Buddihst X Muslim Countries

Nov 4th, 2003, 04:34 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Buddihst X Muslim Countries

I've always lived and travelled in Christian countries.
I wonder if on my next vacations I should go to Muslim countries (Morocco, Turkey) or Budhist countries (Thailand, Lao).
I would like to read your comments about advantages/disadvantages in a touristic point of view (my respect for all religions is the same).
llll is offline  
Nov 4th, 2003, 06:12 PM
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What are you interested in? Make your decision based on what kind of vacation you want. I've been to all four of the countries you listed, had a great time in each, but the four a differnt from each other.
Kathie is offline  
Nov 4th, 2003, 06:26 PM
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I agree with Kathie, I have been to all four of the countries you mention and all are fine for a holiday. If you want to experience both, have you thought of dividing your time between Thailand and Malaysia?
Tangata is offline  
Nov 4th, 2003, 09:18 PM
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I've been to Morocco and Malaysia and have been visited Thailand many times. Personally I prefer a Buddhist country far more than a Muslim one. To me, buddists are more embracing and loving.

My trip to Morocco was particularly unforgetable. I went with another girl on our own (i.e. not with a group). Besides getting more attention on the street than we would like to have, during our few days' stay in Marrakech, we were disturbed by the people every 3 minutes in a not so polite manner. Perhaps we should have wear a veil, perhaps they haven't ever seen Asian young girls travelling alone, perhaps because it was full moon, perhaps they thought Japanese are stupidly generous in shopping (we are in fact Chinese but they seem not to be able to tell even though we have explained in English and French!)... well this experience is quite memorable but I would say that without the stunning scenary and the exotic desert experience, the trip would have been ruined. The fact that I didn't buy anything there would give you a hint (I'd love to buy the stuff as they were really pretty, but I would prefer a shopping experience without disturbances). Perhaps the above experience is only unique to Asian girls... hope so.
watakeet is offline  
Nov 8th, 2003, 05:31 AM
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watakeet, relative to your observations about Morocco ...

Having been there with my wife (we're American), I can appreciate at least to a certain degree the experiences you described even though my experiences as a man were surely different than yours as a woman in that culture. We also travelled independently and went to the very rural areas most tourists don't go to as well as the large cities. She says that she would have enjoyed it a lot less had she not been with a man. That's because of the cultural attitude toward women that causes a certain amount of stress for women not accustomed to it.

My wife was very careful to remain very covered up, esepecially in the rural areas where modernization of societal trends lags behind the bigger cities. As an example, she wore long sleeves and long skirts all the time. Based on everything we read in guide books (Internet message boards weren't around back then), we believed that dressing otherwise sent a different message. At any rate, it seemed to help minimize the number of complications due to cultural issues.

As for being regularly disturbed while trying to shop in Marrakesh, based on our experiences that's pretty much a fact of life -- not just for women -- in the bustling shopping/tourist areas. We found that that came to a nearly complete stop when we had a local guide, especially when it was a government-licensed guide.

For us, all of that was part of the charm of the travel experience because we became personally (rather than vicariously) enlightened regarding the local culture. The cultural issues that arose are the source of many interesting and funny memories that get retold and retold with friends and people we meet while travelling. So, while I agree that the experiences can be different in a Muslim country, each person has to decide if those experiences are likely to be fascinating or irritating. For my wife and me, that decision has a lot to do with our mood at the time and we select our travel destinations accordingly.
MikeBuckley is offline  
Nov 8th, 2003, 06:54 PM
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Thanks for all the answers.
Regarding Kathie and Tangata question, I would like to get in touch with different culture/landscapes/temples from what I'm used to.
In other words, I would like to be "surprised" at the differences I will notice. I would also like to be impressed by beautiful things(for example, which temples are more impressive, buddhist or muslim temples?
I've read that there are many similarities: in cities like Bangkok and Marrakesh people are "disturbed" while trying to shop; in all the countries I mentioned prices are much lower than in Europe or US; I will meet some "cheaters", but violence is not a big problem. Is that correct?
heliomf is offline  
Nov 8th, 2003, 07:08 PM
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You could come to Malaysia and have both, plus Hindus and Christians, too.

Religion is only one part of culture; yes, a big part... but unless you plan to only visit temples or mosques (which may be off limits in some areas) on your vacation then perhaps you should give us more ideas of what you are looking for.
Jenner is offline  
Nov 8th, 2003, 07:44 PM
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I think any of the countries you mentioned would give you the opportunity to get in touch with a different culture. All offer intersting suprises.

As Jenner said, religion is only one aspect of a country. In terms of Muslim countries, Turkey and Morocco are quite different from each other, and Malaysia and Indonesia (also Muslim countries) are very different from Turkey and Morocco.

If you have the time, you might want to sample a number of countries in SE Asia, which would allow you to see both Buddhist and Muslim countries. For instance, you could see Malaysia and Thailand.
Kathie is offline  
Nov 9th, 2003, 05:14 PM
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I'll consider what you wrote, and continue reading about the subject.
I guess SE Asia would be a little more interesting. But I live in South America, and going there means many extra hours of flight (and consequently, extra money for the air ticket)
llll is offline  
Nov 9th, 2003, 06:06 PM
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Thai Wats can be very spectacular; although they do vary somewhat with the region they are in. For example, in parts of the North there is a strong Burmese influence, so you get spectacular multi layered roofs on quite plain ?boxes? totally lacking the exterior and interior decoration that is so much a part of most Thai Wats.

Of course, you can also find Mosques, Chinese temples and Hindu temples in Thailand, as you can in Malaysia. I think that the Malaysian National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur is stunning.

When we were in Morocco in 2000, we were not allowed into any of the mosques. I would be interested to know if that has changed. It is not a problem in Malaysia or Turkey, though it is best to avoid the times of prayer, particularly midday prayers on Friday.

I wouldn?t worry too much about being ?disturbed? whilst shopping in Bangkok, possibly in the markets but certainly not in the malls or shopping centres. Providing you take normal precautions violence in not a problem in either Malaysia or Thailand, nor is being cheated ? if you shop in a market you can expect to pay more than a local, but still less than you would pay in Europe. People who are seriously cheated appear to have had their better judgement clouded by greed; no one should seriously expect to buy jewels in Bangkok and sell them for three or four times as much in New York!

Tangata is offline  
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