News Stories Tagged asia
Southeast Asia is the new destination du jour for luxury-minded travelers who appreciate great value. Discerning travelers delight in Southeast Asia, where reasonably priced five-star hotels abound and indulgence is newly defined. With so many options, it can be a difficult task to choose the resorts truly worthy of your vacation dollars. Happily, we've narrowed down the dizzying array of choices for you: Indulge in the opulence of one of our five favorite extravagant escapes in Southeast Asia.
There are several models: the long porcelain bowl in the floor, which flushes; the usual Western throne; its seatless cousin, often used in mid-price hotels, which is flushed with a dipper of water; and the hole in the ground.
It's officially forbidden by the government, and locals simply don't do it. In general, follow their lead without qualms. Nevertheless, the practice is beginning to catch on, especially among tour guides, who often expect Y10 a day.
It’s great fun for the savvy shopper. Do haggle—with histrionics at the seller’s first asking price but with a polite, positive attitude throughout, and never with finger pointing (use your whole hand instead).
Ask for your dishes mai phet ("not spicy"). Thai food can get really spicy—know what you're in for. (Phet means spicy.) Skip the nam pla if you’re on a low-sodium diet. This fish sauce is used instead of salt, and is added just as commonly.
Laotians traditionally greet others by pressing their palms together in a sort of prayer gesture known as a nop; it is also acceptable for men to shake hands. If you attempt a nop, remember that it’s basically reserved for social greetings; don’t greet a hotel or restaurant employee this way.
Don't point your feet at anyone; keep them on the floor, and take care not to show the soles of your feet, particularly when seated, as in places like Thailand and Bali it’s considered rude. In Bali it’s also impolite to point with your index finger. Gesture with your whole hand instead.
In a nutshell, driving yourself around is not a possibility when vacationing in mainland China, as the only valid driver’s licenses are Chinese ones. However, this restriction should be cause for relief, as city traffic is terrible, drivers are manic, and getting lost is practically inevitable for first-timers.
The standard eating procedure is to hold the bowl close to your mouth and shovel in the contents without any qualms. Noisily slurping up soup and noodles is also the norm, as is belching when you’re done.
It is considered unclean, as the left hand is used for washing oneself—with soap and water—after using the toilet. Never offer anything, even money to a vendor, with your left hand.
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