While traveling around the world, you will meet a lot of people, with different cultures. It can be good to be informed about the culture of people, so you don’t make some no-go’s. The last thing you want to do is disturb people in their own country, right? We traveled to countries where Buddhism is the main culture and we loved it. Most people in Asia don’t mind if you are making some cultural mistakes, but it’s always better to avoid awkward situations.
DO’S AND DONT’S
- DO: Bow your head in temples and sit on your knees
- DO: Take off your shoes in the temples (wear slippers: it’s easier to take off and on)
- DO: Cover yourself in temples! Wear t-shirts with sleeves and long skirts or pants. Make sure you are covered down at least below your knee
- DO: Be quiet. There are people meditating in temples: show some respect!
- DO: Keep your own head below the Buddha’s head. If possible kneel on the ground while taking pictures
- DO: Treat monks with the highest level of respect
- DO: Even if you have a problem, keep calm. Don’t show your anger. It’s very unpolite and it’s only ‘for the weak’. You need to control yourself.
- DO: Try and learn a few basic phrases like for example ‘hello’, ‘thank you’,.. and do the ‘WAI’ if you are in Thailand
- DO: Smile a lot! People in Asia like to smile!
- DON’T: Show disrespect towards the Thai royal family
- DON’T: Raise your voice
- DON’T: Take Buddha images out of the country: this is even forbidden by the law
- DON’T: Place your feet on tables or touch anybody with your feet
- DON’T: Touch someone’s head, and apologize if you do this accidentally
- DON’T: Lose your smile in an argument or be angry!
- DON’T: Show affection in public. Kissing or hugging in public is a no-go
“You have to taste a culture to understand it”. We don’t want to be all the same, but we need to respect and understand each other! Good luck and have a nice cultural trip!