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Thailand Land of Smiles

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Why is Thailand the Land of the Smiles…

Thailand is often referred to as the land of the smiles, and that is truly is. But to the Thai’s, a smile can mean so much more than enjoyment, and as a visitor to the country it’s handy to understand what other meanings these expressions can convey.

So what is about the Thai smile that makes it so encompassing? Well as we in the west may use smile to show our sarcastic side, the Thais use their smiles for a number of reasons, that’s why you’ll see so regularly.

thailand smiles what they mean 300x469 Thailand Land of Smiles

Thai Smile Can Mean One Of Several Emotions

The greeting smile is something most people in the world do, but the Thai’s will use it in almost every circumstance from formal to informal. In the same respect, if a Thai person smiles at you, it doesn’t always mean they are interested in you, they are simply saying hello.

The nervous smile is another expression visitors are likely to notice. When Thais feel uneasy in social situations they often smile to make themselves feel better.

Image Credit: Tevaprapas Makklay, 2008.

‘I don’t know’ is phrase that many Thais replace with a smile, especially if they are feeling nervous. Even serious questions at the hospital or police station can be met with the ‘I don’t know’ smile. In this situation the Thai’s are never trying to make fun of the person, they are simple responding how society has taught them, with a non-confrontational smile.

When things go wrong the Thai’s will often show an encouraging smile, as opposed to getting angry. This can lead to confusing when they smile at a mistake a foreigner has made, but again they are not making fun, they are simply trying to lighten the situation.

The force smile is something visitor will notice in many tourist areas. It’s often the case that workers are simply not happy in the job, but you’ll still get the obviously forced smile to keep the peace.


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