May 2, 2011

Respecting other country’s culture and customs

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When doing your research on a country’s accommodation, sightseeing and transport don’t forget to research an important thing – etiquette. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of researching a country’s culture and customs before you leave to ensure you don’t accidently insult a local or worse, get in serious trouble.

♥ In Japan it is considered rude to put makeup on or talk on your mobile on the train (2 things I often do and certainly avoided when I was there!). Always bow when meeting somebody and take your shoes off when entering a room (generally a person’s home but I also removed my shoes at some cafes and restaurants).

♥ In Thailand never touch a Thai person on their head, as this is seen as the most important part of the body and is therefore disrespectful. Also never shake hands with your left hand as this is considered the “unclean” hand (this is also the case in many SE Asian and Muslim countries).

♥ In the UAE public nudity is a criminal offence (not that I expect you to start streaking down the street!) but did you know even a kiss on the cheek can get you on the wrong side of the law?!

♥ In Singapore you can be fined for smoking in public, littering and even for not flushing the toilet!

♥ In Muslim countries you should always be mindful of the way you dress and your public behaviour. Always dress modestly (a woman’s dress should fall at least below the knee and women and men should cover their shoulders) and when entering a mosque shoes should be removed and a women should cover their heads with a scarf. It is also best to avoid public displays of affection.

These examples should not cause alarm or worry, they are merely meant to remind you to fully prepare for your next adventure and have a worry-free time! For more information on travel etiquette overseas check out

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