South East Asia: The Travel Dos and Don’ts

South East Asia is a magical destination to visit, offering a treasure chest of new experiences which many from the Western world haven’t previously been acquainted with.

While the opportunities for discovery are endless, it is important to consider a few things if you are visiting for the first time to ensure your holiday is as enjoyable as possible and are seen as respectful. With this in mind, here’s a short guide to things you should and shouldn’t do during your visit.

Don’t…

Be afraid to barter

While the idea of bartering is rarely practised in the Western world, in South East Asia it is part and parcel of every instance of a sale. Naturally, the vendor you are looking to purchase from will offer an initial price that’s hugely inflated, so it’s important to barter down to a price you were thinking of originally. If you aren’t sure how to go about it, here’s a fantastic guide to bartering from Scenic Tours which offer the best tips on how to succeed.

Take pictures of people without asking

Avoid being snap happy and if you are to take pictures of somebody, ask for their permission before you go ahead. See it through the eyes of the locals and think how you would feel if the shoe was on the other foot – not everybody likes their picture being taken.

Carry around a lot of jewellery

Wearing a lot of jewellery, or even carrying a lot of money, can make you the target for pick-pocketers or even a snatcher driving by. If you need to keep valuables on you, ensure they are stowed away out of site and never leave your bags unattended.

Do…

Stay Smiling

Whether in Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia, it is considered that only fools and people of poor upbringing lose their temper in public. Because of this, it can be very counter-productive if you speak with a raised voiced or speak in an angry tone. This is why smiling as much as you can is so important, showing the locals you can keep your cool and are respectful to the area you are visiting.

Remember the sacred parts of the body

Particularly relevant for those visiting Thailand, not remembering the taboo areas of the body can cause huge offence to locals and even lead to them getting aggravated. In Thailand, the head is considered the most sacred part of the body while the feet are considered the dirtiest. With this in mind, you should never touch a Thai person’s head or show the soles of your feet to anyone – ever.

Show respect when in temples

While you may not be religious yourself, you need to consider that Buddhist temples are incredibly significant to the locals and so great respect must be paid when visiting them. Easy ways to be respectful include turning off mobile phones, avoiding inappropriate conversation and taking off hats and headphones.

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