I’ve written before about what you should and shouldn’t do when you visit a Thai temple. Most people seem to know about taking their shoes off before entering inside the temple building(s). At many of the popular temples in Thailand that are frequented by tourists there are reminders in English to take off your shoes. You should also take off your shoes when entering anybody’s home and also be aware that some shops and business premises will also require you to take off your shoes before entering. What is less well-known by many overseas visitors to Thailand is that you should not step on the threshold of any building, especially raised thresholds.
The guardian spirit
In Thailand, the spirits are a part of everyday life and the raised threshold to a home or temple is reserved for the spirit guardian and also acts as a barrier to keep out evil spirits. Whether you believe in spirits or not is neither here nor there; if you are visiting Thai homes and temples, you show respect for local culture by stepping over the threshold; don’t place your foot on it. And don’t even think about sitting on it. On a recent visit to Bangkok I spotted this unfortunate trio who managed to sit on the threshold of a temple, but that was just one of a host of things they were doing wrong!