When westerners head to Southeast Asia on vacation, simple things like going to the bathroom, road rules and public hygiene may become slightly complicated. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Here are 15 things westerners just don’t get about Southeast Asia.
1. Wet Rooms
But why is the whole bathroom wet? And why is the toilet almost in the shower? Well if you head to cheaper hotels in Southeast Asia, then you’ll definitely come across a wet room. It’s basically like you’re bathroom back home, but you can get the whole floor wet because there’s a drain in the corner of the room.
Not every Asian nations uses chopsticks, and if they do, then you’ll find it hard to get a fork over to your table at a restaurant. So brush up on your chopstick skills before heading out on your vacation.
3. Wet Markets
If seeing where your food comes from grosses you out, then avoid wet markets. This is the place where locals get all their food — from live frogs to freshly-caught fish, wet markets have it all.
4. The Squat Toilets
If you go to a foreign country you can’t expect to find all the comforts of home. So pull down your pants and do as the locals do when they need to do their business. It’s how they were brought up, and using a western toilet probably seems weird to them.
5. Nose Picking In Public
It may be gross to you, but to most people in Southeast Asia it is absolutely normal. You should stick a finger up your nose sometime and try it. You might like it.
6. Road Rules Don’t Really Exist
Forget everything you ever learned in driving school and just freestyle it. Once you get behind the wheel, you’ll quickly realize that there are no rules, and only the toughest, most skilled drivers can weave through the traffic with ease.
7. How Bargaining Works
Negotiating a price for an already cheap item can be hard, but it’s how things work in Southeast Asia. If you don’t, you’ll probably get ripped off and find the same item for half the price just down the road.
8. Booking Is Not A Must
You don’t really need to book your hotel before hand. There are so many options available that you can casually spend most of your first day looking for a guesthouse or BnB to stay in. Just walk in and request to see a room, and if you don’t like it, move along.
9. The Heat
You will sweat profusely while locals sit around in jumpers and jeans. It’s the strangest thing, but the locals are used to the heat. And even though it might feel like a constant heatwave, they can feel a slight chill in the air.
10. Animal Cruelty
Just because animals are in a park, show or even walking the streets, doesn’t mean that they are being treated well. Do your research before going elephant trekking, heading to a tiger park or paying to take a photo with a gibbon.
11. Street Food Is Never The Same
If you expect to get the same portion size and taste as the last time you had the dish, you are going to very disappointed. It’s so cheap anyway that if you don’t like the pho you’ve been served, just order something else.
12. The Scooter Culture
If you actually think about it then you may realise that most people from Southeast Asia have never driven a car and are more comfortable driving a scooter. So stop complaining about how you can’t drive a scooter and have to take a taxi everywhere.
13. Having To Watch Your Pockets
You might not have to worry about your wallet being snatched out of your pocket or your cellphone being grabbed out of your hand back home, but you’re not home, so be vigilant of your stuff.
14. Cheap Booze
Drink up before it all runs out! Just take advantage of the situation and stop stating the obvious please. Yes that’s $1 for a bucket of vodka and Red Bull.
15. Not Being Democratic Nations
Places like Thailand and Vietnam are not democratic nations, yet they still work, most of the time. Stop asking so many questions and just enjoy your vacation. As long as the locals are happy, then so should you.