Southeast Asia is a favourite destination for families – it’s cheap, has delicious food and vibrant culture. But before you jet off on the next Jetstar flight – take some time to brush up on some of the local customs.
Floating fishing village and rock island in ” Lan Ha ” Bay, Vietnam, Southeast Asia Picture: Shutterstock
The Global Work and Travel Company specialises in ethical, humanitarian and environmental holidays and working holidays. Kids who take a gap year with Global Work and Travel Company will have a dedicated personal trip co-ordinator through the entire journey – that’s great peace of mind for parents.
This week they put together a list of the five cultural mistakes first-time visitors to Southeast Asia make. Are you guilty of any of these?
Table of Contents
Bad clothing choices
Southeast Asia is really humid. You’ll likely be drenched in sweat from head to toe within minutes of stepping outside when travelling in SouthEast Asia. Ensure you pack light cotton clothing and clothes that can be easily hand washed. Leave your expensive and dry-clean-only clothes at home.
This is not good. Wear light breathable clothing in Asia. Picture: Shutterstock
Forgetting to get cash
You need to carry cash when travelling in Southeast Asia. You will hardly ever pay for anything using your card. If payment is required by card, you’ll likely be charged a 3 per cent fee on the total price. Things are cheap in Southeast Asia, so smaller notes will come in handy.
You will need cash to pay for that. Picture: Shutterstock
The “shoes off” custom stems back to ancient times and hee act of stepping up symbolising entering someone’s private space. Guests were expected to remove their shoes before stepping up to the main house. This is a mark of respect to the hosts and is a big no-no if you don’t. Plus it keeps the place cleaner. Keep your shoes outside the front door.
Always take your shoes off at temples and people’s homes. Picture: Shutterstock
Haggle – but don’t take it too far
For many of us, haggling or bargaining is hard to get used to when you first arrive in Asia. Not only is it accepted in the majority of places in Southeast Asia, but it is also expected. It is the way business is done, deals are struck and livings are made. Many items form food to clothing to souvenirs are cheap compared to western prices. Remember you are a foreigner here and whoever you are dealing with is just trying to make a living, so be fair with your haggling.
You can haggle – but remember these workers are trying to make a living. Picture: Shutterstock
You can eat street food – but be careful
Street food is common in Southeast Asia. It’s cheap and it’s delicious. However, it is important to proceed with caution and only buy food that is cooked in front of you. You should also avoid cut fruit and fresh juices. Street food is cheap and delicious. Picture: Shutterstock