is the breaking of the law by verbally or mentally insulting the ruling sovereign. These laws also apply to the army and religion too. This should really be common sense – most countries don’t take kindly to outsiders insulting their leadership (except maybe the USA and Canada who seem to encourage it at times). You’re probably in Thailand to enjoy yourself, either in business or as a tourist, so it’s not likely you’ll find yourself inclined to commenting on the nation politically – but if for some reason you get the urge, just don’t.



All in all, Thailand is a beautiful country, and one full of life, love, and luxury. Avoiding these few simple taboos will go a long way in making the most of your trip, and you will be guaranteed the time of your life.


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Medicinal Plants of Thailand

turmeric, lemon grass and other thai medicinal spices

Thailand is home to some of the richest medicinal botanicals in the world. Much like China, Thailand’s culture is steeped in a rich history of homeopathic treatments using the very plants around them. While the the Fintech and pharmaceutical trades may now lead the way across the country, many of its rural inhabitants hold onto the knowledge they possess about the best medicinal plants. So, what are the most utilized medicinal plants in Thailand?


1-         Turmeric


Turmeric has only recently exploded onto the health scene in the western world over the last few years. However, Thais have long regarded the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits it offers highly. It has been used as a treatment for arthritis for many years and continues to remain as popular as ever.


2-         Noni (Morinda Citrifolia)


Noni is not exclusive to Thailand, but it has long been held as a treatment for impotence among older Thai men. The Noni plant belongs to the same family as the coffee plant, however, the fruit and leaves have a rather unique and at times foul odor. The leaves are often added to som-tam dishes (papaya salad) and the fruits are dried and ground into powders for supplements.


3-         Kafir Lime


Kafir lime leaves are more than just excellent for adding flavor to food. The kafir lime, (Muhkroot) is also used as a tonic to prevent hair loss due to male pattern baldness. It is also used as a tonic to strengthen hair and remove excessive oil. Many of the best hair loss tonics will be mixed with a menthol base to help with better absorption.


4-         Lemongrass


Often used to flavor Tom Yum, lemongrass is also grown for its anti-mosquito properties. Lemongrass is often boiled for several hours to extract its distinctive lemon fragrance and then sprayed on the skin as a repellant. Lemongrass is also seen as a good way to calm bloating and flatulence.


5-         Bitter Cucumber


Bitter cucumber, also known as bitter melon is found across Thailand and is primarily used to help control Type II diabetes. The compounds found in the fruit lend themselves to a blood sugar stabilizing effect. They are also used to help with gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea.


6-         Mulberry


You will find the mighty mulberry tree growing across Issan and the North of the country. The mulberry tree plays host to the silkworm, which is famed for creating the delicate Thai silk. The mulberry tree is much more than a worm farm though, it also provides a source of high-fiber fruits which are thought to help ward off dementia, prevent redness of the face, and boost the immune system.


7-         Garlic


Wild garlic is one of the most commonly used medicinal plants to help with immune conditions. Garlic is often incorporated into Thai food in enormous quantities. Its powerful flavor goes hand in hand with its powerful immune boosting effects. Garlic can be found growing on just about every scrap of land across Issan and is commonly grown among chili plants. Garlic is also used to help cleanse the blood.


These are just a few of the more commonly grown plants used for medicinal purposes. There are of course much more than this. Take, for example, the Mangosteen tree, Parsley, bitternuts, etc. Thailands tropical climate makes it a perfect place to grow plants quickly and easily, and medicinal plant farming is now becoming big business.


Many plants used in homeopathic treatments come from countries such as Thailand and China, and there are centuries of evidence-based use behind them. It may be easy to head to a pharmacy and grab the treatments you need over the counter, but natural medicine will always have its place in the world.


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What to Do in Railay Beach

One of the all-time favorite destinations for travelers and tourists around the world flocking to Thailand, Railay is home to some of the most breathtaking beaches, magnificent cliffs, and a laid-back attitude and atmosphere that you just aren’t going to be able to find anywhere else on the planet.

railay beach at night

Loaded to the brim with all kinds of engaging activities, attractions, and opportunities for adventure – as well as the effortless option of kicking back on any of the gorgeous beaches of Railay and just mellowing out – you’ll definitely want to make sure that you carve out a block of time on your itinerary to Thailand to spend as much of it in Railay as you can.


Take the Four Islands Tour


The Four Islands Tour is a little bit of a misnomer, considering the fact that there’s only going to be three stops on this excursion – before you return to Railay Beach, of course – but each of the individual three mini-destinations is sure to make this excursion well worth it.


You’ll hop from one island to the next, each of them more beautiful than on the last, and will have an opportunity to adventure out into these islands in a way that other travelers won’t be able to experience elsewhere. This is a great way to experience Thailand – truly immersive and accessible in a manner not common on these kinds of tours.


Relax on Railay Beach


As we highlighted above, Railay is one of the best places to just kind of kick back and relax when you are visiting Thailand. There are literally miles and miles of beaches to enjoy, surrounded by signature limestone cliff faces and some of the most picturesque experiences in landscapes you’ll ever find in all of Southeast Asia.


Things get pretty busy during the most active season of the year (between December and April), so if you want to find this beach as uncluttered and uncrowded as possible you’ll want to visit before 10 AM during this stretch of time throughout the year.


Go rock climbing on any of the Railay Beach cliffs


With so many awe-inspiring limestone cliffs around the Railay area, if you normally like a little exercise on your trips you’d have to be a little bit crazy to pass up the opportunity to explore as many of the cliffs as possible – even if you don’t have a lot of climbing experience (or any climbing experience, for that matter).


What better way to truly get your hands a little dirty while taking in the landscape? Chartered rock-climbing adventures are generally offered daily by experienced climbers and safety personnel, with extra providers available during the high season.  A little intimidated?  Don’t be!  Climbs for all skill levels are available and all equipment, instruction and snacks and water are provided by most guide services doing business here.


Investigate Pranang Cave


Also known as the “Princess Cave”, this cave holds one of the more unusual attractions you’ll find anywhere in the Railay Beach area.


Tiny wooden penises are carved and placed into this cave by local fishermen, as the ancient ritual says that this kind of offering will grant them their wishes, safe travels on the water, and a bounty of fish that they wouldn’t have been able to catch otherwise.


Climb the Railay Beach Viewpoint and wade into the lagoon

Railay beach Map

The Railay Beach Viewpoint is a must visit location when you are spending time here in Thailand, especially because after your climb you’ll be rewarded with an opportunity to wait out into one of the most beautiful natural lagoons anywhere in Southeast Asia. This is an adventure that can really round out the time that you spend in the Railay region, and you want to make sure that you don’t miss out on everything that is unique excursion has to offer!




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Hot Startup Opportunities in Thailand

Thailand has more to offer than gilded architecture, sugar-sand beaches and a fleet of distinctive, three-wheeled ‘tuktuks”. It’s also a great place for entrepreneurs. If you’re exploring new startup opportunities, you should know that Thailand’s technology sector is definitely booming. This means that tech-related startups abound.

thai startup opportunities

In 2016, The Thai Venture Capital Association spearheaded the creation of a venture fund which is currently valued at five hundred and seventy million USD. In 2017, a company called CVC Capital Partners (which is Thailand-based) began setting up a fund for startup investment, to the tune of two hundred and fifty million dollars. All of this good news comes courtesy of the NIA (National Innovation Agency) which operates in Thailand.


Also, the average value of deal-funding in the country’s startup business niche has gone up dramatically. It used to be just sixty thousand US dollars back in 2012. Now, it’s over $1,000,000. (This data comes from Tech in Asia.)


Is a Fintech Startup Right for You?


The Fintech niche is growing exponentially all over the world, including Thailand. If you’re interested in putting your investment capital into a financial services technology startup, you’ll find that this Asian country offers some fantastic business opportunities. Of course, you may want to bring your own Fintech idea or work-in-progress to Thailand and launch it here, taking advantage of the accommodating business climate.


If you do prefer to invest, you’ll find that the best startups tend to make e-payments simpler for consumers. One example is startup Rabbit, which offers an consumer focused e-payment system. Another is API Omise, which also provides online payment tech. E-wallet startup, DeepPocket, is also a lucrative investment opportunity. Fintech is a huge and growing force within Southeast Asia. It’s the ideal complement to successful logistics companies, including aCommerce, which is based in Bangkok. Consumers want more e-payment solutions and Thailand startups are delivering!


Additionally, the Thai government provides a lot of support to budding businesses. It’s got the right regulations in place and a fair tax scale, as well as a variety of national electronic payment initiatives, one of which is known as PromptPay.


Food Tech Is a Smart Option


Did you know that the global demand for Sriracha, which is a spicy Thai sauce, gets bigger every day? Also, Thai cuisine is beloved all over the globe. Nonetheless, food tech actually had a slow start in Thailand. Now, it’s becoming a startup niche that holds a great deal of promise. The Chief Executive Officer of Eatigo, Michael Cluzel, who is also the platform’s co-founder, believes that Southeast Asian citizens are going to start dining out more frequently due to increasing wage levels. Stats show that the typical monthly salary in Thailand was a little over four hundred US dollars, as of the close of 2016.


If Cluzel’s projection comes to pass, food tech startups which are ready to take advantage of the uptick in business will be primed for profits. Over the next five years, Thailand’s leaders plan to make the nation one of the world’s premier halal food exporters. If this plan is successful, it would put Thailand in the top five in this sector of the food export industry. The plan began in 2016 and should bring peak results by 2020.


Worldwide, the industry for halal food is anticipated to be valued at over a trillion American dollars by 2030. The majority of Muslims live in the Asia Pacific or South Asia regions, or were born there. These people want halal food and they are located so close to Thailand!


Invest in Beautiful Thailand


Whether you choose to invest in a food tech or Fintech startup, or another form of business opportunity within Thailand, you’ll have a great chance of enjoying a successful launch assuming everything passes your due diligence.

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