Modesty Though fashions are changing in urban centres, modesty is still important in traditional areas, especially in Muslim-dominated countries. Avoid baring too much skin in general – avoid topless sunbathing and cover up when visiting religious buildings.
Taboos Politics and religion are often sensitive topics. Always treat both with deference and avoid being critical. Many Southeast Asian cultures are superstitious; it is wise to learn about these beliefs and act accordingly. Muslims don't drink alcohol or eat pork. Women shouldn't touch Buddhist monks or their belongings.
Save Face Southeast Asians, especially in Buddhist cultures, place a high value on harmonious social interactions. Don't get visibly angry, raise your voice or get into an argument – it will cause you and the other person embarrassment. When in doubt, smile.
Shoes Take them off when entering private homes, religious buildings and certain businesses. If there's a pile of shoes at the door, be sure to follow suit.