Visiting your girlfriend’s parents is daunting in any country, and it is certainly no different in Thailand. The difference in culture never minds the language barriers make things even harder. However, one thing that is comforting is that they will probably be as nervous as you, although it is almost certain that they won’t show it.
What to do when you first meet them
- Wai to all adults – there are likely to be quite a few there to meet you but go to your girlfriend’s mother first
- Say “Sawadee Khrap” which is means “hello” as is a friendly greeting
- When entering the property make sure you take off your shoes
- Only sit when asked which may be on the floor
- Your girlfriend may want you to take a gift, this may be money and is normal even if a little frustrating
- Smile and be friendly even when you don’t know what is being said. They will be interested in you and are likely to be trying to be friendly
- Ask your girlfriend for help
What NOT to do
- Never be overly affectionate with your girlfriend in public – this is frowned upon in Thai culture
- Never touch anyone’s head even in jest
- Never point with your feet or show the sole of your foot to anyone
- Don’t appear in a rush to leave
It should be also be noted that if you stay with your girlfriend’s family you will be expected to pay for almost everything and a financial contribution when you leave will also be expected. Should things go well, you may want to take your Thai girlfriend to meet your family in the UK. If that is the case, your Thai girlfriend would need to visit the UK on a UK Tourist Visa.