Did you Know? - Greetings in Thailand

May 10, 2017

In Thailand we don’t touch, but how do we say hello?

The Thai people don’t show his feelings. No tightening of the "handle", no hugs, few braces, nothing! "Sawatdii khrap" for men and "Sawatdii khaa" for women is the greeting formula that Thai people usually use when they meet or when they leave ... But they join to their welcome formula a gesture, Le Waï.

The gesture in itself is a Waï (pronounced "why" in English). To do the Waï, you just have to clasp your hands as to pray and put them at chin height, accompanied by a slight inclination of the head. This gesture is a mark of respect for the interlocutor, more the hands are carried high, more respect for the interlocutor is big. There are four different types of Waï depending on the person to greet:

- Hands clasped at the torso are used with friends or colleagues. To say hello or goodbye.
- Hands joined to the chin, it’s the Waï respectful of his parents and his elders. The younger ones will use this Waï while the older ones will respond with a normal Waï.
- Hands clasped at the nose, it is the Waï of respect to important people. This Waï is reserved for directors, the ministers etc ... To the extent that one wants to show them respect. It is generally accompanied by a slight inclination of the head.
- Hands clasped between his eyes is the Waï of kings, monks and Buddha. It is generally accompanied by a strong inclination of the head.



If someone greet you by doing the Waï gesture, it is good to respond to this greeting in the same way, by doing, too, the gesture of the Waï, out of respect. Know that, there is no Waï for children, just a smile will be great.

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