It has to be quite ironical that even though I’m an Asian, I’ve actually never traveled in this beautiful continent outside of my own home country, India. The reasons range from not being old enough when I lived here to fawning interest in European travel but none of it stands anymore. So, this summer, I finally decided to start my Asian expedition and what better to start than South & South-East Asia!
As a native to the culture, this expedition has always been rather natural for me, without any cultural shocks, per say. However, I do understand that my European or other foreign friends find what’s normal to ‘us’ pretty eccentric and unusual. And, since my aim as a blogger is to nurture the smooth transition of a traveler, I decided to curate this list of Pre-Travel Know How for South & South-East Asia.
All these tips are carefully curated to help you embrace the complex and rich Asian nitigrities. Furthermore, some of these are just associated with life skills and are fun to learn about irrespective of your next travel plan to south & south-east Asia.
Pre-Travel Know How:
1. The Culture of Staring
I don’t know how and since when but it is just abundantly appropriate in the south and south-east Asian countries to stare at anyone and anything for howsoever long you like. It is honestly not considered rude or is intended to make one feel uncomfortable. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should live with it if it seriously troubles you. Depending on the particular set-up, I do recommend calling it out or trying to confront the person, too.
2. The Lethal Over-Crowding
South and South-east Asia have an abundance of tuk-tuks (auto rickshaws) and other short distance transportations. Which basically saves you from the long walks in the hot & humid weather but also puts you in tons of traffic jams. And not just the road, the public transport itself is overcrowded too. You’ll find the How-Many-Can-You-Fit-In Game on all buses and heavy duty public transports (Including Animals).
3. The Art of Bargaining
So, this one is not only essential when exploring those amazing local markets in the region but is actually a lot of fun. The deal is that the first price quoted in local markets in Asia is always 2x higher, if not more than what should be viable so when you ask for the right price, haggle and bargain, you get unbelievable good for equally astonishing prices!
4. The Non-Existent Pedestrian Traffic Rules
Except for the rule-abiding Singapore, Jaywalking is a part of the south and south-east Asian cultural heritage (ok, JK). People often take street lights as a recommendation than a guideline. So, prepare to see car drivers being heckled by pedestrians for not driving as per their walking speed or so, too.
5. The Idea of Respect
Asian culture is all about the greater sense of respect. Formal relationships are established on the basis of the same even with a stranger. Furthermore, the people here judge your character by how much respect do you give to another person even if you don’t have to. So, leave your public transport seat if you see an older person or a lady, give way to others, and so on. Of course, this ‘respect’ is very fragile and may even be demanded and not returned depending on the situation you find yourself in.
Bonus// The not so typical application of typical items of use:
- Umbrellas to Hide from the Sun Not the Rain.
- Flip-flops are not only for the beach but also the ‘bathroom slippers’.
- Tap water is usually never potable.
- Google maps may work worse than Apple maps and eventually, you can only depend on directions asked from the locals.
So, that’s all I found interesting and contrasting enough to share in my pre-travel know how blog today. if you can think of any more awesome and eccentric things from the region, share them with me in the comments below. The South-East Asian trip has just begun so, watch out for all the fun stuff that’s going to follow.
For more of my travel in style adventures, keep following the ERTSY CHIC. Till then, keep exploring and learning!