For tourists and visitors from the West, here’s a little bit of Asia travel advice that might come in handy. Language barrier aside, the most important thing that visitors from Europe and America need to get used to is the hugely different culture. Things that are commonplace and acceptable in London or New York may be a crime in some Asian countries.
There’s no need to get all worked up about it, and neither is there any reason to not enjoy the trip. Actually, it’s a selective thing that depends mostly on the destination and country being visited. As an example, let’s consider two very popular Asian destinations – Dubai and Thailand. A visitor from a Western nation might be forgiven for mistakenly assuming that the laws and customs would be about the same in both nations.
Maybe it would be better to separate it out into two sections, one for ‘Dubai travel advice’ and the other one for ‘Thailand travel advice.’ Let’s start with Dubai. In terms of local customs and laws that visitors need to be aware of, the most important ones are related to alcohol, indecent exposure and displays of public affection.
Drinking in Dubai is a very dicey issue and one which is confined to restaurants that have a permit for serving alcohol. Buying it from a store is also possible, but the alcohol has to be kept hidden from view inside bags. Never drink and drive, because even a minuscule amount of alcohol is enough to land a tourist into jail.
As for clothing and public affection, it’s very easy for tourists to unknowingly cross the line. A day out on the beach where a couple gets frisky is enough to make it a crime, or even making out in a mall or in the car dressed in skimpy attire. This is not just about respecting local customs, but about breaking the law – tourists have been arrested, jailed and hauled up in court for such transgressions.
As for Thailand, it is a much more progressive culture that allows visitors quite a lot of freedom to enjoy the visit and the urban pleasures of cities like Bangkok. But they do have some strict laws that can land visitors in trouble. The penalties for possession of even small amounts of drugs for personal use are harsh and can lead to lengthy jail sentences.
Another thing to remember in Thailand is never to disrespect the monarch or his likeness in any form – it is also a crime. Third, tourists are required to carry their passports or risk being arrested. It is also not a good idea to show off the soles of the feet in public or touch the back of someone’s head.
Due to time and space constraints, these kinds of tips for every city in Asia cannot be listed here. But it is vital for every tourist to know these customs and laws about each city and country before visiting it. That’s the best Asia travel advice anyone will ever provide. That and the fact that Asians are generally much more friendly and warm towards tourists, but tourists should in turn take the effort to abide by local customs and laws.