Things to Watch Out for in Southeast Asia

None of these reasons should prevent you from going, just make sure you stay aware of what’s going on around you.

  1. Everyone wants your money. Which means everyone is trying to figure out how to get more of it. Don’t be afraid to barter for what you want and be assertive. There’s not a big city in the world that’s crime free, but most of Asia’s are non-confrontative. If you stand your ground you should be okay.
  2. Be careful with the water!!! Any water that doesn’t come out of a sealed bottle SHOULD NOT BE DRANK. Much of the raw water in the region can make you sick, it won’t kill you, but it isn’t fun. Make sure when you’re drinking water, it’s bottled, and you hear the seal on it break upon opening. If there’s no seal – and I don’t mean the thin plastic wrap around the top, I mean the ring that connects the cap to the bottle – then DO NOT drink it. It’s not expensive, just go buy a new one.
  3. Don’t take advice from a tuk-tuk driver who’s just standing around, or offering you a “great deal” for a trip around the city. Those guys are sent out by the area’s expensive clothing stores and they’ll take stops there, claiming they get a gas card if you just go in for a few minutes. You don’t have to buy anything, and you don’t have to go in no matter how pushy they are. They’ll get flustered, but just tell them to take you back where they found you and pay them what you said you would. No matter what anyone says about a “gas card” they don’t exist.
  4. Another trick driver’s will do is tell you that the palace you’re trying to visit is closed, but they’ll drive you around while you wait. Most palace hours can be found online, so no matter what they say about it being a holiday or whatever, they’re lying. If you’ve already looked into the hours, trust what you’ve found unless an official at the entrance tells you otherwise. They are again, just trying to take you to an expensive clothing store.
  5. People will insist you use their service. They won’t be mean about it, but they aren’t above crouching right in front of where you’re walking to insist your shoe is damaged, try to get you to take it off for repairs, and then insist you pay them for the service they’ve given you. If you’ve repeatedly told them no and have made an attempt to stop them, you are not required to pay them what they ask.
  6. Be stern, not mean. These people don’t generally mean you any harm, they’re just trying to make a living to the best of their ability. If you don’t want what they’re offering, just sternly tell them no and walk away. Try not to get physical, as they likely won’t, and just understand you’re the one with the power.

Reminder: None of these reasons should prevent you from going, just please make sure you stay aware of what’s going on around you.

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