For your information, your South East Asian trip could turn to be a disaster due to huge etiquette differences, since this region offers you an astonishing yet daunting culture diversity. As a rising SEA destination, Laos has its unique Laotian etiquette as well. This peaceful country has more to be concerned while traveling than you think. So what are they?
1. Greeting in Laos
Even though you can speak and understand no words of Laos at all, if you learn to greet like Laotian, it will be a huge plus point when you want to win Lao people’s heart. Let’s try! Touch your palms together below your chin and nod your head downwards and say SAH-BAI-DEE (“hello” in Lao). See, it works!
It would consider to be really rude if you point at Lao people in any cases.
2. Talking with Laotian
The peace you can find while in Laos is everywhere for reasons. One of them can be explained by the way Laotian communicate. They prefer gentle and moderate speech, not so loud and exciting, yet not so low and slow. Speak softly and gently.
Avoid confrontation while you speak. There is no reason for you to be aggressive with those kind and gentle people.
3. Asking or offering in Laos
This is a common rule. Politely ask for permission before you take a photo of anyone. And please do not give village children or poor novice any money.
4. Mind your feet in Laos
Since the head is the most important part of the body while the foot is the dirtiest part in Laos culture, please mind your “feet behavior” while in Laos. Kindly take off your shoes when entering local house or any sacred places. Also don’t show or point your barefoot soles in front of Laos people. That act can make them think that you mean they are the dirtiest ones. Be careful!
5. Way to support Laos tourism products
Laos is also famous for its traditional textiles and silks. Support the country buy those authentic things, but please never buy any antique things or sacred items since they are in danger of being forever gone.
6. Religious behaviors in Laos
Buddhism has had a huge influence in life of a Laotian. They respect their religion, the monks and the Buddhas as much as they love their family and ancestor. Therefore, when entering a pagoda or seeing a monk, please pay attention to keep your head lower a bit to sow the respect to them as Laos people do. And do not touch the Buddhas and the monks.
7. Dressing in Laos
Lao people don’t reveal their skin that much. They dress casually and neatly in their daily life. Dress neatly as well and avoid expose your skin a lot in public while you are in Laos.
8. Participation in Laotian ritual ceremonies
Probably one of the must-see while in Laos is Alms giving ceremony since this country is the only one which still remain the tradition in daily life besides Thailand. Observe the ritual in silence. If you are not making an offering, keep a generous distance from the procession. Donate to the monks if your contribution is meaningful.
Do not use flash when taking photographs, and certainly don’t stand too close to the monks in order to get a good shot. This is very disrespectful and disturbs the peace of the ceremony. Never make physical contact with the monks.
9. Do the local things and avoid illegal behaviors
Laotian eat with a fork in the left hand and a spoon in the right. The fork is used to push food onto the spoon. Sticky rice, however, is eaten with the fingers of the right hand, which are cleaned with a napkin.
Last but not least, never try any illegal drugs in Lao.
Wanna avoid inappropriate things to do while in Laos? Contact us to customize your next wonderful journey to Laos!
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