Asia is a vast continent with diverse people and cultures. Unless you have been there before, choosing just one country to begin your Asian expedition can be too difficult. Asia, in particular, Southeast Asia has been gaining traction lately with people shifting to backpack there instead of Europe.
If you have traveled to Asia before and are obsessed already, you most certainly are ready to go back. You might already be aware of the cultural and language differences and are prepared to return, but there are a few underrated aspects you need to know and follow if you’re traveling to Asia frequently.
Some Countries Follow Modest Clothing
If you have only been to touristy places such as Thailand or Singapore, then clothing is not a major thought to be considered. But a few countries in Southeast Asia prefer to follow modest clothing patterns due to their conservative background. A few buildings, especially religious ones, don’t allow shoes in.
At times, it is also expected of visitors to be appropriately dressed while visiting similar premises. It’s better to carry correct clothing than catch the ogling eyes of locals in the street.
Expensive Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Good
Touristy places in Asia are known to increase their prices for food and shopping because foreigners are ready to pay a hefty amount for desirable purchases. It might happen that the demanding price for vendors can increase upon seeing people who are not from Asia. Whether it’s the fashion streets in Bangkok or the craft market in Bali, almost all shopping areas in Asia tend to demand more than the marked price when customers show genuine interest in buying.
You might think while buying, “I am paying a good price for this so it should last long”. Well, that’s not the case here. Restaurants that cater to local cuisine also charge more in areas with the highest tourist footfall. You should research more about genuine pricing and shopping to shop and eat like a local without paying a high price. Learn to bargain while shopping, as it is a useful trick in saving a few bucks, and the vendors sometimes seem to be giving up easily.
Learn Basic Greetings in the Local Language
Some Asian countries like China, Japan and South Korea are not well versed with English and prefer sticking to their native language all the time. While they do try to attempt it while dealing with tourists and foreigners, they would appreciate it when you try to speak their language. It’s okay if you aren’t fluent, but a few greetings can also win them over. For them, it’s cute to hear their words in a different accent.
You can research about a few useful phrases to know when in Korea, or learn the basic greetings while traveling through Japan. It is extremely easy to learn them and it can drive some motivation in you to learn a new language entirely. You never know, perfectly spoken phrases might win you a free drink or food in a bar. Not only that, you should try learning the local culture and behaviors too. If you need more tips on this, check out this guide to Japanese etiquette.
You Might Encounter a Lot of Scamsters
While waiting in line to enter a religious premise or while looking for a pleasant elephant ride, some scamsters might sense your need and approach you with fake packages and tickets asking to pay half the price and skip the line, or take you to an unknown place for the elephant ride and disappear after having the money. You need to be aware of these frauds and not fall into their traps.
Try to buy tickets online off a genuine website, or visit a travel agency that can provide you with registered tours. Often, taxi drivers also charge more by driving through longer routes on purpose or earn commission by trying to take you to another site. Beware of these cheap tricks in Asia whenever you travel.
Sidewalks and Zebra Crossing Are Not for Pedestrians
This is an important safety factor to be kept in mind all the time while in Asia. Check and double-check while passing the road on a zebra crossing as vehicles don’t actually bother about it and pass along relentlessly.
Pedestrians need to make their own way on sidewalks as well. Two-wheelers are usually parked and passing through sidewalks, scaring away the pedestrians. Basically, not all in Asia observe traffic rules.
Even though it sounds ridiculous to revisit the same place, you can’t help but love Asia and its colorful diversity, making you want to go again and again. With the exquisite food, eminent people and breathtaking architecture, all countries in Asia should be on your travel list.
The living costs and food prices are cheap, the people are warm and welcoming, and you get to experience an entirely new culture.
Update: As of February 2020, there are travel restrictions in place for China and other countries due to the Coronavirus. Take a look at this for everything you need to know about the coronavirus.