i visited thailand, vietnam, laos and cambodia in september/october 2009.
as much as i LOVED it for being so different to western life and culture, i also HATED all the hassle i got as a farang (i realize i might be a bit sensitive on that matter).
so can anyone recommend other asian countries without aggressive touts? or is there no such thing?
The funniest reaction to touts I ever read is here
Many areas in Laos don't have touts. . . unless you count a tuk-tuk driver as a tout when he's just offering a lift to where you need to go. Similar could be said for Northern Thailand.
I find that SE Asia isn't nearly as bad as China as far as touts go - except maybe in HCMC and Bangkok.
it depends on where you go. places with lots of tourists, like angkor wat/siem reap or kuta beach on bali, have lots of touts. go figure. but other places don't. i agree with casey that laos doesn't have many touts. on my last trip to pakse and champassak in 2010, i don't remember getting hassled at all. same goes for thailand that year in lampang, kamphaeng phet, nong khai, korat, and even sukhothai. in mukdahan, i was the only farang in sight much of the time and the only approaches i had were from friendly, cheerful students wanting to say hello and practice their english.
it is also relative. the touting at angkor on my last trip in 2006 wasn't nearly as bad as it was in 1999. the touts in even the heavily touristed areas in thailand are no where near as aggressive or persistant as say kathamandu or istanbul. just think of it as part of the experience. besides, a smile and a polite no thank you has almost always does the trick.
I am reminded of a friend of mine when we were in Haiti. Whenever we went to the PX there was a particularly obnoxious tout there, and he would start with "My friend, my friend..." One day Rod has had enough and says "Why do you keep calling me your friend? I don't even like you." It was pretty funny, but it didn't slow the tout down.
Another time in Bangkok an Indian taylor was trying to lure me into his place to get a suit made. I stopped and said "Dude, look at me. Do I look like a suit and tie type of guy to you?" He started laughing, and now laughs every time I walk by his place.
In Haiti they allowed a certain number of vendors access - they received a license and paid a commission. Allowed troops who didn't get out much to buy Haitian souveniers and allowed Haitians some access to that market. They actually set up their stalls right in front of the PX - so you had to walk the gauntlett to get in. Amazing they were able to replicate the third world hawking system right there in minature.
I'm slightly curious about that little 'logo' ( for want of a better word) in the bottom right-hand corner.Now I know Pattani, Yala,Betong and most of that area very well it's in the deep South.Victory to whom?
Also, how did you put it there?
You can adjust your profile.
I am a fierce critic of non-state application of violence for political ends. So I am strongly in support of the government of Thailand against the insurgents in Pattani. I don't care how justified they feel their position. The bar for non-state actors is, and should be, extremely high.
Whilst I agree that there are plenty of parts of Indochina and Thailand that are tout/hassle free, as a country as a whole I find the Philippines generally tout free and you also get plenty of honest help and advice, don't get ripped off on public transport (many buses and bemos publish their rates at the front) etc. For me the country doesn't pull the same cultural punches as other places in Asia but if hassle-free's a priority it's worth a punt.
Find only in extreme situations touts become annoying. Mostly I just ignore them and they give up as there is always someone who won't ignore them and they just home in on the low hanging fruit.
Compared to say India or morocco South East Asia doesn't have a tout problem and I got my training there lol!
#14 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,652
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