Unexpected situations when traveling to Asian countries

14 awkward situations that every second tourist gets into when traveling to Asia

Going on a trip, it is not possible to be prepared for everything in advance. Even if we carefully study the forums and travel guides, it does not guarantee that we will not get into funny situations. For example, you hand out money, and they do not take it, put on a green panama, and they laugh at you. Or in general, they ask you indecent questions: how many times a day do you bathe, and don’t they eat too much?

We at ADME decided to find out why this happens and how to behave in situations that tourists regularly get in mainly Asian countries.

Touching food or money with your left hand in Asia

I once wanted to pay on a bus in Agkot, Indonesia, but the driver didn’t want to take my money and was very annoyed. I couldn’t understand why. Good thing there was an older gentleman who spoke a little English. “Bad hand, bad hand,” he explained. I switched hands, and the driver grudgingly accepted the money. What I did, it turns out, was extremely offensive, and I felt terrible. Since then, my left arm felt like it was glued to my body. © masmandiri / Reddit

In Israel, they don’t eat meat and dairy from the same plates

“I was spending the night at a friend’s house and wanted to make myself some oatmeal. I took a plate, ate, and put it in the sink. Everything was fine until I heard a scream. It was his mother. She realized that there was milk in the plate, and this is a special utensil for meat only. The thing is, my friend’s family are orthodox Jews. Milk in a plate for meat violates the principle of kosher. His mother made me bury this plate.” © sipsyrup / Reddit

In Thailand, you have to respect money because it carries the portrait of the king

“I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand, late one night at one of those little restaurants with plastic furniture. I ordered the old lady’s roast pork with basil and ate in silence. When it came time to pay, there was no money in my pockets. Fortunately, I had hidden some of the cash in my shoe as a safety measure. When I took the money out of my shoe, she screamed at me. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was until she grabbed the bill and pointed to the image of the king and then to my shoes. Only then did I realize that because feet are considered dirty in Thai culture, I had made a terrible mistake by stepping my foot on the image of the sacred Thai king. I tried to explain that there was also American money, but it didn’t matter.” © loercase / Reddit

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In Japan and China, it is customary to smack while eating

“The only time my Japanese grandfather raised his voice at someone was when my mother didn’t slurp her soup noisily. Grandma got upset about that. When my mother tried to explain that in Western culture this was indecent, my grandfather roared at her: “Here in Rome, behave like the Romans.” © TheKidd / Reddit

Comments about appearance and uncomfortable questions are not considered indecent in Asian countries

I worked in Korea for the first year. One teacher came up to a new employee, a chubby girl, and said: “Wow, you’re so fat, how can you eat so much?” She was furious. Every day the teacher tortured the new girl until she left. The poor girl never realized (or no one explained to her) that talking about appearance was a common way to melt the ice when getting acquainted. © koreathrwaway2 / Reddit

I worked in a lab in Thailand. One day I came to work wearing a blue, long-sleeved shirt. The professor told me I looked really good, and everyone agreed with him. Later that day he told me, “You look much better today because you have long sleeves. You have very thick arms, so when you cover them, you look prettier and slimmer.” © Charissa Enget / Quora

“This is how I look. I guess to Thais I’m the personification of fullness.”

In Thailand, I had been using the same laundry for a long time, and one day the woman who was taking the clothes asked me how many times a day I washed. I thought I had misheard, so I asked her again. She repeated the question. I thought it was her Taiglish, so I mumbled something incoherent while smiling, and then I asked my acquaintance, whose wife is Thai, what it was. He explained that in Thailand people (especially in the countryside) take an interest in the welfare of new acquaintances. If a person is able to take a shower several times a day, it means that he is doing well and living well.

In Vietnam the crossed fingers indicate a woman’s private part.

In the Western world, this gesture means “let’s hope everything works out,” but in Vietnam it can confuse people because in body language it denotes female genitalia.

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Public toilets in India tend to be “limited-function toilets.”

Finding a toilet on the street in India is a big challenge. Not even all establishments have latrines, especially women’s latrines. In public places (e.g. zoos, amusement parks, temples) the toilets for visitors are “urinal latrines”, that is essentially just a sloped floor with a gutter along the wall. Many tourists have unknowingly gotten into extremely awkward and unpleasant situations.

Showing your thumb in the Middle East is an indecent gesture

“I showed my thumb to my Iranian friend’s father. It turned out to be the same as showing my middle finger.” © awesomerthanu / Reddit

In China, it’s best not to wear green headgear

The fact is that the expression “green hat” sounds exactly like “cuckold” in Chinese. Green hats are believed to be worn by those who are cheated on by their wives. A man wearing a green hat will be laughed at or pitied, even if he is a foreigner, even if it is St. Patrick’s Day.

In Japan, only homeless people eat on the street

“In the early ’90s I was on a business trip to Japan. I took the first train and arrived too early. It was a beautiful day and I decided to have breakfast on the steps in front of the office. I sat down to the side so as not to disturb anyone. Suddenly someone pulled me by the arm and literally lifted me to my feet. It was the manager, who pulled me inside the building and explained that only homeless and rude people eat sitting outside. It was clear he was ashamed of me.” © Curtis Jackson / Quora

In Asia, you shouldn’t call out to anyone with your finger

In the Philippines and some other countries only dogs are called by this gesture.

In Thailand they wave their hand as if to call someone away.

“One day at 7-eleven I couldn’t find milk. I asked the clerk. She came out from behind the cash register and went to the far corner of the store. I followed her, but she waved her hand at me. I stopped. And she said, “Come, come,” and I took a few more steps, but she waved again. I saw that she was standing near a shelf of dairy products, and she was smiling and pointing to the shelf. Then I realized that her gesture, which in Russia means “Get out of here!”, has the opposite meaning in Thailand.

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In many Southeast Asian countries, chewing betel, which stains the lips, gums, and tongue bright red

“My husband and I vacationed in Sri Lanka. We rented a nice house near the beach and became friends with the owner. One day we met him on the street and noticed his lips were covered in blood. “What happened?” – we asked, but he said he was fine and quickly left. The next day we went to the market and saw that many of the vendors were chewing something that made their lips and gums turn a bright red color. We later found out that it was betel nut, a very harmful thing that is chewed everywhere in Asia instead of tobacco.”

The worst time to travel to Asian countries


When the weather is cold and rainy, everyone dreams of sunny days. We want to fly away to a place where it’s warm and clear. In recent years, more and more popular among tourist inquiries are gaining popularity in Asian countries.

The highlight of Asia

Even the most demanding traveler will find in Asia what he would like. Three oceans surround the shores of this continent. There are many large islands, striking variety of climate. This region will appeal to tourists who are tired of the mundane European landscapes. Asia is a mysterious and alluring part of the world. However, when choosing a time for a vacation in Asian countries, be careful, otherwise the weather can play a cruel joke with you. Many tourists are interested in when and why you should not go to Asia.

Asian countries and climate

In the top most popular Asian resorts: Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Turkey. These countries alternate seasons: dry and rainy.


Here the rainy season lasts from November until early spring. Nevertheless, the rainfall there is not torrential, but rather moderate. Sometimes it doesn’t rain for a whole month or, on the contrary, the whole month is very humid. It all depends on the location you choose for your vacation.


In the islands rainy season begins in late spring and usually lasts until November. However, typhoons are possible in summer. The most suitable time to travel to the Philippines is winter, as well as early spring (April). There are no threatening waves during this period, and the sun does not tend to scorch you.


It can rain in India for hours on end. The peak of the rainy season is July-September. During this time the roads are very washed out and vehicles are difficult to get through. It can get very stuffy outside as temperatures rise to nearly 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The best season to travel to India is from December to early spring. Temperatures will not be as high and showers will not bother you.

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The territory of this country is very vast. The rainy season starts at different times in different parts of the country. In Da Nang the best time to visit is from late winter to late summer, Nha Trang – good time will be from December to April, also in Ho Chi Minh City. Go to Hanoi from Autumn to May. In the rest of the months it rains a lot.


The period from late fall to March in Thailand is without heavy rainfall. But in summer it is better not to go there, there is a risk of bad weather and rainy days. It rains heavily in Phuket, Krabi and Ko Chang. However, in Thailand you can find nice summer weather in Phangan, Hua Hin and Samui.

Sri Lanka

The island of Sri Lanka is flooded by downpours from May to mid-autumn. The weather depends on the region. On the northeastern coast there is no rain from May to October, and on the southwestern coast from October to May. In the highlands, the rainy season comes from August through the first month of fall and from January through early spring.


The rains start pouring here in mid-autumn, which is when the vacation season ends. The rainfall is heavy, and the temperature drops noticeably. Therefore, going to Turkey in late autumn, vacationers hope for good luck. Perhaps the weather will be good and sunny, but a good chance to get into a period of heavy showers. In the spring, inclement weather in Turkey ends, and this is the best time to travel to this country.


The weather in beautiful Japan is also varied. Regions of this country have different climates, so it is best to plan your vacation thoughtfully. For a trip to the island of Hokkaido, choose between October and May. You can visit Tokyo in late spring or mid-autumn. Visit Shikoku in spring or late fall, and Okinawa in April-November.


Summers in the Celestial Empire are hot and the coast is in a period of downpours. The ideal time to travel to China would be late spring and early fall if you are going to the northern regions. The best time to visit southern China is November and December. Excellent weather in China happens also in spring, the air warms up to +15 … +17 ° C, you can take long walks and go on excursions.

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How to prepare for a trip during the rainy season

If you decide to go on vacation in a rainy season, it is better to get insurance in advance to ensure peace of mind in case of failure of the plane due to worsening weather conditions. In addition, this insurance will be useful to you if there are unforeseen circumstances and you will not be able to check into a hotel because of a hurricane or heavy rains.

When packing for a trip, be sure to put a good raincoat in your suitcase. When buying give preference to quality models, dense, with wind protection. In addition to coats, there are options in the form of raincoats in the form of special suits. Such a model is especially relevant if you plan to ride a scooter.

Take care of cash. Because of the bad weather there may be outages with electricity, suddenly it will not be possible to pay by card. Be sure to write down or remember the phone number of the hostel or hotel where you stay, so that in case of emergency you can ask for help. Know what to do during a hurricane. Hotels may provide disaster shelter with basic necessities.

Don’t be afraid to travel during the wet season. The risk of getting caught in a storm is usually very low. That said, trips during the rainy season are much cheaper.

In Asia the peak of the heavy rainfall season tends to be in mid-spring and lasts until mid-autumn. Heavy rains in summer in Thailand, Vietnam, India and other popular Asian countries.

Nevertheless, even during the wet season it does not rain constantly and hourly. In coastal recreation areas, it rains at night, and in the morning the weather becomes clear. If it does rain during the day, it will stop pretty quickly. However, you will get soaked to the skin, as the rains are heavy and abundant. Holidays out of season is like a game of chance; you might not catch the rains at all or you might be caught in a downpour.

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