Thailand: Business Etiquette


History-rich, colorful and dynamic Thailand presents itself not only as a great hiking and vacation destination, but also as a growing business market. I have visited Thailand on numerous occasions and quickly discovered a few customs that transfer from social to business worlds.

Here are three tips when conducting business with companies in Thailand.

Tip #1: Greet with Respect 

The traditional Thai greeting is known as the “wai”. This should be used when you greet someone of equal or superior social status as yourself or an elder. The wai consists of placing your hands together, in a prayer position, and touching them to your head or chest. The higher your hands are indicate the level of respect you are trying to convey. Generally, this is also accompanied by a small bow or nod of the head. It is likely that you will be invited to use first names within a relatively short time after introductions, but when meeting someone for the first time, always use their title and surname.

Tip #2: Study the Cards

Business cards are commonly exchanged in Thailand. When giving and receiving cards, make sure you only use your right hand. Treat the cards you receive with respect by showing your interest in them. You should read them and putting them carefully in a case or pocket. If you are handing out cards to Thai colleagues, it would be a good idea to have one side translated in Thai. 

Tip #3: Respect Local Traditions

Thailand is a very diverse country, and its culture is made up of a wide range of influences from different sources. Including Indian, Chinese, and other cultures in Southeast Asia’s culture. Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist country, where teachings and philosophy also play a big part in the formation of Thai culture. The prototypical Thai expression is a serene and welcoming smile, which is reflective of the friendly and welcoming people. Generally in Thailand, there is an underlying desire to attain ‘refinement’ and to avoid actions which could be considered coarse or rude.

การเดินทางมีความสุข: Happy Travels!

August 14, 2019