Ever travel to places of interest in Southeast Asia such as Laos, Thailand, Bali and others?
I still remembered many years ago, when I have my vacation in Thailand or my Thailand travel, in this case. The tour guide had brief us beforehand that women should avoid touching a monk as it is considered ‘rude’ and to some is an offense.
What this tells me is that there are things that we should not do and forget when traveling abroad, i.e. the manners and etiquette and to respect for the local culture. Some of the things that I learned from my trips are:
- Don’t point our feet at anyone, and also not to show the soles of our feet when seated as it is considered a form of rudeness and disrespect;
- Gesture with whole hand and not to point with our index finger as it is impolite;
- When touching someone, do remember not to touch their head, even a child’s head as head is considered sacred;
- Never touch food or people, not even offer anything including money with your left hand, as it is considered unclean;
- For Muslim countries, a male should never kiss a female acquaintance on the cheek or even offer his hand until the female has offered hers first. Interestingly to note is that for non Muslim country such as Cambodia even forbid newlyweds to kiss at wedding ceremony;
- Women should avoid wearing shorts and clothes above the knee in temples. In fact, Hindu temples even require the female to wear sash, wrap or scarf. As for shirt, it should cover the shoulders; tank tops are not allowed while short sleeves are considered fine; and
- When entering temples, when you see a pile of shoes at the entrance that is the clue for you to take your shoes off. Remember not to point your toes at any image of the Buddha, it is deemed as sacrilegious.
One of the travel tips that are very useful that I learn from the tour guide is, when eating from street vendors, always use common sense to pick for good one. For example, if you see a vendor is getting a lot of business that is a good indication that the food is with quality.