What to expect on your trip to Asia

Tips for travellers

Woman in hat walking down busy tuk-tuk lined street in South-east Asia


South-east Asia is a fantastic shopping destination, with many markets and shopping strips offering great bargains. Do your homework before you go and know the value of the items you want if you are planning to haggle for a better price.

Negotiating prices in Asia can be fun. Local vendors love the thrill of haggling and fighting for a deal. Just remember that appearing too eager or happy about an item is guaranteed to inflate the price. Start as low as possible star (about half the ticket price) so you have room to move. Be prepared to walk away and always arrive early in the morning as the first sales of the day is considered lucky so you will have more chance of securing a good deal.

Customs and Local Laws

Consider local laws and customs when travelling to Asia. Conservative dress standards and behaviours apply to many parts of Asia, while some provinces and regions have unique laws and customs. By finding our which customs apply to your destinations, you can avoid offending the locals.

Some to keep in mind include:

  • A Day of Silence is observed for Balinese New Year.
  • Ramadan is observed in Indonesia (Bali), India, Malaysia and other countries with large Muslim populations.
  • Consider dress codes when visiting religious landmarks. Saris, sashes and head scarfs may be required.
  • India have travel restrictions in certain tribal areas. Avoid disappointment by confirming any travel restrictions before you arrive.
  • Touching the top of someone’s head or showing the soles of your feet may offend the locals in Thailand.
  • Gambling is banned in many Asian countries. Also beware of gambling scams - if something seems amiss, report it to the police.

Alcohol and drugs

Prescription medicationa/drugs

Not all medications that are available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

For this reason, take your prescription medicine so you remain in good health. Always carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you take and that it's for personal use only.

Information sourced from smarttraveller.gov.au

Non-prescription medications/drugs

Alcohol age limits will vary depending on which country you are in. Some parts of Asia allow alcohol consumption at 18 years, but in other countries you must be 21 years old, so make sure you do your research before you go.

The penalties for drug offences are severe and include the death penalty. Penalties for possessing even small amounts of 'soft' drugs, such as marijuana, include heavy fines and imprisonment.

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