Last updated on April 30th, 2017 at 09:25 am
Southeast Asia Don’ts
Southeast Asia is a marvel. Sadly, I see fellow expats and tourists alike really ignoring a huge elephant in a room(pun intended) again and again. As a result of these doings, little progress is being done and there are whole industries that come to existence and spin out of control.
When I was faced with a moral choice that everyone makes when they see an elephant, a tiger or a monkey ready to entertain, or a child begging for money, I made a wrong decision. I learned from it and I decided to share it.
Please “Like” it and Share it if you feel like it will help make some poor creature’s future a bit brighter.
Unfortunately, not many people know or understand fully the consequences of their actions so here is my way for at least trying to shed some light on the common misconceptions.
Be polite and respectful but firm.
Keep the distance and be firm. In Asia, people have respect for the firmness and consider politeness as a weakness. Know what you want and be prepared to walk away if anything.
Never disrespect anyone! The minute you start thinking that you are a special creative snowflake who is better than everyone else and that people who surround you are a nobody, you just crossed a very dangerous line.
Do not take “no” for an answer.
In Southeast Asia, the rules are different for everyone (don’t break laws though). Depending on your negotiating skills, you might have some leeway in certain situations like negotiating a market deal, tour, house rental prices, or scooter rentals.
Never ever EVER ride elephants, take pictures with tigers or any other dangerous and cute looking animals.
I learned my lesson the painful way when I saw scars from actual holes in my elephant’s head from beating. In order for him to ride us, he was “encouraged” with metal spikes poked under his paws.
Having learned from many clips on youtube and news channels, now I assume that I do not know anything about wildlife.
Please leave the poor animals alone as they never chose to entertain, being petted, or photographed. So no touching! Not even a little bit!
And no photos unless it is free and the keeper does not benefit in any way.
My butt and conscience are still blushing with embarrassment every time I think of what I did.
Never give money to children or anyone approaching you on the street.
If you already have been to Asia, have you ever noticed that as soon as you leave any famous landmark you are quickly approached by the begging children? They quickly say “give me money” or just “money” in English but can’t say anything else.
When you buy something at the beach more people will approach you in order to sell you something. Not only this situation is wrong for the children, who are forced to work and sell useless shit, it is also wrong for the fellow expats around you who do not want to be bothered by becoming a target.
By buying stuff on the beach you are promoting no school for those who need it in order to escape the vicious circle. Creating a stressful environment for others because they will be approached a million times until they buy something is not cool.
If you want to help them then DO NOT GIVE CHILDREN MONEY. Buy clothes for them, food, toys but do not give them money. They do not get to keep it anyways.
Moreover, their situation will not change with the 3$ you just gave them. Chances are their parents, or persons in charge, will collect this money to buy drugs, gamble, and spend it otherwise but not on the kid. Sad but true.
Heading to Thailand? These are the tips you ought to know!
When I was in Pattaya, Thailand, I noticed a very disturbing tendency. Tourists left garbage after themselves assuming that someone will pick it up after them. Why?!
In the developing world garbage, especially plastic is a big problem. Locals are not well-educated about the long-term effects. Also, old habits die really hard.
Pick up your empty bottles, bags of chips, and other stuff. Make an example for locals by throwing it away in a designated spot. However presumptuous it might sound, Asians do notice and try to replicate what Westerners do.
So not only you are helping them and their environment you are helping yourself because tomorrow that garbage is not going to swim next to you.
If you are going to travel through Southeast Asia I strongly suggest being aware of the things that people find common or a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.
Now, every time I make a decision I try to see where it is going to lead me. Am I doing harm without even knowing it?
Are you planning on seeing Bali for the first time? This post is what you need!
Let me know if you have any other Nevers* that tourists do but should not. Please share, tag, repost, and like so as others will know how not to travel Asia.