Culture Matters: Touchy Feely-ness

Thailand, as an Asian culture, has different rules for where and when to touch other people. This can take a bit of time to sink in for PCVs and others making the leap to live in Thailand in the long-term.

Basic Overview:
1. Hugging is (probably) a no-go along with other forms of large, expressive ways of affection, especially for couples- kissing, arms around each other, and hand holding.
2. Gender plays a large role in Thai physical relationships and touch each other differently than the average American male or female.
3. Something I forgot to mention in the video, be very careful about touching a Thai on the head!!! As a Buddhist country, Thais believe the head is the highest and most holy part of the body. This can be hard to remember when you want to ruffle that cute kid’s hair, but try to avoid it unless you are extremely close with that person.
4. The type of relationship (or want to build) has a big effect on the kind of touching you give or receive.
5. As an outsider, you are an object of curiosity for Thai people and some people will be very excited to touch or grab you without realizing this can be a major invasion of personal space for you. Try to realize they usually don’t mean to be hurtful, they’re (probably) just really fascinated by the differences between you and them.


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