A girl in a pink ao dai and a non la

Turn every new Oriental experience into adventure, with these tips from Cathay Pacific

Ao Dai Dance with leaf hat
Ao Dai Dance with leaf hat

Respect Asian values

Respecting traditions is vital when travelling through China and Japan, where it is customary to address people by their last name and to bow as many times as you are bowed to. In China holding a pair of chopsticks vertically at the centre of a bowl of rice, for example, is a serious faux pas.

  • Fact: China produces over 45 billion sets of chopsticks each year – which equates to around 130 million a day.

Brush up on business etiquette

Research the religions, values and systems of hierarchy unique to the area of Asia you’ll be visiting. As a mark of respect and to make interactions with locals easier, have a set of business cards printed with English on one side and a translation into your host’s language on the other.

  • Fact: After the Chinese Civil War of 1949, it was decided that China have just one time zone throughout the country to instil a sense of unity.
Try a Chinese dumpling.
Try a Chinese dumpling.

Extend your cuisine boundaries

Don’t be afraid to try unfamiliar flavours and textures. Leaving a tip for the waiter is considered optional in Singapore and Malaysia, but often prohibited in Brunei. If you are unsure, follow the lead of local patrons.

  • Fact: Locals in India only eat with their right hand – it is considered offensive to use the left for anything other than using the toilet.

Expect the unexpected

Asia is home to some of the most outlandish trends in the world. Pajamas are worn out on the streets in Shanghai – whether people are walking the dog or shopping on Nanjing Road. Cat cafés are all the rage in Beijing, where patrons can sip coffee while cats nuzzle at their feet and prowl about the room.

  • Fact: The cat figurines often seen in Japanese homes, shops and restaurants are called Maneki-Neko or the “Beckoning Cat” and are said to bring good luck. The importance of cats within Asian culture stems from ancient Japanese folklore, depicting cats as noble and welcoming animals.

Getting around

Riding through town in a tuktuk is a thrill on three wheels in Thailand and India. Weaving through the traffic on a scooter is also good way to get around and all you will need is a valid driver’s licence to hire one for yourself.

  • Fact: Asia is the world’s most populous continent with roughly 60% of the earth’s population living in Asia.

Embrace the chaos

Navigating densely populated streets where throngs of people occupy the roads and livestock roam freely can be challenging, especially in Hong Kong and Bangladesh. Simply go with the flow – you never know where a little spontaneity could lead you!

  • Fact: The Asian Highway 1 (AH1) is the longest route of the Asian Highway Network, stretching over 20,000 kilometres from Tokyo to the border that separates Turkey and Bulgaria.

Indulge 

Get plenty of rest during your flight as you head home. Guests on-board any Cathay Pacific airline can unwind with an Oriental breeze, an award-winning exotic island-style drink.

  • Fact: Your sense of taste and smell is slightly impaired at higher altitudes.

With a handpicked selection of 80 vintages sourced from vineyards in France, South Africa, and New Zealand, relaxing with a glass of wine on Cathay Pacific Airways is the best way to cure the end-of-holiday blues en route to reality.