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Travel with Consideration (Southeast Asia)

Travel with consideration when taking photos, dressing appropriately and observing rules.

Wendy Wu Tours takes Responsible Tourism seriously. We are aware that tourism can impact the natural, economic and social environment and are committed to addressing these wherever possible without compromising our customers’ experience.

Taking photos

Always check that it is ok before taking a photograph of a local person. Simply indicate to your camera to ask and never take the photograph if someone gestures or says that they do not want you to.

In Myanmar, photography in airports, railway stations, administrative buildings such as banks or court houses, and near any military post is forbidden.

Observe local rules

The laws, regulations and behaviour in Southeast Asia are affected by their different cultures. For example:

  • Avoid touching anyone on the head (or their hair)
  • Try to avoid pointing the soles of your feet towards people/religious objects
  • Always leave your shoes outside a temple, pagoda or anyone’s home
  • Cameras are not allowed in some sightseeing spots, particularly temples and pagodas
  • Do not raise your voice as this can cause offense
  • It is considered very rude to indicate for someone’s attention by gesturing with your palm upwards. Instead, extend hand with palm downwards and wave by moving your wrist
  • Thais don’t normally shake hands when they greet one another, but instead press the palms together in a prayer-like gesture called a Wai

In Buddhist countries, local people retain the most traditional culture. Their daily routine, religious beliefs and acceptable behaviour are all determined by Buddhism. As a guide:

  • Try to keep your head lower than monks and Buddha images
  • Women should never touch a monk, or their robes

Dress appropriately

The locals in this region dress conservatively. According to their culture only very poor labourers would wear clothes which reveal their shoulders and legs, or go without a shirt. Brief shorts or skirts can be offensive – no matter how hot the weather. For men, full length cotton trousers or shorts that cover the knees are acceptable. For women, skirts or trousers that reach below the
knee are ideal, worn with tops that cover the shoulders.

In temples and pagodas, at royal palaces and at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, female travellers should wear modest clothing that covers knees and shoulders. A ‘modesty shawl’ – either a large shawl or sarong – can be useful to carry in your daypack while sightseeing. Covered shoes must be worn at the Angkor Wat complex.