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Dos’ and Don’ts

As a responsible tourist, you should  try to make sure that the people you meet enjoy your stay in their country as much as you do – or at least, that you do not offend your host. “Responsible Tourism Mekong” suggests the following guidelines for tourists:

Do say “Mingalarbar” when meeting someone, use “U” in front of men names and “Daw” in front of women names;
Do let the oldest be served first;
Do offer articles with both hands and keep both feet on the ground;
Do bend slightly in front of the elders;
Do dress and act decently, speak slowly and clearly;
Do ask permission before taking photographs;
Don’t touch anybody’s head; Don’t touch women;
Don’t point a finger straight in the face;
Don’t step over any part of the person;
Don’t go where you are advised not to go;
Don’t traffic, handle, or use narcotic drugs;
When entering pagodas or monasteries, wear decent clothes (no shorts, bare shoulders or chests) and take off your shoes;
Don’t sit with your back towards Buddha’s image;
Show respect to monks, novices and nuns, don’t offer to shake hands, a woman should not touch a monk, don’t step on a monk’s shadow;
Don’t handle Buddha images or sacred objects with disrespect or keep them in inappropriate places (on the floor for example)