For anyone traveling to a foreign country, it’s vital to do a bit of research before going there. Some rules and regulations may be customary, while others are serious offenses that the law could punish. There’s no better example of this than Phuket, Thailand.
Like the other countries in South East Asia, Thailand has its own rules, customs, and laws for the locals and tourists. They are generally easy to follow and only require a bit of awareness and effort. It’s also worth noting that most of these rules are meant to protect Thailand’s national culture, values, and traditions.
This article lists essential things that you must never, ever do while you’re in Phuket. Read on below to learn more.
#1 – Disrespect the Royal Family
It’s important to know that Thailand is a constitutional monarchy, meaning that its head of the state is a monarch. The king of Thailand is the longest-reigning monarch in the world, with his reign spanning over 70 years.
All Thai people are required to show respect to their monarch and avoid anything that may anger the royal family. This means that you must not use any disparaging remarks about the monarchy in public. You need to avoid anything that may offend this institution, like wearing clothing or disrespecting the royal symbols.
If you’re caught doing these things, you could face a jail time of up to 15 years, which you don’t want to happen.
#2 – Visiting Temples While Wearing Short or Tight Clothes
Places of worship like temples and mosques are sanctuaries that everyone must respect. To protect the place, visitors must dress respectfully. You must cover your shoulders, knees, and legs. You are also required to remove your shoes before entering the temple.
The standard dress code is long trousers and shirts while you’re inside the temple, and even long pants and shirts while you’re outside. You also need to keep your shoulders covered, so wearing a strapless dress or a thin vest is not a good idea. Women are advised to dress conservatively to respect the religion and culture of Thailand.
#3 – Touching a Monk
Monks are known for their strict discipline and an austere lifestyle. They have taken vows of poverty and have vowed to walk only the path of purity and self-denial. This means that monks are not allowed to have any form of physical contact with women.
While you’re in Thailand, you need to ensure that you don’t touch a monk or give them anything to eat. In fact, you should avoid looking at a monk or even talking to them. If you happen to see a monk in the street, don’t stop and ask for directions or directions to a temple. Just walk past them and keep going.
#4 – Buying Buddha Statues as Souvenirs
You must be aware that it’s illegal to buy Buddha statues as souvenirs in Thailand. This is because making Buddha statues and other related items is actually a job for monks and not for laymen.
It’s also a crime to export any Buddha statue from Thailand. Some people buy Buddhas as souvenirs because they were too cheap and too obvious to buy. However, you must make sure that you only buy souvenirs made in Thailand and those made by local artists. Additionally, the only way you can get away with buying a Buddha statue is if it’s proven to be a registered item.
#5 – Collecting Coral Shells to Take Home
It’s common for travelers or tourists to gather shells and other pieces of coral as souvenirs. However, you must know that it’s illegal to take any corals or shells from the waters of Thailand to keep as souvenirs.
This is because one of the most popular tourist destinations in Phuket is Phang Nga Bay, which is known for its natural beauty. The government has marked the areas where you can take shells and corals. If you have a shell or coral that’s not on the list and it’s not proven to be a registered item, you might be caught and fined.
Remember that it’s your responsibility to respect the culture and traditions of the country you’re visiting as a tourist. Phuket is a beautiful place that offers a lot of things to do and explore, and you don’t want to risk losing your precious freedom and getting in trouble with the law just because you broke rules that exist in Thailand.
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