I'm planning to visit Thailand, so I would like to know some simple local "rules" to interact with monks respecting Theravada tradition, I want to avoid behaving like a tourist that (not intentionaly) breaks the protocols, also I want to maximize the experience there, so I will list some specific topics:

  • How to approach to do dana? Can I offer to buy food for them or should I just give the food?

  • How to interact in temples or centres, can a lay person start a conversation or would it be distracting therefore not a good idea?

  • Should one bend or prostate to the monks? Or make the gesture with the hands (similar to praying)? In what occasions?

  • Any specific advise for women when interacting with Bikkhus? Not touching them? I assume they should avoid some revealing clothes as well.

  • Any other specific advise?

Many thanks!

2 Answers 2


You will see the monks in the early morning going on a procession called Pindapata, or Bindabat in Thai (at least I think that's how it's spelled). That is the time you will want to offer Dana. Approach with the food and they will uncover the alms bowl and let you put the food in.

When approaching a monk you should always put your hands together at about heart level facing forwards and bowing your head so your forehead is parallel with your hands. Here is a link that talks about how to do it with a nice picture with three examples. With monks, do the version shown on the far right: http://www.phuket.com/magazine1/dos.htm

Women aren't allowed to have physical contact with monks and when receiving offerings other than food in their alms bowl in Thailand they will lay out a white cloth for you to set the offering on.

I'll edit more in if I think of anything.


You should be mindful of some of the Vinaya rules like not eating after noon.

If you are a lady don't meet the monks alone.

When sitting in the presence of a monk choose a lower chair.

Remove foot wear inside the monastery.

Wear clothes which are modest and cover your self well. No shorts, mini skirts, see through dresses, etc.

  • Thanks and how about giving food and bending? These are my main doubts
    – konrad01
    Sep 11, 2014 at 19:05
  • +1 for this also. Place the food in the bowl if you see a monk doing his alms round and bend with your hands together. Sep 11, 2014 at 19:09

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