Be respectful & friendly
Most Asians are very hospitable to international visitors and they expect similar behaviors in return. Be respectful and friendly, and you will easily immerse in this fascinating part of the world. Being publicly angry, arrogant and loud is much frowned upon and will not help solve problems or get a better price when you make a purchase.
The long distance between the port and city attractions
The long distance between the port and city attractions is inevitable when going on shore excursions to Southeast Asia. For instance, it can take over three hours to travel from the cruise port to Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City. Some cruises mitigate this inconvenience by docking for two or more days in a port, allowing passengers to remain overnight in the destination cities. When this isn’t possible, make the best of the extra travel by savoring the journey, especially if it’s in the company of an informative guide. Remember to look out the window! Countrysides reveal much about a nation, its people and their culture. Your observations in transit can be just as exciting and revealing as walking city streets.
Bathroom facilities vary greatly, even in large cities, at tourist stops and along major roadways. Sometimes only “squat” toilets are available. Be prepared for this possibility by timing bathroom breaks when you’re near major hotels or tourist-friendly restaurants. Sometimes, handicap facilities will have Western-style toilets. Travel with sanitary wipes in case toilet tissue isn’t provided. Above all, keep hands clean to avoid the spread of bacteria and viruses.
Pickpockets roam the markets and more crowded streets in many Asian cities, but violent crime against tourists is unusual. There are numerous stories of people, both locals and international visitors, having valuables stolen on the buses, especially overnight “sleeper” ones. Always take your belongings with you at rest areas and meals. Assume that if it’s hanging out, or left alone, it can be taken. Be prepared for the worst and have photocopies of your tickets and passport saved in your email accounts, and backup your photos on a photo sharing website.
Pay attention to traffic
Traffic can be daunting to pedestrians, particularly to international visitors. Crossing streets filled with speeding motorbikes and tuk-tuks are not for the faint of heart. Drivers are aware of pedestrian traffic and adjust their driving accordingly. Stay close together, and step out when the traffic is minimal. Walk at a slow, steady pace while watching the oncoming traffic that hopefully will flow around you. Follow locals as they cross to get the hang of it.