The traditional and most common greeting in Thailand is called the "wai". How the gesture is performed depends entirely on the relationship between the people, and there are many variations. Generally a person places the palms of the hands together, with fingers extended at chest level, and bows slightly. A younger person will greet first, and an older person will respond with a "wai" in a lower position. The higher one's hands are placed, the more respect is shown. Bows and curtsies are also more pronounced to show greater respect.Thai typically address each other by first name and use last names for more formal circumstances.
Traditionally, success is measured by a person's wealth and education. Wealth is generally looked on as a reflection of virtue. Thais are a reserved people and usually consider criticism of others to be poor taste. A sense of humor, laughter, and a pleasant, smiling attitude are highly regarded.
Wealth can be described in the following classes: Upper class: Can buy a big house downtown, have a European car or many cars, they can travel out of the country every few months for vacation. The medium wealth class can buy a house, have an SUV or sports car. Their children can attend an international school and they can travel up-country once a year. The poor typically rent a house in the "slum" community.