Travel Tips for Visiting Asia-Pacific
A trip to Southeast Asia or Oceania can be a bit overwhelming to plan – there’s so much to research and not enough time in the day! Never to fear, your Adventure Consultants are here -to give you a few insider tips on traveling half-way across the world.
1. What, When, Where, Who?
First of all, the Asia-Pacific area as a whole is an enormous region encompassing many different countries. Your first priority is narrowing down where you’d like to travel: Australia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Indonesia? The options are endless! Once you’ve “thinned out the herd” and picked a few destinations, start figuring out what you’d like to do and see. Do you want to take a cruise along the Kimberley Coast of Australia? Snorkel in a world famous marine park in Thailand? Photograph the endless rice-terraces and clove-plantations of Indonesia? Indulge in some Fish Amok (steamed coconut fish in banana leaves) in Cambodia? Once again, your choices of things to do and see are infinite. You’ll want to take a look at your schedule and see when you can travel and check your timeframe against the best times to travel in your chosen country. Also, if you don’t have time to research or just don’t want to “go it on your own,” why not call up a tour operator who does the researching, planning and follow-through of the trip for you?
2. Check the Customs of the Country
If you’re heading to anywhere in the Asia-Pacific region and you’re from a Western culture, chances are, you may not know the customs of the country you’re traveling to. While you’ll learn many of the customs on your trip itself, it doesn’t hurt to do a little research ahead of time in order to not step on any toes or look a little silly or foolish! For example, if you enter any of the temples, mosques or churches in Southeast Asia, you’ll want to be sure to wear clothing that covers your shoulders and legs in order to show respect. Australians value authenticity and when meeting someone for the first time, while they may say ‘G’day’ or ‘G’day, mate’, this may sound patronizing coming from a foreigner. In Asian cultures, raised voices, displays of anger and pointing with your index finger are considered rude. All in all, there are many small gestures, mannerisms, and customs that we may not know to adhere to, but remaining friendly with a big smile will get you far regardless of what you do (or don’t do!)
3. Negotiating can be Fun!
When traveling to many of the countries in Asia-Pacific, haggling (something that often doesn’t exist in Western cultures) can be fun and a good deal for all if it’s done right. In many countries, you may walk into a shop, mall, or street vendor and see that many of the items for sale have no price tags. This means it’s time to bargain! Do realize that the first price the vendor will give to you may be quite high if you look like someone who has money to burn. Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price. But remember not to bargain too low – these vendors have families they need to feed! Everyone should go home happy after the deal is made. If you can’t get a fair deal with one vendor, just move onto the next one!