Thailand Business Etiquette Basics: What you Need to Know…

June 29th, 2021

Whether you are considering expanding your enterprise to Thailand, launching a joint venture, or having important business meetings, it’s key you familiarize yourself with the business culture in “The Land of Smiles”. Thailand’s business etiquette is all about understanding Thai culture as a whole.

Learning the Thai traditional greeting, the wai, is a great start. Courtesy is very important to Thais. To perform the wai, place both hands together as if in prayer position, make a small bow with your head towards the hands without bending your waist. While you are doing this say “sawadee”, which is hello in Thai and don’t forget to be polite, respectful and smile warmly.

Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, except for some parts in the South where many people are Muslim. Most Buddhist holidays are in April and May and many businesspeople go on vacation during that time. The best time for business in Thailand is between November and March.

Many foreigners like to get straight to it when discussing business concerns. However, it’s important to build relationships first when conducting business in Thailand. A best way to establish a personal connection is to take people out to drinks or a meal and share a good time together first. Thai people value strong relationships. You need to invest time in forming relationships prior to doing business as Thai people value personal connections when conducting business.

Hierarchy is very important to Thai people in both family and professional settings. Don’t be surprised if Thai people ask you questions that may be personal at times. They are not trying to be intrusive; they just want to know where to place you in their social hierarchy to show you proper respect. Showing the appropriate respect for a person and their status is a key aspect to building successful business relationships.

Thai business etiquette make take some time getting used to. There is no need to panic though! Thai people are very warm and welcoming. They appreciate any efforts to be culturally considerate. Happy doing business in the Land of Smiles…

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