When it comes to staying safe, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you whether something is dangerous or not. When it comes to most accidents that take place overseas, it is more likely than not a combination of a) alcohol and/or b) stupidity.
The best way to protect your life while on an adventure in Asia, travelers need to use a little common sense, before attempting to drunkenly recreate that scene from Titanic with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslett on the bow of a banana boat. It’s also important to read up on local laws prior to traveling. Police at home may give you a slap over the wrist for a small number of drugs, but in Asia could see you come face-to-face with a firing squad or spending the rest of your life behind bars. Not a good way to end a holiday, right?
Carrying or using drugs is very, very risky and the laws on both trafficking and the use of illegal narcotics are worlds apart from those at home. While the laws of most Western countries take the ‘harm minimization’ stance and aim to protect the health of drug users, all countries throughout Asia have the death penalty in place as an option to sentence would-be traffickers.
Do what your mother says and stay away from drugs, and do not carry drugs for anyone else! Even if they pay you enough to buy your own Jetski! When you carry drugs for someone else – even if you do not profit out of it – that’s called trafficking, and Asian countries don’t let traffickers off too lightly.
The first thing that will save your life/get you out of trouble/prevent you from losing wads of your well-saved money is – common sense! If things sound dangerous, they generally are. If things sound risky, they generally are. If things sound too good to be true, nine-tenths of the time, they generally are! Scams don’t just happen in Asia, but all over the world.
In Asia, scammers generally target tourists as they are often viewed as easy targets. Many scams involve gaining the trust of the potential victim, so if a fairly random person begins to act super nice to you – remember that no one is invulnerable to scammers, especially you.
Always be wary of other people and make sure you do not cause offense. Across all Asian cultures, the concept of ‘face’, ‘saving face’ and ‘losing’ face relates closely to what we refer to as ‘Dignity’. Dignity is, of course, important to westerners, but not compared to the complete and utter seriousness of the consequences of losing face in Asia.
It is important when dealing with authorities, police or anyone to treat them with respect, and do not question their authority, as this could potentially make them feel like they have lost face – ultimately creating a worse set of consequences for you.
If you use common sense and logic while when traveling throughout Asia, the biggest cause for concern should only be minor interruptions, such as having the runs, sunburn, or that splitting headache from drinking too much Tiger Beer!