For first time visitors to Asia, the first few days may prove to be difficult. It is not uncommon for tourists to feel self-conscious, paranoid or simply exhausted. For some, the heat, new surroundings and new customs may just also prove to be too much to take in at a time.
These reactions are really quite normal and are part of whatís known as culture shock. Everyone feels this in some form, and in varying degrees. However, the challenge of entering a totally unfamiliar environment could be made easier by knowing what to do or expect beforehand. Here are some tips:
1. If your schedule permits it, just try to relax and be kind to your self upon arrival. Chances are you will be jet-lagged and somehow tired, a few days of acclimatization will help you a lot.
2. Gradually step out. It typically takes a day or two to get your bearings and get used to the customs of a new country. Try exploring first the immediate vicinity of your hotel, then the more accessible places before venturing off to more adventurous/ out of way places.
3. Get hold of a good map of the city youíre in. Youíll move with far more confidence if you know just where you are.
4. Try to pick up a few words of the local language. Though chances are you will sound funny to the locals, they will appreciate you for this and you may even make new friends.
5. Do not feel pressured to totally take in the local customs or ways (or even cuisine) right at the start. If you feel like having nothing but ham, eggs and toast for the first few days, go ahead. Youíll have more opportunities to experiment with local cuisine once you get more comfortable.
6. Many Asian cities, though fully developed and modernized do have areas where very poor people reside. Many visitors may find the view and conditions in these areas to be quite appalling and shocking. If you do get to pass by any of these areas, do try to hide your shock and avoid being patronizing as many residents in these areas (especially those who have lived their entire lives there) may find it insulting and snobby.