Etiquette Tips for Travel in Asia

by Allie Moore

Feb 20, 2018

© Soon Wee Meng |

Tips / Destination

Asia is one of the top foreign places a Westerner can visit. From the culture to the cuisine, traveling around Asia can feel like you’re on a different planet. In order to click with cultural norms and avoid offending locals, here are a few rules to follow when it comes to etiquette in Asia.

Mind your hands and fingers. In the Buddhist religion, the head is the most sacred part of the body as it is the highest point. Raising your hands above your head or (even worse) touching your head are considered offensive acts in countries where Buddhism is observed, such as in Southeast Asia. In these countries, it also is considered rude to point at someone with one finger, while it’s uncouth to cross your fingers in Vietnam.

Brush up on dining do’s. Asians use chopsticks to consume most of their food, so it doesn’t hurt to put in some practice before you depart. But if you’re not as chopstick-savvy, asking for other utensils (forks, spoons) is allowed. Travelers to countries like Nepal, India and Malaysia can find solace in the fact that eating with your hands (the right hand only) is acceptable.

Drink up. When offered an alcoholic drink in some cultures, it is considered rude to decline, and when hosting or offering drinks, remember to pour for your guests before pouring your own drink.


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