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Customs & etiquette

Quite simply, Asia is an etiquette minefield! At times the customs can be a little confusing, at others very intriguing. However, for most visitors to Asia the ancient traditions and rituals form some of their most abiding memories of this fascinating region.

Etiquette at any meal table, levels of respect and protocol within families, early morning alms-giving on the city streets - the list is as fascinating as it is endless, and there are numerous volumes written on the subject. Although Asia is modernising at an incredible pace you will be surprised to see how many of the old values still hold strong.

Whilst there may be some disparity in the customs you will witness (and hopefully participate in!) within the regions you will visit, there are some general guidelines that any visitor to Asia will do well to follow. Your Selective Asia guide will also be able to help you unravel the mystique of what you witness going on around you.

This page is intended as a guide to help you through the early days of your holiday when you may be concerned about inadvertently causing offence. In general, you will find most Asian people are very understanding of your lack of knowledge in these matters. If you take care to show respect, you are unlikely to cause any real offence. Your mistakes are far more likely to be responded to with laughter than with anger.