What I Learned About Southeast Asia

Dressed for the weather in Hoi An, Vietnam

How can this person even see?!

More than a year ago when I was packing for our trip, I decided to bring shorts and tank tops to wear in Southeast Asia. The region is known for its heat and humidity, so those outfits seemed like the obvious choice. But before we left, I was admittedly pretty ignorant to the habits of other cultures.

In America, we dress for the weather. If it is hot outside, you wear as little clothes as possible. If it’s cold, you bundle up. But I’ve come to learn that the East and West are very different when it comes to attire. When you get out of the bigger cities, such as Bangkok, you’ll notice that locals aren’t sporting miniskirts and spaghetti-string tops. Even though Thailand is known for its beaches, many locals do not wear bathing suits or revealing clothes in beach areas. Many dress conservatively no matter how hot it is and even swim fully clothed. This is especially true in Malaysia, where more than half the population is Muslim. Nude and topless sunbathing is completely taboo, though it’s done by some foreigners on the most touristic beaches.

Their conservative clothing choices are a result of their cultural behavior and religious views. But another reason you’ll find Vietnamese women, for example, walking down the street in pants, a jacket, hat, gloves and a facemask is because they adore light-colored skin. They are afraid to have the sun darken their complexion and damage their skin. Aside from protecting themselves from UV rays, they embrace the use of cosmetics that contain whitener. Continue reading

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Taking The Bus From Singapore Into Malaysia

 

Traveling into Malaysia from Singapore? Buses are a comfortable, safe and affordable means of transportation to and around Malaysia. Here is one more way you can save some money when traveling to Melaka, Kuala Lumpur or any other location in Malaysia via Singapore.

The View From Inside A Singapore BusBus companies are plentiful in Singapore, but rather than buy your ticket in Singapore and pay Singapore dollars, use public transportation to cross the border into Malaysia and pay in ringgits (this has a far more favorable exchange rate regardless of your country’s currency).

Forget about Singaporean travel agents or bus companies and take the MRT North-South Line to Kranji. Then take the 170 bus headed to Johor Bahru (JB). Be mindful of the end destination before boarding the bus to ensure you’re getting on the correct one going the correct direction. You will pay local public transportation costs, which are measured by distance traveled (roughly S$0.10/kilometer). Continue reading