Thailand’s dating culture is centered on love, appreciation, and social responsibility. This is rooted in the country’s sanuk lifestyle — which means fun and enjoyment. With this, Thais know to be content in life, joyful in their work, devoted to their families, loyal to their leaders, helpful to their neighbors, and welcoming to the visitors.
Get to know about the dating customs in Thailand and learn how to better navigate the country’s dating landscape. Read on!
Dating Customs in Thailand You Need to Know
1. The central concepts of Thailand’s dating customs are respect and freedom.
Thailand’s dating practices differ in rural and urban areas.
In the countryside, people mostly follow conservative ways. Dating in the provinces heavily involves the family and requires the approval of parents. The dating stage is synonymous with an exclusive relationship. The parent’s decision is based mainly on the man’s capability to provide, the woman’s competence to take care of a family, and the couple’s compatibility.
These are all also important in dating in big cities such as Bangkok and Phuket. However, the singles in these urbanized places have since adapted to Western ways. They place more regard on their freedom when choosing who to date and how the relationship will go. The parents have also evolved to trust their offspring in their choices and offer advice and guidance.
Even with this contrast, both share the same principle: Respect and freedom are essential in dating.
2. Traditional gender roles are still majorly observed.
Along with modernization is the rise of gender equality movements. Women now feel empowered to challenge traditional roles and overcome limitations.
While they receive this shift in society well, most Thai people still place the financial aspects of dating to the men and the nurturing to the women.
When going out, men are expected to plan the destination and bonding activities. Men also expectedly pay the bills. In the rural areas, the suitors woo their prospects’ families with material things or monetary gifts. It is somewhat a demonstration of the man’s financial stability.
Even in modernized areas, it is observable but still uncommon for women to share the bill. If the woman offers to split the cost, it is just right for the man to oblige her.
The playing of these traditional gender roles and expectations between men and women are not only apparent in financial matters. It also exists in many aspects of life, such as in expressing sexuality.
Flirting and intimacy are okay for both sexes in most cases. Several traditional courting songs demonstrate women’s assertiveness when referring to marriage and sex. Curiously though, it is culturally distasteful for women to be too aggressive, so men are tasked with taking the first steps to courting and dating.
3. Nonverbal is preferred over verbal communication.
Body language plays a significant role in communicating in Thailand. You need to keep in mind many critical things such as refraining from touching the top of the head, for Thais consider it most important. Avoid also using the index finger or feet to point, because it is disrespectful.
Other etiquettes that you should remember when dating or in any gathering in Thailand is to be punctual and to speak in moderate tones. It is also good to present little tokens like sweets or trinkets as gifts.
4. Public displays of affection are generally a no-no.
Thai society may be lenient to foreigners, especially in the cities. Otherwise, the population generally finds it impolite for couples to be touchy-feely in public.
A peck on the cheek is passable. It is also acceptable to hold hands and briefly hug. Anything more will be considered unmannerly.
5. The dating culture in Thailand emphasizes the love-over-lust mentality.
The extreme difference of how Thai singles in cities and rural places date may cause confusion. However, the truth about physical intimacy in Thai dating culture is that it is orthodox.
Love and lust are two very distinct concepts in Thailand. They place more value on love (khuaam ruk) over lust (khuaam khrai). Thai people believe that only pure love merits sex and intimacy and thus deem these practices moral only after marriage.
Strange to most, this mentality seems to be entirely separate from the practice of commercial sex in the country. While it is illegal, the laws are not consistently enforced, especially in Pattaya and other megapolises like Bangkok.
If you mean to go into serious dating, though, be ready to buoy the courting phase, express affections in socially acceptable ways, and delay sexual relations until marriage.
6. There is now a healthy balance between tradition and modernization.
The disparity between dating customs in the urban and rural areas may seem large. Still, the Thai people are very open-minded. Along with the rise of tourism, foreign marriages, and globalization, the Thais have found strong footing on their culture and identity. They have shifted to adapt progressive ways while retaining their core values.
The young Thai singles have now brought the doctrine of love, respect, understanding, and social responsibility taught and passed down from elders to the realm of digital technology.
Cyberspaces have become one of the best places to meet Asian singles. 40% of Thais have utilized the internet and online dating platforms, with 47% of Thai millennials making up this figure. Yet, no matter the setting, Thailand dating customs still manifest.
Tips to Apply Thailand’s Dating Customs
1. Maximize your resources
While you’re having fun lounging and looking for dates in social places, make use of the internet to double the search.
Learn techniques on how to meet Asian singles online. Just like searching for dates in person, looking for dates online also needs tact and know-how.
Another thing that you should know is the best dating profile tips to score a date in Asia. You need to apply tactics on your online dating profile so you can charm Thai singles. Skip the selfies and opt to upload pictures of you doing your hobby or work. This will advertise not just your physical attributes but also your personality and career, which are a big deal for Thais.
Also, be honest in what kind of relationship you are looking for. This will help you and like-minded Thais in the online dating pool meet more efficiently to ultimately have a meaningful dating journey.
2. Learn and adapt to the unknown
Foreigners, in particular, should be flexible in unlearning habits and learning new things when it is due. Even for locals, moving into new areas within Thailand (particularly between urban and rural) will require flexibility.
While cruising along the country, you must be quick to adapt. Don’t worry, though — you can always let your date know if the relationship is moving too fast or too slow for you and request if you feel that some fixings are needed. Likewise, Thais will show you their ways to express affections and respect in socially satisfactory ways. In the end, remember to be polite and regardful.
3. Set clear expectations
Thai dating is passionate and profound. Even flings in Thailand are considered serious. What is important on every date is that you make a clear definition of your relationship.
Conscious and compassionate dating will save not only your dates but yourself from heartbreak, other emotional stresses, and even monetary losses. Let’s be honest, dates and maintaining great relationships cost money, especially for males in Thailand).
4. Be respectful
Every relationship is different. Even with the uniform dating customs in Thailand, it is inevitable that you and your partner will eventually need to make adjustments. Particularly in the discussion of traditional gender roles, the influence of family, and the restricting ways to show physical affection, a sincere conversation will be needed.
To cope with these roadblocks, always keep respect and freedom — the central concepts of Thai dating customs. This goes with setting boundaries, compromising, and finding alternative ways to keep the relationship growing.
5. Never stop working on improving yourself
Learning how to navigate the set ways of Thai dating will get you closer to your goals. But bettering yourself while you are at it will double your pace.
Once you are in the incredible world of Thai dating, you will see how your character will attract beautiful — inside and out! — Thai singles.
Take note of these Thailand dating customs today
Dating customs in Thailand are amazing. It is but right that most elements of it carry on to this day. The grace and resilience of Thai people to cope with the changing times and the wisdom to use modern concepts and technologies to elevate rather than deteriorate the culture is nothing short of incredible.