Known for their courtesy, generosity and warm welcome, the people of Asia have preserved all the authenticity of their culture. Discover here the main golden rules to follow for a successful trip in this enigmatic and fascinating region of the world.
Behaviour in Asia
Understanding and respecting culture is essential to fully appreciate your stay in Asia, a destination nourished by a spirituality that is still strongly present. Certain attitudes are to be proscribed in all Asian countries, such as touching someone’s head or passing something over. Likewise, it is necessary to take care that your feet do not point towards others or towards the altar if you are invited by a family. This behaviour also applies when you sit or sleep. Also remember to respect the elderly and let them sit before you. Be polite at all times and avoid showing signs of aggression, even when you are angry.
In the way you dress, be modest, especially in sacred places such as temples and pagodas. Cover your shoulders, arms and legs and leave your shoes outside. Also avoid showing affection in public with a person of the opposite sex. When you go out, it is advisable not to show any signs of wealth such as jewellery or money. Use what you need and keep a low profile. This will prevent you from offending your guests, but also from being the victim of theft or fraud.
If you feel like taking a photo or video, it is best to always ask permission. For gifts, consider gifts such as incense, sweets or fruit. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask beforehand.
Among the most visited Asian countries we find Thailand, China and Japan.
In order to say hello in Thailand, learn the “wai”, a greeting that is done with hands clasped together, placed near the forehead in front of an elder and under the forehead in front of a child. It should never be addressed to a person of inferior status, as you risk embarrassing them. Thai people love and respect their king, be careful never to offend this deep affection.
In China, pointing fingers will be frowned upon. Similarly, gestures should be in accordance with the local language. To refuse, raise your hand and wave it from left to right and never use your finger. Before calling someone by their first name, it is better to ask their permission. To avoid disappointment, avoid touching or kissing the person you are calling, even if you seem familiar. At the table, never open your chopsticks before your host.
In Japan, physical contact should be avoided and raising your voice is not considered good manners. Be polite and modest, keep clean and punctual. To give or take something, it is customary to use both hands. Even if you are hungry, it is advisable not to eat in public, i.e. on the street, in the subway or on the train. When you are invited, remember to bring a present, usually food, and take off your shoes at the entrance without obstructing the passage. Finally, learning to handle chopsticks will help you avoid many pitfalls.
Precautions before a trip to Asia
Before your departure, it is not enough to learn about the way of life and cultural traditions in Asia in order to adapt more easily once you are there, it is also important to prepare all the administrative procedures. Depending on your country of destination, you should check with the embassy to find out how to enter. A visa may be required for a stay of more than 15 days and the passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your arrival or after the date of your visa application.
Universal vaccinations are recommended, but you can supplement them with other vaccines such as typhoid, hepatitis A, Japanese encephalitis or rabies depending on your destination.
To fully enjoy your trip to Asia, travel insurance is essential. This will ensure that you have good coverage if you need it. Whether it’s hospitalization, reimbursement of health expenses, emergency repatriation or coverage in case of theft or trip cancellation, it’s up to you to choose the policy that best suits you. ACS facilitates your search for a travel insurance policy that meets your expectations in order to complete your stay in Asia.
Asia is a rich continent endowed with exceptional nature and an exciting and profound history. Customs and traditions are still alive and respecting them opens the way to an unforgettable experience in the heart of a destination where the people are warm and tolerant.