Everyone’s got travelling on their bucket list and thanks to our kawans at AirAsia, now everyone can fly and explore the sights, sounds, food and culture of our beautiful neighbouring countries. No matter what you enjoy doing while you’re on vacation, there are some charming eccentricities you should know about your favourite holiday destinations.
1. Bangkok, Thailand.
Capital city of the Land of Smiles, Bangkok also currently holds the title for longest city name in the world. The locals refer to it as Krung Thep which is a shortened version of the actual name which consists of 169 characters.
The full name is: Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahinthara Yutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udom Ratchaniwet Mahasathan Amonphiman Awatansathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukamprasit.
Bangkok is also known as the World’s Hottest City (ikr, we all think it’s Kuala Lumpur in February) so don’t forget to carry a bottle of water with you to keep hydrated while you shop non-stop and experiment with fried critters.
2. Bali, Indonesia
The unique thing about Bali is that a large majority of its economy comes from tourism. There are only very few other industries to work in on the island. This means your comfort is usually their top priority. Balinese people have huge hearts, infectious smiles and contagious laughs.
Because of their easy-going nature, you won’t have too much trouble gunning for a bargain for many items and services in Bali, but remember to do your bargaining respectfully and with a smile on your face.
3. Sri Lanka
Sri Lankans are laid back and easy on the smiles but more uniquely, they are the 8th most generous country in the world, according to the CAF World Giving Index. This generosity is seen throughout the island, in how people welcome you into their homes, always serve you a meal and offer to help in any way.
However, unlike other well-connected places in southern Asia that actually are cheap, Sri Lanka can make for an expensive visit depending on what you do. A lot of goods on the island are imported, which hikes up the price of imported liquors and certain foods. You're going to need cash to pay for most things, so be sure to have plenty on hand.
It’s best to get your cash from ATMs rather than money changers. With BigPay you’re charged RM10/transaction but you can rest assured you’re getting the best rates every time.
4. Tokyo, Japan
You’ll often read or hear from travelers that Japanese people are so nice! One reason for this is the concept of “omotenashi,” a word that is often translated with “hospitality,” although that word falls short to encompass everything that omotenashi means.
It’s more than genuine kindness towards guests, it’s also a sharp eye for detail, awareness for individual needs, and the effort to always go the extra mile.
However, just like Sri Lanka, Japan is also a cash-based society and many places do not accept credit cards so make sure to always have plenty of yen in your wallet in order to avoid awkward conversations.
Tip: If you find yourself in need of more cash, head to a 7-Eleven to use the ATM. Not only is your bank card guaranteed to work every time, but it's also open 24/7.
5. Sydney, Australia
The Sociable Cities study ranked Sydney 12th on its list of 19 Most Friendly and Sociable Cities of the World. Many locals call you "darling”, which makes you feel loved and their reflexive “no worries mate” means nothing’s too much of a hassle.
If you’re looking to get more out of your trip without having to fork out the extra dollars, the good people of Sydney also offer a wide range of activities you can do for free. “What’s On Sydney” has a list of free and cheap current events.
You can also explore some free museums: The Mint (a small exhibit on how they used to make money), Australia Center for Photography, White Rabbit Gallery (beautiful art), and Sydney Observatory to name a few.
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