Thai Social Etiquette: Greetings



Any culture has it's book teaching the official version of 'good manners'. In Thailand, this book was published by the Royal Thai Ministry of Culture. Unfortunately, the booklet is hard to get. Therefore, we publish it's content here. This publication is remarkable in more than one way, not only for its level of detail (you might miss the advice to brush your teeth daily when in Thailand, however). This booklet is also seen as evidence for the spirit of cultural bureaucracy and education in Thailand.

Chapter I: Greeting
Thai Social Etiquette, Ministry of Culture, by Malithat Promathatavedi

In Thailand, people in general greet one another with the word Sawatdi. This word can be used at all times of day. A male would add the word khrap and a female the word kha after Sawatdi to show politeness. The word Sawatdi can also be used when taking leave of someone or saying good-bye.
If the persons are friends or about the same age, the word Sawatdi alone is sufficient for greeting.  A wai is a gesture of pressing the palms together in the position of a budding lotus at chest level, with the fingertips touching the tip of the nose. There are three levels of wai.

1. For the Buddha images or the monks only

2. For parents, teachers, senior relatives, and the elderly

3. For respected persons in general including persons of the same status

I you are interested then read the whole article - I have not seen it other than on this link.