Removing Shoes, Bangkok
Religion has an important part in life for many people in Thailand. And Buddhism is the main religion. Praying and sacrificing with incense and flowers are ways of showing respect to god. Take of your shoes when you enter a temple, never point at Thai people with your feet and be careful if you touch their head.
Whenever you enter a religious building (Buddhist temple, Mosque, etc), you must first remove your shoes prior to entering. So, sandals with closed heals or other shoes easily removed and put on are a good idea.
It is alright to wear shoes when you are walking around the grounds of a Buddhist temple, but not inside the chapel where the Buddha image is kept. Females should also ensure that their shoulders and legs are covered before they enter the temple. Please be respectful and do not wear shorts.
It is a general custom all around Thailand that you do not wear shoes or flip flops when entering certain places. Generally this is the way for restaurants, internet cafes and most shops, although you are not expected to do so in shopping centres!
Before you go into the bot (interior and sacred part of the wat) you must take your shoes off. There are usually nice little shelves for this. Otherwise you just push them to the side-neatly, so others can get by.
As the picture says, they are not responsible for shoe thieves. I have never heard any incidents of this-but if you are worried about this, you can put them in a bag and carry them with you.
At most temple, women and men wear shoes that slip off easily and the put to the side. At Wat Phra Kaew, you are not allowed to wear shoes that are open toed or show the heel. They don't enforce this too much. They will enforce the clothes part. For shoes, it's not bad to wear snearkers anway. You will be doing a lot of walking and then standing on pavement that's hot or quite dirty (due to all the people visiting).
For instance, at Wat Phra Kaew and some others, when you sit in the bot of the wat with others. Never point your feet or toes at a Buddha image. If there are many-just worry about the main image up front. women should sit with their legs to the side.
Thais like to show off our feet to one another. JOKING. No we're not a foot fetish or anything like that. No offense to those who are...
Its our way to take off shoes before entering a house. How can you not? Look at the streets, there you see doggies' poop..this and that everywhere.
This also is a must for when you go to a temple.
Even though nowadays, we pamper our feet more like a foot massage or some beauty treatment or product just for feet.. We still regard them as the lowest and hmm dirtiest part of the body.
When you go into some stores or places you are required to remove your shoes, you just take them off and leave them at the front door, if its a busy place you may loose your shoes in amongst the other, but there allway there some where.
So just repect there customs and ways and you will have a great time of it
Remember to remove your shoes when entering temples. This is a sign of respect for Buddha. You should have no trouble at the larger, and busier temples because there will be a pile of shoes at the entrance. Once inside the temple, never point the soles of your feet at the statue of Buddha.
Many of Bangkoks most important "must sees" are wats. Wat is the Thai word for a Buddhist Temple. From Wat Arun to the Royal Palace Temple of the Emerald Buddha, these places are all wats. Here is my list of thingst thar are very important to know and consider when at any wat in Thailand.
1) Take off your shoes when entering a room where there is a Buddha image.
2) NEVER point the bottom of your feet at a Buddha image.
3) NEVER sit with your legs extended in front of you inside a wat building.
4) NEVER touch a Buddha image.
5) NEVER stand higher than a Buddha image.
6) Do not openly turn your back on a Buddha image.
7) Obey any rules that you are given about a place.
It is a common and expected practise to remove ones shoes when entering the Temples(Vats). Thais are a non-confrontational people and do not like to argue or talk in loud voices. They respond to smiling faces and courteous and mild demeanor. Songran is a celebration of the Thai new year. It is marked by the splashing of water and a white talcum powder-paste on each other and tourist alike.
Here are some social customs which I think will come in very handy when you are in Bangkok or anywhere else in Thailand. Remember, what is acceptable in Bangkok may not be in the countryside where the old ways are still prevalent and people are more conservative. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Thais do not normally shake hands when they greet one another, but instead press their palms together in a prayer like gesture called a 'wai'. Generally, a younger person wais an elder, who returns it. Watch how the Thais do it, and you will soon learn!
It is considered rude to point your foot at a person, so try to avoid doing so when sitting opposite anyone, and following the conception that the foot is a low limb; DO NOT point your foot to show anything to anyone but use your finger instead. And please AVOID placing your feet on the table while sitting.
Losing your temper, especially in public, will more than likely get you nowhere. The Thais (who are really a very mild mannered and gentle group of people) think that such displays denote poor manners, and you are more able to get what you want by keeping calm and concealing your emotions.
Do not be surprised if you are addressed by your first name: for instance, Mr. Tom or Miss Krystynn instead of by your surname. This is because Thais refer to one another in this manner, usually with the title 'Khun' (i.e. Mr, Mrs or Miss) in front. Follow the customs of the country as far as possible, and you will make more friends during your stay! :-)
When entering a Thai house, you're expected to remove your shoes. So please DON'T forget it.
Beckon waiters at any restaurants with a wave of a hand if you need to catch their attention. DO NOT clap, snap fingers, whistle or hiss at them! Such gungho behavior is considered terribly rude here in Thailand.
Photo Below: The ancient ruins of AYUTHAYA.