Thailand Gift Etiquette
  • As with many other things, such as handling money, always use your right hand to give or accept a gift.
  • Gifts are usually not opened in front of the giver; it is done later. It is customary to thank the giver outwardly for the generosity before opening the gift in private.
  • If you are asked to open a gift in front of the giver, it is considered rude to rip the wrapping paper. It should be removed carefully, fold and ser aside.
  • The gifts should be given in sets of 3 or 9 because of these numbers’ auspicious meaning in Thai culture. The number 9 sounds similar to the Thai word for “moving forward” and very important word “rice”.
  • For the weddings, the traditional gift for the couple would be money placed in the envelope in which the invitation was received.
  • If you are invited to someone’s home, it is not mandatory to bring a gift, but a small token of gratitude is always appreciated.
  • It’s advisable to opt for small, reasonably priced gifts, such as fruits, chocolates, or flowers. An expensive gift could make the recipient uncomfortable and result in them refusing to accept it.
  • Flowers, chocolates, or fruits are appropriate gifts. Avoid giving marigolds or carnations as they are associated with funerals.
  • The parents of a birthday person give either fish or birds in the same number as a gift. The birthday person sprinkles blessed water on the animals and sets them free. This tradition is believed to please the Gods.

Gift-giving is not a part of Thai culture

Gift-giving is not a part of Thai culture like it is in many other Asian countries. Gifts are not necessarily expected. If you give a gift, pay attention to the wrapping, gold and yellow colours are the best for the gift wrapping since they are considered auspicious colours. Red is also an auspicious color for gifts among Chinese Thais. Avoid black or blues, green because they are reserved for mourning. Adding bows and ribbons will make a festive finish.

Thailand Gift Etiquette
Copyright: Julia Wimmerlin
Thailand Gift Etiquette
Copyright: Julia Wimmerlin

Photography Credits

Julia Wimmerlin

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