SE Asia Culture and Etiquette

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Southeast Asian Culture and Etiquette


Being polite in Southeast Asia is crucial

Politeness is reflected in the indirect ways people behave and talk.  Your understanding of what people mean may not at all be what they actually meant!  The intent is more important than the action.  And it is often important to understand what people do not say as well!

People will be quite forgiving if and when you make a mistake as long as they feel that you really make an effort to do the “do” and avoid the “don‘t”.

Do you know how to be polite the Southeast Asian way?


What do you know about showing respect in Southeast Asia?

What do you know about handling cultural issues?
Do you know how to handle Buddha images, shoes, feet, head?
Do you understand the importance of patience?
Are you aware of the importance of respecting monks, the Thai Royal Family, elderly people?
Do you know how to hand things to people, pass people, about dress codes, greetings, public displays of affection, eating etiquette?


What do you know about saving face in Southeast ASIA?

Never embarrass local people, i.e., make them lose face, especially in public, by being upset, laughing at them, or raising your voice.  How to communicate your feelings when you must?  Do you know?

Do you understand the famous Thai/Southeast Asian smiles?

By the way did you know there is also a famous Danish smile, quite different from the other Western smile?

What do you know about working and planning in Southeast Asia?

The attitude to work regarding planning, meeting deadlines, feedback, responsibility and initiative is very different from Western culture. Seniority, hierarchy, image, and prestige are observed meticulously.  How to cope?  Do you know?

We help you understand!

In training sessions and workshops designed and customized for you and your company's needs and together with your local colleagues.

We regularly train international volunteers and ex pat teachers the Learning by Doing and Fun Way: Activity and Interaction Based Training.  We have trained over 2000 international volunteers in Southeast Asia!

We help you to learn and understand in real life situations.  We don’t believe you can just read about another culture to understand it and to prepare yourself to live and work in it.  We help you to understand rationally in discussions, and mentally and emotionally in role plays or real life situations.

Openmind Projects: Bridging Culture Gaps

A unique way for Westerners and Thais to learn about each others' cultures and to live and work together!

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Culture Abroad in Thailand and Southeast Asia - Southeast Asia Culture and Etiquette