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A couple of Thai cultural questions

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When I travel, I like to be respectful of local customs/culture. Is it appropriate for a tourist to use the wai gesture, and if so, in what circumstances? Also, I know that temples require appropriate attire, no bare shoulders, knees covered. However, I read in my guidebook that Wat Phra Kaew/Temple of the Emerald Buddha, doesn't allow sandals. Is this true, and is it true of other wats as well? I had the idea that you might be asked to remove your shoes. I really want to be able to wear sandals but don't want to be denied admission anywhere. Thanks.

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