When dining with locals and exploring the city it’s tempting to give out gifts as a way of saying thank you. But, remember to avoid giving them the following gifts: clocks, handkerchiefs, shoes and anything white or black. They may seem like an innocent way of saying thank you for their lovely hospitality, but they’re each strongly associated with death and funerals. An alternative gift to pass on to your new companions is delicious sweets or fresh tea.
This is probably one of the more unusual customs to look out for, but it’s also a lot of fun – especially for your kids! Every November, in the town of Lop Buri, the locals dish up platters of fresh fruit, cakes and candy on top of tables that line the streets. But these mouth-watering treats aren’t just for the people, they’re for the native Macaque monkeys to munch on. This slightly bizarre but wonderful celebration is called the Monkey Buffet Festival, and is a must-see on an Asia cruise to Thailand.
Another weird and wonderful holiday is the Spanish El Colacho, which dates all the way back to 1620. Men dressed as devils group together to run and jump over babies lying on a mattress in the middle of the road. Originally, this was seen as a way to cleanse babies of sin and prepare them for a healthy life, but we wouldn’t recommend doing this back home!