Search Results for Category: Asia

Vietnam Travel Tips – DOs and DONTs


Welcome to Vietnam!

Vietnam is one of the most beautiful countries of Southeast Asia, which is safe to travel and full of wonders. Although the roots of Vietnam’s culture are firmly bedded in a thousand years of Chinese domination, the French colonialists brought European-style administration, Christianity in the form of Catholicism. Vietnamese people are very gracious, polite and generous with  the conservative nature of Confucianism inherited from the Chinese. They are very appreciative for visitors trying to abide by their customs. The following Vietnam travel tips, taboo, dos and donts will help you to avoid some social taboos and make your trip to Vietnam a culturally and socially enriching experience.

traveltaboologo_1_thumbnelVietnam Travel Taboo

  • No shorts or tatty beer t-shirts when you visit pagodas. It is considered extremely rude and offensive. 
  • Do not touch someone’s head and point with your finger.


Vietnam Travel Donts

  • Do not sit with your feet pointing towards people. When visiting someone’s house, do not sleep or sit with the soles of your feet pointing towards the family altar.
  • Do not give handkerchiefs, anything black, yellow flowers or chrysanthemums as a gift. Bring fruit, sweets, flowers, fruit, or incense as a gift if invited to a Vietnamese home.
  • Do not sit until shown where to sit. The oldest person sit first.
  • Do not carry large amount of money or wear a lot of jewellery. Never leave your bags unattended. You may become a victim of a pickpocket or drive-by bag snatcher.
  • Do not show off; keep a low profile and a cool head, remain polite. Losing your temper in Vietnam means a loss of face.
  • Do not cause Vietnamese to “lose face”. The concept of “saving face” is extremely important in East Asian social relationships. Avoid behavior that causes embarrassment to another party, and hold back behavior that can be misconstrued as overly aggressive.
  • Do not take video cameras into the ethnic minority villages. They are considered to be too intrusive by the local people.
  • Do not take a photo of somebody without asking for permission. Do not take pictures of anything to do with the military, which is considered a breach of national security. 

Vietnam Travel Dos

  • Do dress conservatively. Never wear shorts, dresses or skirts, or tops with low-neck lines and bare shoulders to Temples and Pagodas.
  • Do avoid public displays of affection with a member of the opposite sex. Anything beyond holding hands is seriously frowned upon
  • Do use both hands to pass things. But do not pass anything over someone’s head.
  • Do learn to use chopsticks. Try to finish everything on your plate, and rest your chopsticks on top of your rice bowl when you are finished eating. Hold the spoon in your left hand while eating soup.
  • Do hold your bag in front of you and easy to grab, especially when you hire a motorbike taxi to avoid bag snatching.  
  • Do take your shoes off at the entrance if you’re invited to a Vietnamese’s home.  
  • Do expect toiletries in your hotel room such as toothbrush, comb, soap, shampoo, etc. But do carry toilet paper with you when you go out.
  • Do drink plenty of bottled water, especially when walking around sightseeing. Do expect to pay less for the local beer (Bovina) than for a bottle of water.
  • Do keep your valuables such as cash, credit cards and airline tickets etc in a safe place.
  • Do change money from a recognized moneychanger.
  • Do get medical insurance before your travel. The price of medical care in Vietnam is ridiculously expensive due to a scam they run with travellers and their travel insurance companies.


© 2010

Filed under : Asia, Vietnam

Malaysia Travel Tips – DOs and DONTs








Welcome to Maylaysia!


Malaysia is one of the colourful countries of South Asia, which is renowned for its diverse culture and is fast becoming one of the hottest tourist destinations of South Asia. The country boasts of a heterogeneous society with indigenous people of Malaysia as well as citizens of Indian and Chinese origins. The influence of European, Arab, Persian, and also British Empire, made Malaysia a truly multicultural culture that is rich in variety and truly global.  Although Malaysia is generally a laid back and relaxed place, and people of Malaysia are quite friendly, they do reserve their own customs and the visitors should try to observe these practices when they arrive. The following Malaysia travel tips, taboos, dos and donts would surely make your Malaysia tourism an enjoyable lifetime experience.






Malaysia Travel Taboo

 Avoid touching or passing object over the top of anyone’s head as it is viewed as the most sacred body part.

 A woman should never touch or hand a monk something. Even accidentally brushing against their robes requires that they fast and perform a cleansing ritual.


Malaysia Travel Donts

  • Do not touch the head of an adult. Touching people on the head is considered rude.
  • Do not point forefinger at things. Instead, the thumb of the right hand with four fingers folded under is the preferred way.
  • Do not pound your fist into the palm of the other hand, which is considered an obscene gesture to some people. 
  • Do not point your feet towards people or sacred images.
  • Do not wear hot pants and vests at mainland beaches if you are female. Topless sunbathing is a no-no. Malay women usually go swimming fully dressed and some keep their scarves on.
  • Do not kiss in public. Public behaviour is important in Malaysian culture. Most Malaysians refrain from displaying affection such as embracing or kissing in public.
  • Do not ever touch or hand a monk something if you are a woman. Even accidentally brushing against their robes requires that they fast and perform a cleansing ritual.
  • Do not be offended if your offer of a handshake is not reciprocated by a Muslim who is of the opposite sex. In Islam, physical contact between the opposite sex is discouraged.
  • Do not be embarrassed for burping. In Malay dining etiquette, burping or belching after a meal is acceptable.
  • Do not discuss ethnic relations or the political system. They are both sensitive subjects.
  • Do not drink alcohol. The country’s large Muslim population does not drink alcohol.
  • Do not ever involve in illegal drugs. There is a mandatory death penalty for trafficking.  

Malaysia Travel Dos

  • Do shake hand with men for greeting, but not women unless they offer to do so first. The traditional greeting or salam resembles a handshake with both hands but without the grasp. People greet visitors by placing their right hand over the left chest to mean I greet you from my heart.
  • Do remove your shoes before entering a Malaysian home or temples and mosques. It is customary to remove and leave footwear outside the house. This practice is also applicable when visiting religious buildings.
  • Do use right hand to receive or give something. The right hand should also be used for eating. It is considered discourteous in Malay custom to use your left hand when you hand over or receive things.
  • Do carry essential travel documents and have your health insurance and health certificates ready before your travel.
  • Do be aware that the cameras, watches, pens, portable radio-cassette players, perfume, cosmetics and lighters are duty-free in Malaysia. If you are bringing in dutiable goods then a deposit is required for temporary importation, which would be refundable on departure.
  • Do convert most of your currency in Malaysia. There is restriction of bringing large amounts of ringgit (Malaysia’s currency) into or out of the country.
  • Do follow simple rules when visit a Buddha temple. Show respect and remove your hat and shoes, Dress conservatively, no shorts. When sitting, never point your feet at a person or image of Buddha. Stand up to show respect when monks or nuns enter.
  • Do enter the shrine with your left foot first, and exit by leading with your right foot. This gesture symbolically represents a whole.


© 2010

Filed under : Asia, Malaysia

Japan Travel Tips – DOs and DONTs








Welcome to Japan!

Travel to Japan can be a rewarding adventure with its rich culture, profound history, natural beauty, epic shopping, unforgettable cuisine and gracious hospitality. Japanese culture is eclectic in nature, largely influenced by American and European culture after the world wars. In spite of the fact that Japan is becoming more westernised, especially with younger people, they are still maintaining many important Japanese customs and traditions. A strict code of behavior and politeness is recognised and followed by almost everyone. It is therefore, important to be polite and respect Japanese traditions and customs whenever possible, keep in mind the following Japan travel tips, taboo, dos and donts to make the most of your trip to Japan as well as making a great impression! 



Japan Travel Taboo

 Putting thumb in between your middle and index finger while making a fist is an obscene gesture. 


Japan Travel Donts

  • Do not enter a Japanese home with shoes on. It is customary in Japan to remove your shoes at the door while entering a home.
  • Do not wear socks with holes in them. You will need to take off your shoes often in Japan.
  • Do not dress casual attire in the workplace. Dress appropriately for business occasions, a suit and tie for men and a dress or pantyhose for women.
  • Do not sit until told where to sit when gathering or in business, as usually there is a seating arrangement based on professional status. Do not stand once the meeting is finished until the person with the highest professional status stands.
  • Do not eat and drink while walking in public. No food and drink taken in at a store. Avoid sneezing, spitting, and burping as well.
  • Do not put feet on the furniture which is considered extremely rude.
  • Do not tip unless given for a special service. Tipping is not customary in Japan.
  • Do not take food from the serving plate with the chopsticks that you’ve eaten from. Instead, turn your chopsticks upside down and then pick the food up.
  • Do not start drinking until everyone at the table is served and the glasses are raised to toast. The Japanese drinking salute is usually “Kampai!”
  • Do not stick chopsticks into your food or spear your food with the chopsticks. Not to bite your chopsticks as well.
  • Do not say something like “I hope to see you again” when parting.
  • Do not take photos of geisha without asking permission.

Japan Travel Dos

  • Do learn a few common Japanese phrases before you travel. Few people are able to converse in English there.
  • Do bow when greeting someone. Bowing is the customary greeting in Japan, but handshaking is becoming more common for business meetings with Westerners.
  • Do use the honorific suffix ‘san’ when addressing all men and women.  
  • Do be aware that a vague ‘yes’ does not always mean ‘yes’ in Japanese culture. A straightforward refusal traditionally does not form part of Japanese etiquette.
  • Do enjoy sharing several dishes at the table instead of having your own individual dish. Drink alcohol if you can, and slurp noodles and soup. In Japan, it’s not only socially acceptable to slurp when eating noodles or soup, it’s polite and a sign that you are enjoying your meal.
  • Do bow when you thank somebody. You can say “thank you” or “domo arigato” in Japanese, and tilt your head a little bit forward to show a gesture of appreciation.
  • Do enjoy food samples but do not be piggish. Take a single piece and just bow slightly and leave the store if you do not want to purchase something.
  • Do prepare to pay at a restaurant if you initiated the dinning invitation, and do make an attempt to pay at a restaurant if someone else invited you. Splitting the bill is not traditionally done in Japan.
  • Do bring a gift such as a little souvenir from your native city. It’s rude to visit a Japanese home without one. Avoid giving gifts related to the number four, which symbolises the bad luck. Give and receive gifts with both hands, and do not open a wrapped gift until later.
  • Do avoid visiting Japan in summer and winter, as the humidity and cold in Japan are terrible. Spring and autumn are great seasons to enjoy the beauty of flowers and the nature, especially the Cherry Blossom week, somewhere around the first week of April, or the end of November when the maple trees turn red.


© 2010

Filed under : Asia, Japan

Singapore Travel Tips – DOs and DONTs


Welcome to Singapore!

Singapore is one of the most popular and vibrant destination in Asia with its renowned clean and beautiful garden city and unique cultural diffusion of Chinese, Malay, Indian and European immigrants. Singapore is a very clean, safe and efficient city due to the strictly enforced laws. But diverse racial groups in Singapore retained its own cultural and religious identity including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Taoism, which can cause confusion and sometimes conflicts, for example, gift giving etiquette varies depending on the ethnic background of the individual. So bearing in mind of the following Singapore travel tips, dos and donts will help you enjoy the diverse and rich culture of Singapore and be a part of its enriching experience.

traveltaboologo_1_thumbnelSingapore Travel Taboo

Laws relating to jaywalking, littering and chewing/selling gum, smoking in public are strictly enforced in urban areas. Never litter, chew gum, sell gum, jaywalk, or smoke in public, which are punishable by jail or even death.

Singapore Travel Donts

  • Do not chew gums, which are banned in Singapore and may get you arrested. Leave it home before you travel.
  • Do not litter while in Singapore. Laws are strictly enforced relating to littering.
  • Do not smoke in public. Smoking is illegal in enclosed public places (including restaurants). Dropping a cigarette end in the street or smoking illegally can lead to an immediate fine.
  • Do not get involved in any drugs. Singapore carries a mandatory death penalty for drug-trafficking and harsh penalties for possession and use within the country.
  • Do not discuss religion or politics. Do not make jokes either.
  • Do not touch someone’s head. The head is considered sacred.
  • Do not show the bottoms of your feet or use your feet to point. Feet are considered dirty.
  • Do not bring in food into MRT (Mass Rapid Transport). Offenders will be fined up to S$200.
  • Do not point at someone with your index finger, which is considered very rude.
  • Do not take cabs which are very expensive in Singapore. The Singapore transportation system is exceptionally well planned.
  • Do not eat or offer anything with your left hand when with Muslims and do not use your left hand when shaking hands with a Muslim.
  • Do not tip. Tipping is not customary in Singapore and it’s even frowned down upon by the government.
  • Do not open a gift immediately in front of the giver. Do not wrap gifts in white, which is a mourning color.
  • Do not, for a Chinese descent, give clocks, handkerchiefs or flowers to as they are associated with death and funerals. Do not accept a gift immediately; refuse a gift two to three times before accepting to show that you’re not greedy.
  • Do not, for a Malay descent, give alcohol, or anything made of pigskin, as Malays are Muslim. Give the gift upon departing, not arriving, and use your right hand or both hands to give or receive presents. Never use only left hand.
  • Do not, for an Indian descent, give alcohol or something made of leather. Use your right hand to give or receive presents and not your left. If it’s large, you may use both hands.

Singapore Travel Dos

  • Do address someone using the title of Mr., Mrs. or Miss with the surname. Do not use first names unless you are invited to.
  • Do shake hands for a warm greeting, but be aware that Malays will not always shake hands. Muslims will not shake hands with the opposite sex. Do give a slight bow for older Chinese people.
  • Do remove your shoes while entering a private home, a temple or a mosque.
  • Do leave a little on the plate when you have finished eating.
  • Do be conservative in your behavior. Dress conservatively for business functions and dress casual in other situations.
  • Do have coins with you when you need to use the public toilet.
  • Do stay on the left side of the escalator. The right lane is for all those people in a rush. Do drive on the left hand side too.
  • Do have some handy cash ready to use. Do not rely on your credit cards.

© 2010

Filed under : Asia, Singapore

India Travel Tips – DOs and DONTs


Welcome to India!

India is a wonderful place, you will enjoy the scenic beauty, rich culture, engrossing traditions there, but India is a country with enormous internal diversity. Same as other countries in the world, there are travel taboos in India which cause extreme offence and lead to an immediate negative reaction in India. Although most local people are very tolerant to foreigners, it’s wise to be mindful of local customs, learn the following travel tips, and follow Indian Dos and Donts before travelling to Indian in order to avoid getting in trouble or seriously offending someone.


India Travel Taboo

Ears in India are considered sacred, pulling or boxing ones ears is a grave insult.

India Donts

  • Do not offer to shake the hand of a person of the opposite sex unless they offer first.
  • Do not walking over books and paper, even newspaper or even touching them with your feet, as Indian people treat books as a metaphor for the Goddess of learning.
  • Do not use the same hand for eating and also for taking food from a common dish on the dining table. Indians believe other people’s saliva is unhygienic. Tasting and taking a sip from others’ glasses is regarded as violation of private space. If you need a spoon, you will need to ask for it or bring one along.   Typically, people eat with their (right) hand.
  • Do not breaking temple rules while on a visit to a temple. Feet, particularly shoes/sandals, are considered unclean, always take them off when entering a temple (except in some Westernized, urban congregations). In some temples tourists are not even allowed to walk into the most holy areas with their shirts on!
  • Do not touch anyone or receive/give anything with one’s left hand, as the left hand is only used for one’s “morning business.”
  • Do not drink any alcohol or smoke in public. It’s offensive.
  • Do not hunt, as killing wildlife can get you in serious trouble. Do not hurt a cow, as many Hindus consider the cows are holy, and are offended if they are hit by strangers.
  • Do not discuss religion, especially with Muslims who form 11% of India’s population. Do not make comments of ridicule or disrespect toward the society or any religion.  People are very resentful of Western (ignorant) judgments.
  • Do not do any public preaching or handing out of tracts, and that kind of activity is prohibited when you are in India on a tourist visa
  • Do not visit areas in the extreme north or north-east, as foreigners, especially west Europeans and Americans are at risk to be hostaged by terrorists in those areas. The other areas of India is safe for everyone.
  • Do not buy food from roadside stalls or mobile canteens. Do not drink local tap water, drink bottled water only. Do not eat fresh fruit and vegetables that you cannot peel.
  • Do not take offers of spiritual salvation and magic remedies from saints, godmen and quacks. There is no way you can distinguish the genuine ones from the crooks.
  • Do not try to explore Indian road yourself, nor to drive in India unless you have been trained on Indian roads.
  • Do not ever purchase air, rail or bus tickets through strangers or unauthorized travel agents or tour operators. In any case avoid persistent touts and taxi-wallahs at airport/stations/bus stand to help you find your hotel. Always use tourist assistance desk for proper advice.
  • Do not hire any type of transportation from unlicensed operators. In case of taxis and auto-rickshaws, try to hire them from the pre-paid booths if possible. Otherwise, insist on going by the meter or set a fare in advance to avoid being over charged.

India Dos

  • Do dress modestly if you are female. No sleeveless blouses, no short skirts, no shorts, no low, loose collars. And  men do not wear shorts.
  • Do prepare yourself at the earliest. Indian traffic and roads are hapless.
  • Do greet people with big smile. Handshake with ladies especially in rural areas should be avoided.
  • If possible do cover yourself with travel insurance for thefts, loss and medi-claim. Do exchange money only through authorize banks or money changers.
  • Do immunized yourself against various diseases like typhoid, malaria, hepatitis and tetanus that are prevalent in India. Do take whatever medications you need in ample supply.
  • Do bargain with half price when you buy things from roadside stalls or hawkers, but do not bargain in proper shops especially where display “fixed price” signs.
  • Do make sure to remove your footwear when visiting a place of worship or mausoleum.
  • As customary, do bring some small gifts as hostess gifts and as presentations to one’s students, it can be as small as a postcard from your home region.

© 2010

Filed under : Asia, India

Thailand Travel Tips – DOs and DONTs

Thailand Travel

Welcome to Thailand!

Thais are easygoing, warm and friendly in general, but at the same time do not like to be offended, especially where revered customs and habits are concerned. Patience, tolerance and good temper display a commendable amount of Thai’s quality. But Thais are ultrasensitive, even jokes could cause embarrassment or displeasure to them. So travelling to Thailand to explore its remarkable cultures could be an encounter if you do not bear in mind from the very beginning about its Monarchy, Religion, Buddha Images, Monks, Head and Feet, Shoes, and Drugs etc important customs. The following travel tips of Thai Dos and Donts aim to well inform you before travelling in order to avoid trouble and embarrassment when you are in the kingdom. If you’re not sure what to do or how to behave in a specific situation, just look at what the Thais are doing and do the same. If it fails, just smile.

traveltaboologo_1_thumbnelThailand Travel Taboo

Do not ever show disrespect towards the Thai Royal Family. Thai people have a deep, traditional reverence for the Royal Family, failing or deliberately failing to show some respect towards the King or the Monarchy in any situation where it is expected, is not only an offense, but can also get you in prison.

Thailand Donts

  • Do not ever show disrespect towards the Thai Royal Family. Thai people have a deep, traditional reverence for the Royal Family, failing or deliberately failing to show some respect towards the King or the Monarchy in any situation where it is expected, is not only an offense, but can also get you in prison.
  • Do not criticize the regime or the ruling families. In Thailand even the most innocent critic turns lightly to lese-majesty crime, leading to a long years of prison.
  • Do not ever show disrespect to Buddha images, large or small, ruined or not, which is regarded as a sacred object. And never climb onto one to take a photograph or do anything which might indicate a lack of respect. Sacrilegious acts are punishable by imprisonment even if committed by foreign visitors.
  • Do not take Buddha images out of the country, which is against the law unless special permission has been granted. However, stores will sell them to you, but won’t necessarily tell you about the regulations.
  • Do not cross your legs when you are in the presence of a monk, no matter you are sitting on the floor or in a chair.
  • Do not eat rice with your fork, eat with a spoon instead. The fork is used to push the food into the spoon, and the spoon is used to eat. It is also considered impolite and disrespectful to leave some rice in the plate. So make sure you will finish it all.
  • Do not be too affectionate in public. Kissing, cuddling and similar behaviour are frowned upon if in public, especially amongst older Thais.
  • Do not get involved with anything or anyone about drugs. Do not take any packages through Thai customs for anybody! If you are caught carrying drugs, you risk the death penalty or life in prison. So be warned!
  • Do not ever accept any bag or anything from someone you don’t know very well, as it may contain drugs. And beware of your own compatriots, there are many scams of all kinds run by foreigners and aimed at foreigners.Trafficking or possession of drugs (including “soft” drugs) is in many cases punished with the death penalty. Also do not expect that your embassy can do much for you.
  • Do not sunbathe nude, which is offensive to most Thai people.
  • Do not touch Thai’s head or ruffle their hair. Thai regard the head as the highest part of the body, literally and figuratively.
  • Do not point at people or things with your feet. This is considered very rude, as the feet are considered as the most inferior parts of the human body. And do not sit on the floor of a Temple with your feet pointing at the Buddha Image!
  • Do not be offended by questions about age, salary or marital status, which are common questions Thai ask each other when first meet.
  • Do not smoke in the street, nor to drop litter in the street. You can be fined 2,000 Baht for doing so.
  • Do not shout in public in anyway (to anybody). In Thailand shouting and shows of annoyance are entirely frowned upon, whatever the situation. There may be times when you face frustrations, do so quietly and calmly.
  • Do not accept any offers from strangers to assist you in finding the right places to do your shopping. If you need a taxi, just ignore all the touts and go straight to the public taxi counter.
  • Do not participate in any form of gambling. Gambling is against the law in Thailand and penalties are very severe!
  • Do not get involved in prostitution in Thailand, which is not only put your health at serious risk, but also high chances of getting robbed.
  • Do not keep your valuables in a hotel safe deposit box. Some safe deposit boxes are the most unsafe places for safekeeping. Entrust your valuables only to respectable hotels.

Thailand Dos

  • Do dress properly in all religious temples and shrines. Do not ever go without sleeves or in shorts, hot pants or other unsuitable clothes.
  • Do remove your shoes before entering a temple or a private Thai home.
  • Do treat monks with the highest respect. Buddhist monks are forbidden to touch or be touched by a woman, or to accept anything from the hand of a woman.
  • Do show respect to the Thai hymn when the Thai national hymn is played in public places at 8.00 am and 6.00 pm every day. Most Thai people will stop and stand still, although a tourist is not expected to do so.
  • Do ‘wai’ (pronounce like why) which is the traditional gesture of greeting and thanking. It is done by joining hands in front of the chest and bending the head (the higher the hands, the more respect you’re showing). You can also wai as a way to apologize.
  • Do exercise tolerance, particularly when it comes to order food, pay a bill or waiting for change. Expect a longer time than where you come from. Do be patient, and try to keep calm no matter what the problem or provocation may be.
  • Do buy gemstones at a reputed establishment, but be careful of scams or be rip-offs if you follow tuk-tuk drivers’ recommendations.
  • Do give a tip at a nice restaurant, and do, if you wish, donate money to a respectable charity.
  • Do speak politely to the authorities to avoid to be sat around all day.
  • Do try to avoid any conflict of any kind with a Thai person (man or woman), because they can get hot tempered and react in very extreme ways in order not to “losing face”.
  • Do try to bring some small presents if you’re invited somewhere, as the Thai love to make presents to each other (it’s really the thought that matters).
  • Do bend your body a little to show that you apologise for the disruption or inconvenience when walk crossing others. It is a simple politeness, not a humiliation in any way.
  • Do keep smiling! The Thai smile when they feel embarrassed, that’s all and it’s true.

© 2010

Filed under : Asia, Thailand

China Travel Tips – DOs and DONTs


Welcome to China!

Every culture has their own rules on what is acceptable and what isn’t. As an inseparable part of folk customs, taboos are closely linked with ordinary Chinese people’s lives in ancient times, but with the constant changes of society, taboos have undergone great evolution in both forms and implications, although some elderly people maintain some forms of traditional life styles at present.

Travelling around China is a revolving, ever-changing experience, where you will learn a new set of rules, customs, and social expectations that you have never experienced elsewhere before. The following travel tips of China aim to help you to learn about China Dos and Donts  before travelling to China. Your knowledge of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable can make your trip in China much smoother,  prevent confusion and embarrassing situations, and also avoid getting in trouble or seriously offending someone.

traveltaboologo_1_thumbnelChina Travel Taboo

 Do not give a gift like the Clocks (giving a watch is okay), straw sandals, a stork or crane,   handkerchiefs and anything white, blue or black, which are associated with death or cause for crying, and are perceived to bring people bad fortune.


China Donts


  • Do not use a toothpick in public without covering your mouth with your hand.
  • Do not use your own chopsticks or spoon to dish shared dishes (which is customary) when eating with a group, use the serving spoon to dish into your bowl or plate to eat instead.
  • Do not open a present in front of the giver, which is not polite.
  • Do not leave your chopsticks sticking up in the left-over rice at the bottom of your bowl after eating a meal.
  • Do not stick your chopsticks upright in the rice bowl before or after eating a meal. Instead, lay them on your dish. Doing it in a restaurant or a private home would be a terrible curse on the proprietor, as sticking chopsticks in the rice bowl looks like the shrine with two sticks of incense stuck upright in it, which is equivalent to wishing death upon person at the table.
  • Do not tap on your bowl with chopsticks, as the beggars tap on their bowls, which is impolite and insulting.
  • Do not give a gift like the Clocks (giving a watch is okay), straw sandals, a stork or crane, handkerchiefs and anything white, blue or black, which are associated with death or cause for crying, and are perceived to bring people bad fortune.
  • Do not lose your temper, as to lose one’s temper is an absolute loss of face.
  • Do not point the bottoms of your feet to any person when sitting. Try to sit cross-legged or tuck your legs underneath you.
  • Do not touch someone unless you absolutely have to. Chinese people do not enjoy being touched by strangers, which is the direct opposite to Western society.
  • Do not biting your nails or putting your hands in your mouth as it is considered to be vulgar in Chinese culture.
  • Do not behave in a carefree manner in public. Embracing or kissing when greeting or saying good-bye is highly unusual.
  • Do not write cards or letters with red ink or ball pen, as it symbolizes the end of a relationship.
  • Do not forget to take off your shoes when entering any home in China, unless are told not to.

China Dos

  • The order of Chinese names is family name first, then given name. Brides in China do not adopt their husband’s surnames.
  • Always addressing people with their official title, refer them as Mr./Mrs./Ms plus their last name. Don’t call them by their first name unless invited to do so.
  • Handshake is common form of greeting. While meeting elders or senior officials, handshake should be gentle and accompanied by a slight nod.
  • Always show respect to the elders and acknowledge them in a group first.
  • Chinese do not usually accept a gift, invitation or favour when it’s first presented. Politely refusing two or three times is thought to reflect modesty and humility.
  • Always present your gifts with both hands. And be aware of colour when wrapping. Red represents lucky, pink and yellow represent happiness and prosperity, while white, grey and black are for funeral. White or yellow flowers (especially chrysanthemums) are used for funerals.
  • Do learn some Chinese which will help traveling around the country with much ease.  

© 2010

Filed under : China
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