Social Status: Phu Noi and Phu Yai

Thailand is becoming an increasingly popular touristic destination as more and more people from all over the world have the financial means and the curiosity to discover a different part of the world. This is basically why the Thailand tourism has kept on increasing in popularity and thus increasing the economic growth of the country. Thailand holidays can be organized in various ways. Those who do not mind their pockets can arrange their Thailand vacation with a tourism agency which will most likely take care of everything. For the low cost travelers there are different ways to organize their trip for a smaller budget. Yet, as it is a different part of the world, future travelers need to understand that some things are different here. And one of them is the social status and the ways in which people judge themselves or other individuals by comparison to a common standard.

The society in Thailand tends to be quite different than the one in the western hemisphere. As in many other parts of the world the social relationships are often defined by the age, wealth and personal or political power of the individual. Moreover, societal relationships are also governed by connections between ‘big’ people (Phu Yai) and ‘little’ people (Phu Noi). When meeting a new individual, a person from Thailand is most likely to assess the social status of the new individual in regards to their Phu Yai or Phu Noi status. This is an important custom in the Thai culture and society as these relationships are governed by a set of mutual obligations that requires the Phu Noi to defer to Phu Yai through obedience and respect. On the other hand, the Phu Yai have the obligation to care for the Phu Noi in the sense of offering them assistance and favors when they are requested as such.