During the two months in Asia I noticed many differences between German and Asian people. I got to know a completely different culture with quite some funny facts and habits I wanted to share with you.
One of the things nearly everyone knows but worth mentioning: You can not drink the water out of the tap! On the first days you sometimes automatically want to water your toothbrush with it and wash your mouth afterwards but noo way. The taste is disgusting and you will notice what the water does to your body in a few hours…also you have to pay attention to the taste of the ice in your drinks. Sometimes there is also no fresh and clean water which can cause stomach ache and diarrhea so be careful guys.
2. SAME SAME BUT DIFFERENT
I always thought that “Same Same but different” would be a joke but nope it’s not. In Thailand all the locals are saying it you can even buy shirts with the quote on it. Typical example: I wanted to buy a bag with a size of 15 liters in blue. Subsequently she gave me the only bag in blue she had in a size of 5 liters and said “Same same but different”. The funny thing is that it’s not meant as a joke and wants to sell it to you because it’s basically the similar to the bag I wanted to have.
3. TOILET PAPER (OR NO TOILET PAPER)
Often when you’re in public areas like at the beach, in a restaurant or in a club there’s no toilet paper provided. Every Asian toilet has a water hose which the Asians use for cleaning themselves. You turn it on, rinse everything and leave. The water dries immediately because of the heat outside. It’s not my favorite option but it works as well 😀
4. ATM FEES (THAILAND)
ATMs are often used for withdrawals especially by foreigners – like me. At little shops you can’t pay with your credit card and for example in Bangkok you need coins to by a ticket for the skytrain so sooner or later you have to use an ATM. What we didn’t know in the beginning is that the ATMs in Thailand charge you 200 Bath no matter how much money you need. 200 Bath are 5 euros and that’s a lot of money in Thailand (you’ll get a good dinner plus a non alcoholic drink) so it’s definitely better to take a lot of money once and then put it into a safe or a bag near your body. If you want to know more about the equipment I had with me just write me in the comments below.
5. NO ICE/ WITHOUT ICE
Especially in Thailand you have to lower your english level to communicate without any misunderstanding. For example Charly (my travel buddy) used to say she wants her drink “without ice”. Quite easy – but not for Thais. The conversation is basically like this:
“I’d like to get one drink without ice okay?” – “One drink with ice yes?” – “No no, without ice!” – “Sorry Miss? Ice yes?” – “No, no ice” – “Ahhh no ice, ok one drink no ice”
6. PLASTIC BAGS
In Germany the trend has already arrived and in Asia it’s slowly starting: No plastic. In every supermarket you get two plastic bags because one might not be stable enough for the water bottle you just bought…and for every yoghurt/ drink you get a free plastic straw or spoon. Recycling? No chance. At a certain point we kept the plastic bags in the apartment and took them with us to the supermarkets to put all our purchased items in there. On the other side in the organic shops they want you to buy long-term straws made of bamboo to minimize the amount of plastic straws in Asia.
7. BUGS/ ANIMALS
Some people forget that Asia is also a continent full of animals. Especially in the tropical areas you can find nearly everything. A trip to Asia is nothing for people with an arachnephobia or fear of bugs and reptiles. I love geckos and don’t have any problem with them in my room as long as they don’t sing in the middle of the night. Someone we got to know during the trip told us that he always keeps one gecko in his room because it eats the mosquitos. Also don’t forget to apply mosquito repellent with deet or a special organic one in a tropical climate…mosquitos are everywhere. And last but not least my favorite animal (not): the cockroach. Yes they also do exist, one lived in our open bathroom and another one ran over my foot…they’re disgusting but you get over it. Also there are super cute turtles! We went snorkeling and I swam next to one and we’ve been on a rescue farm where this little cute grew up.
8. WHEN ASIANS BECKON YOU OVER
Especially on markets or on big streets the people wanna sell their stuff…from Sarongs over Ukuleles to Ping Pong Shows – you get everything in Asia. The weird thing is when they wave with their hands it looks more like they want you to go away. The movement is like when you’re really bad in throwing a ball so that the palm is at the end not visible anymore – you know what I mean? At first I was super confused because a man yelled “FREEESH COCONUT” at me but at the same time his gesture told me that I should go away…crazy.
9. YOU SISTERS?
Ok so here’s a picture of Charline and me.
She’s blond, I’m a brownie and our faces are completely different. But for the Asians we apparently looked the same. In restaurants , in shops or at spas many people asked us: “Oh you sister?” – “Eeeh…n-” – “You twins? Yes you twins you so prettyyy – you german?” – “No we’re best friends and yes we’re from Germany haha.” – “Ahhh Guten Tag, wie geht’s?”. Some of the Indonesians studied German in school and their pronunciation is really really good. We were amazed!
10. FRUIT PLATES
I adore the fruits in Thailand and Indonesia. All of them tasted deliciously and ripe. The best are the inexpensive smoothies and shakes but be careful with the amount of ice…don’t drink too many otherwise you can get really bad stomach ache (I’m not exaggerating guys). In Indonesia we stayed in a lot of bungalows and homestays where you can order pancakes and they serve the breakfast to your room (always take this service – the locals serve the best pancakes/eggs for the lowest price!). And now there comes the best pat of it all: They serve you a fruit plate for free full of banana, watermelon, papaya etc. Your needed vitamins are on one plate for free and it tastes amazing. What do you want more?