Archive for May, 2012


A wonderful post for traveling behavior. My own experience, if the order came out wrong, and do you want to return the dish, but if the waiter and waitress being nice, just eat it, because, you may not know, they will have to pay by their own pocket for your plate which equal with one quarter of their salary. 

Know two to accept the situation is also the way that people accept you in their country – where – you are the outsider coming in. Enjoy the post and I hope it gives you an idea for some of you as a first experience in Asia.

By Jessica Festa (RSS feed) on May 19th 2012 at 12:00PM

In your home country, you probably have no problem starting up a conversation with other locals. However, when traveling abroad it becomes a bit trickier. You may find yourself losing your temper in stressful situations, or feeling anxious asking simple questions, like for directions or where the nearest bathroom is. To help you successfully interact with locals on your next trip abroad, here are some tips I’ve learned through my travels

Remember, you are the Foreigners:

Too often, I find tourists getting snippy with locals because they can’t understand what they’re saying. While in Vienna, I was actually with a girl who shouted at our waitress – who spoke German – for bringing the wrong salad. She actually had the nerve to turn to me and ask, “Why can’t she speak English?”

Because we’re in Vienna!

It was mortifying for me, mortifying for the waitress and should have been mortifying for this nasty tourist as well. The correct reaction would have been to either to politely try to explain to the waitress – with hand gestures and pointing to the menu, if necessary – that she brought the wrong entree. Or, just eat the salad. Sometimes, receiving the wrong order in an eatery adds some adventure to the trip, anyway.

Be PatientOf course, if you don’t speak the local language it will take longer to ask questions and get your point across. Instead of acting impatient, take a deep breath and remind yourself how lucky you are to be having an interaction with a local in a foreign country.

Remain Calm

If you have an important question that seems impossible to get answered – like where your bus will be arriving or how to get back to your hotel – don’t panic. This will only cause you to seem like you’re upset or angry, making it less likely for someone to answer you. Instead, think of an alternative way to ask your question. For example, instead of using words to ask for hotel directions, show the person the property’s business card or a map and ask them to draw the route.

Carry A Pen And Paper

Going along with the above tip, one of the smartest things you can do when abroad is to carry around a pen and paper. Drawing pictures and writing out the names of sites and cities can be much more effective than speaking, especially as accents can get in the way. I find it especially helpful when buying train or bus tickets, as I can simply write down the name of my starting city and draw arrows pointing to the names of the other places I need to get to.

Keep In Mind That Cultural Barriers Are Part Of The Experience

This goes along with being patient. It may seem frustrating while you’re speaking and not being understood, but keep in mind that it’s all part of the travel experience. Once you return home, these incidents will probably have turned into comical stories of the trip.

Every Time You Interact Your Cultural Knowledge Grows

Each time you interact with a local in a foreign country you learn something about the culture or place. Because of this you should try not to be nervous about asking questions or starting a conversation regardless of your knowledge of the local language. Even doing something as simple as saying “hello” can help you learn about greetings in the community. On a recent trip through South America, I had a lot of trouble making steady conversation with locals, not because I didn’t know Spanish, but because of my New Yorkaccent. However, having locals correct me was a great way for me to perfect my Spanish, and also add some new phrases to my vocabulary.

Don’t Get Offended

Traveling in Ghana I was constantly trying to be polite, using the phrase ma daa si, or “thank you,” as much as possible. However, every time I said it, my courtesy was met with hysterical laughter. At first I felt stupid for not being able to say the phrase correctly, until my homestay mother explained to me that I shouldn’t be offended and that the locals appreciated foreigners trying to speak the local language of Twi. It was also common for Ghanians to shout oburoni, or “foreigner,” at you as a way to start a friendly conversation, call you skinny or fat to describe a fact or propose marriage to you within just getting to know you. You have to get out of your Western mindset and remember that in other countries different responses and behaviors mean different things. Plus if the person you’re interacting with really is being rude to you, it’s no different than if someone at home were doing the same thing. Ignore them and move on.

Research Cultural Taboos

While you shouldn’t get offended, you also don’t want to be offensive. Before leaving for your trip, do some research on the etiquette and customs of the culture you’re visiting. Asking someone personal questions may be acceptable in one culture, but not another. Moreover, take space and touching into consideration. We may shake hands in America to greet someone, but if a woman tried to shake the hand of a monk in Thailand that wouldn’t be good.

Take A Chance

So what if you say a word wrong or the person you’re talking to doesn’t understand you? Most likely, the worst thing that will happen is you end up walking away without your question being answered. On the other hand, what if you get your question answered, learn some new foreign vocabulary and make a new friend? Think of the possibilities of your interaction and take a chance. When in Ghana I traveled with a girl who was terrified of talking to locals even if just to hail a taxi or purchase fruit at the market. One day we were buying fabric to have dresses made and she asked me to order hers for her. Because I wanted her to have the experience of interacting with locals, I refused. In the end, she was really proud of herself for talking to the local woman and wasn’t so terrified to interact from there on out.

Teach Locals About Yourself, Too

While you’re curious about the life of the local you’re talking to, they’re probably curious about you, too. Make sure to share some insight, and if you can, bring photos of family and friends, and items that give them some insight into your culture.


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Last Saturday I met up with a couple from Australia – this was their second time visiting Vietnam. He is Australian veteran and she is a counselor. For some reasons, the conversation was still in my head through the weekend and I reckoned I need to write it down before it disappeared from my little brain.

Mr. C. – the veteran, kept saying it was a break through for him to come back to Vietnam, tears in his eyes, I could feel how hard it is for him to come back to the land where he was 43 years ago. The place that gave him a lot of nightmares. That was way before I was born, and it seemed so hard for us – the lucky generation – which I always call the people at my age and later on – that we have a no-war country. No matter if it is Socialist or Democracy, it is a peaceful country.

As going on through lunch in Ngon restaurant on such a humid hot day in Hanoi, he kept talking about the people in Vietnam. This was not the first time I sat with a veteran and listened to his story – even it was the past tense with blood and fights, but I could still feel the smoke, see the blood, and the fear in his eyes. Praising Vietnamese as a brave nationality, developing like a miracle after so many years of wars, he said he did want to give back – not only because he wanted to, but he felt that he owed Vietnam and he had to do something. I guessed the moment he was in Long Tan memorial, when a vietnamese veteran put a hand on his shoulders, smiled and said: the was was over a long time ago, and we have moved on, now we are FRIENDS” – that moment – I think the burdens had been off his shoulders, after such years, finally, he felt better and relieved.

Turned into Nam – our travel consultant, he said ” We have been being great friends”. Two visits, with a lot of email exchange, Skype chatting, the relationship has blossomed into a beautiful friendship. That’s when the distance was deleted, our hearts were opened into deeper personal conversations. It is now not only about business, we have made a new friend. Nam – has done a great job to make such a wonderful friend in his life.

“Take care of my son” – he said to me before saying goodbye. ” And I will be back to Vietnam very soon”.

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Outlined by the concept of private travel services, Indochina Voyages Travel holds fast with our business mission “to offer customized, unique, refined and luxurious trips to the travelers”. The whole team has been working hard to find new routes and undiscovered paths, to offer fast reply communication system and to provide our unique products at the best price possible.  Meanwhile, we entrust our business to leading and reputable financial institutions around the world in order to ensure a highly secure, worry-free  and easy payment system to our valued clients when they approach us. “Lowest possible rates but highest possible delivery, listen well to cater  exceed expectations”, this has always been our work ethic and attitude as to practices and we do this to provide the highest quality of services you deserve.

We understand the ultimate goal of travel is to discover and to learn more about the destinations, which is why we aggressively focus on the details, on arranging new itineraries while being selective and, most importantly, on offering tour guides who are truly dedicated to their jobs and who will strive to keep you busy and amazed with unique findings on the road. In our website’s pages, we have compiled and displayed a selection of nice sayings, local proverbs, exotic customs and traditional practices of the region. This effort is to share our world with our  travelers and to help you unveil the secrets of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia in a way you will find to be practical and educational and, most of all, unforgettable.

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