Best Asia vacation spots are many and varied. You can even find them in the Middle East, as countries like Israel and Jordan with their long a rich histories are technically on this continent. This is the world’s largest and most populous continent, boasting such wide-ranging tourist attractions as miles of pristine beaches, large cosmopolitan cities with gleaming skyscrapers, some of the world’s most endangered and exotic wildlife, and the monuments of ancient cultures stretching back thousands of years.
While diverse in many ways, Asia travel tips have many similarities. Some of the best places to go in Southeast Asia include religious temples like those found at Angkor Wat in Cambodia. This is also true of India with its magnificent Golden Temple and the United Arab Emirates with it many mosques. All of these destinations ask that all visitors, especially women, dress modestly and with respect due in places of worship. In almost all cases, this means shoulders and knees covered and shoes off.
But many of the best places to go in Southeast Asia are beach destinations and resorts where there are no restrictions on what you wear while at the resort and on the beaches. Thailand is the country best known for its beaches and coastal resorts, including Phuket Island that has been popular with backpackers and hippies since the 1960s. There is still plenty of the bohemian beach bum lifestyle still available on this beautiful tropical island, but there are also numerous luxury properties with gourmet restaurants, private pool villas, full-service spas, and other five-star facilities and services. Another of the best places to go in Southeast Asia is the emerging country of Vietnam, which has made large strides in developing its tourism infrastructure over the last two decades. Here, you can enjoy Mekong Delta or Halong Bay cruises in deluxe ships. You can lounge on the beaches of Vung Tau or enjoy superb scuba diving off the coast of Nha Trang. There are cycling tours and trekking in the mountains, as well as the fascinating cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
You can also find some of the best Asia vacation spots in China. This country’s tourism infrastructure has grown by leaps and bounds in the last two decades, and its cities and attractions are more open than ever to Westerners. Ancient monuments to explore here include the Great Wall of China that snakes across the country for thousands of miles, the extraordinary Terra Cotta Warriors of Xian, the imposing Forbidden City of Beijing, and the former residence of the Dalai Lama in Tibet, the Potala Palace. You can also cruise for days down the mighty Yangtze River or explore the shopping mecca of Hong Kong.
One of the best Asia vacation spots for families is in Malaysia. Here prices are reasonable and transportation is fairly convenient. There are also excellent all inclusive hotels and resorts that are attractive to families and those on a budget. For exotic romance, you can try Bali, which is known as a tropical paradise with miles of white beaches. This Indonesian island is on the far southeast border of the continent, quite close to Australia.
How one behaves while traveling in this vast continent is important, so important that Asia travel tips are often taught as courses by companies sending staff for business in countries such as India and China. While the business etiquette is more intricate and important, following some basic guidelines as a tourist can make your stay much more enriching—perhaps even keep you out of trouble. In addition to the modest dress guidelines already mentioned, Asia travel tips include everything from food etiquette to how to greet people and when not to take photographs.
In most of these cases, the guidelines won’t apply if you are in a hotel or resort that caters primarily to tourists. This is even true of strict Muslim cultures like Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia which have laws against the consumption of alcohol. While some hotels are dry, many that cater to international tourists do serve alcohol.
In most Asian cultures, it is almost always considered rude to eat with your left hand. In temples, do not walk directly in front of a person who is praying. When sitting, don’t point your toe directly at another person, and do not step over the legs of a person who is sitting on the floors. Keep public displays of affection to a minimum. A woman should not touch a Buddhist monk, and in some Muslim cultures, she should not shake hands with an unknown man. Bargaining is the rule of thumb in virtually all markets and shops, except the upscale shops in luxury hotels and exclusive boutiques and galleries in cities. In Thailand, a respectful greeting is the “wai,” which consists of placing your palms together just under your chin as though praying and bow your head slightly. Don’t take photographs of local people without getting permission first. Many of these unwritten rules will also apply to countries in Africa, including Egypt, Morocco, and predominately Muslim coasts of Kenya and Tanzania.
If it all sounds a bit daunting, don’t worry. As a general rule across all these countries, the local people are very tolerant of the dress and behavior of tourists. But do take the time to learn a few basics about the specific culture you plan to visit. Making an effort to understand and respect local customs will often get you treated to some very enriching experiences that won’t be offered to the insensitive.