The Thai are very friendly people. Some tourists have said that the Thai are some of the nicest people they have ever met. This comes from the region’s Buddhist influence. The typical Thai is always smiling, very polite, helpful and always happy. They will go out of their way to help you and even translate for you. They also treat guests very well. If you have ever made friends with a Thai, the next time he sees you, he will give you a big smile and a hug. No wonder, Thailand is called, ‘land of smiles.’
Nearly 95% of the people are Buddhists (Theravada). Theravada Buddhism is supported by the government and the monks receive many government benefits, like free bus travel. The traditional Thai greeting is the wai, which is performed with folded hands and a slight bow of the head. It is similar to the ‘Anjali mudra’ of the Indian subcontinent. In other ways, the Thai are very conservative and they don’t show PDAs (public displays of affection). Touching the head, unless you are an elder is considered rude. Most Thai don’t speak English (but the Thai will make every effort to understand you) so it is a good idea to learn basic Thai phrases before you come here.