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September 10, 2009

Ten polite gestures while travelling in Asia


by Bev Malzard - Get up and Go

Leave your shoes outside the temple please.

1. Don't wear shoes into a mosque or a Buddhist temple it really puts worshippers' noses out of joint.

2. Don't use your mobile phone on trains in Japan – it's against the 'train law' and extremely impolite.

3. Do not pat or touch childrens' heads in Asia, it's considered rude – but who wants to touch strangers heads anyway?

4. Don't walk around sophisticated cities wearing clothes that you'd wear to a barbecue in Oz. It's not illegal but, hey, it looks so bad and you're an obvious novice 'tourist' target for muggers.

5. Leave a little bit of food on your plate in most countries when you are being hosted - otherwise they see a clean plate and are embarrassed that they haven't given you enough food.

6. Don't point at people in Asia or you'll be loudly hissed at. In fact, don't point at people at home either!

7. Don't point the soles of your feet at anyone in Thailand, or most Asian countries - very rude indeed.

8. Do not shout or get angry publicly with anyone in Japan. You lose face, they lose face, and egg on your face!

9. Double check all your travel details in China. People don't say what they think, but what they think you want to hear, i.e. 'Is this the right direction to so and so," enthusiastic nodding (yes) of the head. He didn't understand you, has no idea what you said, but was being polite.

10. Learn to say 'hello', 'goodbye' and 'sorry' in the language of every country you visit. Not only is it polite, it will bring a genuine smile from people and you'll be surprised at how helpful someone is when they think you are making an effort.
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