The ordinary Western tourist poking around in Asian cities is usually sorely in need of some Asia travel advice, especially as relates to local laws and customs. Apart from the language, the lack of knowledge about local culture is a big hindrance, and sometimes even a danger. Something that might be very common in New York or London may be a big crime in parts of Asia.
There’s no need to get all worked up about it, and neither is there any reason to not enjoy the trip. Actually, it’s a selective thing that depends mostly on the destination and country being visited. As an example, let’s consider two very popular Asian destinations – Dubai and Thailand. A visitor from a Western nation might be forgiven for mistakenly assuming that the laws and customs would be about the same in both nations.
Maybe it would be better to separate it out into two sections, one for ‘Dubai travel advice’ and the other one for ‘Thailand travel advice.’ Let’s start with Dubai. In terms of local customs and laws that visitors need to be aware of, the most important ones are related to alcohol, indecent exposure and displays of public affection.
One has to be very careful while drinking alcohol in Dubai, and it should be done only in restaurants which are licensed to serve alcohol. It can also be purchased from some stores, but when in public the alcohol has to be tucked away inside bags. Anyone caught driving after consuming even a little bit of alcohol faces a fine and possible imprisonment.
The second and third points about clothing (or lack thereof) and public displays of affection are interlinked. Visitors from the West can and do easily fall afoul of these laws with a kiss (or more) on the beach or in a mall, or making out in the car, and so on. Tourists have been jailed and put on trial in Dubai for offences of this nature.
As for Thailand, it is a much more progressive culture that allows visitors quite a lot of freedom to enjoy the visit and the urban pleasures of cities like Bangkok. But they do have some strict laws that can land visitors in trouble. The penalties for possession of even small amounts of drugs for personal use are harsh and can lead to lengthy jail sentences.
Another thing to remember in Thailand is never to disrespect the monarch or his likeness in any form – it is also a crime. Third, tourists are required to carry their passports or risk being arrested. It is also not a good idea to show off the soles of the feet in public or touch the back of someone’s head.
It’s obviously not possible here to list tips like this for every major tourist destination in Asia. But the general drift of it is that each place has its own laws and customs, so the best Asia travel advice that can be provided here is that visitors should know beforehand what is acceptable and what isn’t. Most destinations are quite friendly and welcoming, but it’s important to show some respect for local sensibilities.