July 5, 2020

13 simple rules of etiquette in Southeast Asia

At the same time, the rules of good tone are not fundamentally different from those in European countries, except that there are some small features.

These few, simple tips will make your stay in Southeast Asia comfortable for you and those around you. 


Learn a few basic words in the language of the country to which you are going. Simple, such as, “hello”, “goodbye” and “thank you”. Paying respect to the language will pleasantly surprise the locals and favor them.


Do not expose your feelings in public. Kissing couples everyday business on the streets of Europe. Here, despite the sexuality emanating from each bas-relief, it is not customary to put the intimate aspects of life on display by others.


Do not attempt to embrace a person in a welcome hug, unless he takes the initiative. A common practice, as a rule, is a simple handshake or a bow with palms folded at the chest. But even here there is a feature: the level at which the hands are located (higher / lower) determines the meaning of the bow. Therefore, it is better to simply greet the person by slightly leaning forward.


Often, the older person is assigned the role of greeting the first.


If you are invited to a family dinner, wait until the oldest family member sits down and takes a seat at the table after that. Try to eat everything that the owners put in your bowl. It is believed that you as a guest are given the best that is at the table. If you are full and can not cope with the next portion, lightly cover the bowl with a hand and politely refuse.


After eating, place chopsticks parallel side by side on a table or the edge of a food bowl. Do not leave them vertically in a bowl. In this position, they are associated with incense sticks, which are used in different circumstances, including rituals for the departed. Sticks sticking out of the cup, according to local beliefs, are considered harbingers of misfortune.


If you want to take a picture of people, ask them about it. They are not an element of exotic, but the same people as you. And maybe their plans do not include shine in your photos.


Do not be surprised and do not be offended if after a question, what is your name, personal questions will follow, for example, your age or marital status. In this way, they often try to be “polite”) and keep the conversation going.


Do not touch people’s heads. Hair and head, here are considered the cleanest places of the body in humans and only the owner can touch them.


Respect traditions and shrines. Do not turn your back on local idols and gods. Do not turn your feet towards them. Open feet, it will be unpleasant to contemplate and to your interlocutor opposite. Unlike the head, the legs are considered the dirtiest part of the body.


Observe local dress code, especially in rural areas and temples. Do not swim or sunbathe naked or topless. Going to local shrines do not wear shorts, T-shirts or sleeveless. Your shoulders and knees should be covered, and when entering a house or temple, take off your shoes. Shoes may need to be removed in other places, for example, in a street shop. Pay attention to the patch at the entrance – if there will be shoes there, it means that you can only cross the threshold with your bare feet.


Do not abuse alcohol and do not take drugs. Keep in mind that the latter is banned in many countries and may result in severe punishments for you.


Bring the maximum benefit from being in the country. Buy local food and goods, hire guides/guides and use local transport. Thus, you allow earning local people and supporting the country’s economy.

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