Hello Guys, love this website. This is my first post. I leave for a 6 month trip through Indo, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam in 10 days. Leaving from San Francisco, First stop Bali. I have read all the State Department travel advisories about steering clear of large groups of people, protests, ect and all the other common sense safety tips. But I was curious about if anybody over there has any comments/advice that may be helpful in the wake of all the anti-Amierican protests across Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand due to some video on youtube that is apparently anti-Muslim. Like, should I tell everybody I'm Canadian or something to be safe or what? It just kind of freaks me out since Im leaving so soon and everyone is up in arms about some stupid video over there. I know you can never predict when a place can suddenly turn violent but I just would like to know that Im not heading into a dangerous protest/violent situation for the next 6 months. Btw my Girlfriend who is coming with is Chinese decent and looks phillipino, but I am a typical blond hair Caucasian American.
#1 mgann85 has been a member since 19/9/2012. Posts: 2
Thailand is predominantly Buddhist so I don't understand why you would be concerned about Thailand. It is only in the southern part of Thailand where you will find a predominantly Islamic population. Bali, Indonesia is predominantly Hindu so few worries there.
In SEA, even though fundamentalist Islam has made inroads, the vast majority of Asian Moslems are tolerant and accepting of other religious beliefs. It is a more relaxed version of Islam. You'll often find a hybrid of Islamic beliefs and the local animistic traditions.
It would be wise to avoid the areas near protests but otherwise I think you will be safe. You might come across some loony who will make things unpleasant but that will be the extent of it. I think it is unlikely you will be physically assaulted for being American.
In my personal opinion, the news reports are sensationalizing the protests (they gotta sell news and make money too!). Bear in mind the protests have been small, limited to a few hundred people (100-300) in cities with populations of several millions. Are you really going to be worried about 300 people protesting in Jakarta, a city of over 8 million people?
You are one of thousands of travelers doing SE Asia - I seriously doubt you will have the least of problems. By the way, the religious zealots are also mad at the French at the moment - so says the nightly news of Sep 19th. Remember that many Scandinavians and Russians are also blond (don't advertise your nationality).
Just for your info, the Vietnamese love Americans, really.
I agree with the others that it is unlikely trouble will find you unless you go looking for it, particularly in the places you've mentioned. The number of people protesting is small, the shelf life of this round of outrage likely short, and the news coverage typically making more out of the story than is really there. Just don't wear your Osama Sucks t-shirt or draw unnecessary attention to yourself or wander into areas where you don't belong and you should be fine.
By the way, I think it is tacky to pretend to be Canadian if you are not. Regards.
Hey everyone thanks for your words of reassurance. I just need to relax...but hey that's what this trip is for right! :)
#6 mgann85 has been a member since 19/9/2012. Posts: 2