Do’s and Don’ts When Visiting Thailand Temples

Thai temples also known as “wats” are the beautiful representations of historical and cultural significance. Buddhism is a central element of Thailand culture. Monks have a certain identity and are surprisingly friendly and many speak English and have kept up with the times.

Thai temples are usually located in a courtyard with housing and small worship areas. The sheltered areas with Buddha statues are known as Bots. These areas are considered more sacred and as such rules of etiquette should be followed.


  • Step over the threshold not on it when walking into a temple
  • Dress modestly covering your knees and shoulders
  • Remove your hats, sunglasses, shoes before entering


  • Never turn your back away from the Buddha statue but rather back away facing the statue
  • Don’t touch sacred objects in the worship area
  • Do not raise yourself higher than the image of the Buddha
  • Sit with your legs underneath you when worshiping in the Bots area. Avoid pointing your feet at the image of the Buddha


  • If you are sitting, stand up when monks or nuns enter the Bot
  • Use your right hand when giving or receiving something from a monk
  • Women are not allowed to touch a monk or his robes or cross their legs in the presence of a monk
  • Treat monks with the highest respect
  • Don’t point at a monk or Buddha statue, either with your fingers or feet.


  • Don’t touch a Buddha
  • Smoking, spitting, chewing gum, or eating are not allowed
  • Don’t photograph or disturb monks or others who are worshiping
  • Learn a few basic phrases in Thai, like ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’
  • Turn off your mobile phone
  • Keep your voice low at all times


6 thoughts on “Do’s and Don’ts When Visiting Thailand Temples”

  1. I guess most of etiquette list looks very similar to the unwritten rules of visiting a temple here in India. We never show our back towards the holy statue. No shoes, no cell phones… guess without doubt I would be very comfortable if I had to visit a Thai temple in the future….

  2. I have the plan to visit Thailand and the temples from so long, and I’ve always been checking out posts all around. Reading yours was tremeduous and i guess of course there are rules when you’re visiting some, since they are temples and it’s a religious thing for Indians. No shoes and no cell phones are a minimum but I guess when you’re living in such a connecting time, it doesn’t seem normal to let go of Snapchat!

  3. My partner and I are planning to visit Thailand in May this year so this is a great list! As a photographer, I’m happy I learnt not to photograph the monks!

    I’ve saved it on my phone as a reminder when we travel there! Thank you 🙂

  4. I wish I had read this a few months ago as I went to Thailand last summer! Some of these are obvious but a lot of them I did not know about. For example, I did not know that you should never turn your back away from the Buddha statue but back away facing the statue instead. How interesting! I am not sure I adhered to this rule 🙁

  5. I don’t know so much about how to behave in a temple. Didn’t know I could not turn my back to Buddha images. It’s great to read this because Thailand is on my wish list. And then when I am dare I would like to make a good impression.

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