You’ve just arrived in a certain Asian country and are considering immersing yourself in the culture. What you won’t expect are all the bizarre things that will come along the way. What may seem normal to them may seem unusual to you, from culinary differences to mannerisms. So, here’s a list of things that are guaranteed to frighten any tourist.
KFC on Christmas
When you think about Christmas food, the first thing that comes to mind is fruit cake or eggnog. If we’re being honest, no one likes fruit cakes, and for a good reason. The Japanese have taken this to heart and instead enjoy a warm KFC chicken bucket on Christmas day.
After years of marketing, KFC dominates Christmas in Japan. Tourists may be surprised to find something familiar this far away from home.
Chewing Gum in Singapore
If you are a foreigner looking to freshen up your mouth after a meal, then look twice. Chewing gum in Singapore is prohibited and it’s also illegal to distribute gum.
The only option is to get a prescription and take it to a pharmacy. This is weird because when did gum ever become medicine? If that doesn’t keep you away then be ready to pay some hefty fines if you want to break the law.
In Japan, cleaning ears can be quite an intimate experience. Be it with a parental figure or your partner. They do not use small buds like us though. Their ear cleaners are decorative with ends being puffy and cute, like a little Pomeranian.
The ends curve into a small spoon which helps to get the wax out. Much better than the smaller ones which push the wax into your ear.
Fear of the Number Four
If you ever enter a lift and find yourself confused because there’s no button for the fourth floor, then you are not the only one. Tetraphobia, the fear of the number four is quite common amongst Chinese, Korean and Japanese individuals.
This is another result of superstition because the words “demise” and “four” sound the same to them. You’d be better off climbing the stairs if you want to avoid this confusion.
Sugary Tomato Juice
Tomato is known for its rich tangy texture. Ketchup is the most famous form of consuming tomatoes. Some Asian countries also love to drink it in the form of juice.
While tomato juice isn’t surprising, you’ll be shocked to find out that Asians consume this juice along with some milk and honey. So, if you’re ever in the mood for a sweet and tangy drink then just hit a random store and enjoy some refreshing tomato milk juice.
If you have ever been the first to enter a lift in Japan and find the other occupants staring at you then it’s because you are the captain. The first to enter is designated the assignment of pressing the buttons for the other passengers.
Just enter at the end if you want to avoid this responsibility. The first person to make this must’ve been lazy if they couldn’t press the buttons themselves.
Interacting With Monkeys
In Thailand, visitors aren’t allowed to go near the elephants but the monkeys are fair game. You can visit an entire beach with interactive monkeys. They may even climb up your head and start digging through your hair for lice like you’re one of their own.
Just don’t carry any food or valuables in your hand openly unless you want these critters to swipe it out. You wouldn’t even be able to catch them after.
Shoes Aren’t Allowed
In Asian countries when you enter homes, it is customary to remove your shoes. You will be offered slippers instead for your feet. So, if you don’t want to offend anyone, this is one rule you should follow because no one wants to clean up the dirt you drag in.
Thailand also follows this rule as you may need to remove your shoes before entering any temples or other famous spots.
Ghost Hunting in Japan
There are a plethora of horror movies that show what happens to unwanted visitors. This doesn’t stop anyone from being too cautious about Casper and his pals. In Hokkaido, there’s a haunted schoolhouse that you can explore with some buddies if you are feeling extra brave.
If you have watched The Grudge, then we highly suggest staying away from such places if you don’t want to meet any brutal spirits.
Valentine’s day is special for all the couples out there, but what if you’re one of the people who didn’t receive any chocolates this year? Well, then South Korea has just the thing for you. Black day is celebrated by loners.
You can enjoy a steaming pile of black bean noodles if you are feeling miserable alone. At least you can spend the time laughing at boyfriends or husbands who forgot to get their significant other a gift.
The best thing about Asian cuisine is the street food. You’ll be surprised by the number of vendors as the streets are lined with them. The health choices may be a bit questionable but that’s always the risk with good food.
You’ll be alarmed by the crowded streets filled with vendors but this just means that you only need to look left or right if you get a craving for the munchies.
Respecting the Elderly
When it comes to respecting an individual, you expect to be treated the same way. If you’re in South Korea, then you’re out of luck as you might come across some elderly women who will give you a hard time.
As the elderly in South Korea are to be respected to the utmost, they often take advantage of this rule. They might call you names or scream at you for no reason at all.
Geese Replacing Guard Dogs
Dogs have always been a man’s best friend. However, it’s not the case in China as Geese are taking over for police dogs. This is because geese have great sonar skills and they are even said to be braver.
So, if you ever find yourself at a police checkpoint with geese instead of dogs then don’t even bother laughing. It’s really hard to imagine getting busted with substances because a goose ratted you out to the neighborhood cops.
In the Philippines, there’s a place called “Bucas Grande” where you can swim with some harmless and also a bit friendly jellyfish. From March to May and July and August, you’ll find this area blooming with jellyfish that will not sting you.
This makes for a once-in-a-lifetime dreamlike underwater experience you won’t find anywhere else. If SpongeBob can have fun in the field of jellyfish, who’s to say that you can’t?
Subway Chin Rest
Sloth is one of the seven fatal sins and this one defines it to the core. In Japanese trains, you can rest your chins if you are feeling more than a bit lazy.
This seems like a stupid idea but stupid is what sells as people do use these chin rests to catch a break between long commutes. It makes you lazy without making you look lazy so judge for yourself.
The average height in Asian countries is shorter than in western countries. So, if you have ever bumped your head when walking through doors, there’s a good reason for that. As the people are shorter, it influences how everything around them is built.
This includes doorways as people above six feet aren’t that common, to begin with, in some Asian countries. Just put some ice on that bump if you forget to bend down when going through such doors.
Cats have taken over the Internet. Who doesn’t love these adorable balls of fluff? Well, the Vietnamese don’t. This is because the meowing of a cat sounds suspiciously like their word for poverty. This isn’t surprising as superstitions run higher in the Asian community.
So, if you end up visiting Vietnam and find a lack of indoor pet cats then don’t end up surprised. This just means there are more cats for all the crazy cat ladies out there.
China’s Giant Buddha
Brazil may have beaten almost everyone in giant statues but China hasn’t held back in statues either. This giant statue of Buddha is a monster in size with eyebrows as long as five meters.
That’s even taller than your average basketball player, making athletes like Lebron pale in comparison. What’s fascinating is it was built way back in the eighth century. It kind of makes you wonder how such large structures were built so long ago.
Elevator on Cliff
Going up a cliff may seem easy but how do you get down when you are exhausted from the climb? Well, here is an elevator on the side of a cliff for all the lazy people out there.
Why bother wasting energy climbing when you can let the elevator do the climbing for you, right? Located in China, this behemoth travels up to a towering height of 300 meters. How crazy!
What’s better than a cup of coffee? A cup of coffee while you’re surrounded by hundreds of cats. Japan sure has a lot of weird stuff but this is one place you shouldn’t miss out.
These cafes are really popular amongst young people. You might be too busy playing with cats that you might forget to order but hey, at least you’re having fun petting some cute cats. The only downside may be some fur in your drink.
Celebrated in April, Songkran is a festival that takes place in Thailand. This festival is used to pay respect to elders by initiating an all-out war with water guns and balloons.
Visitors who are in Thailand for the summer are in for a treat, because no matter the age, a good water gun battle is always a good idea to distress. Better bring some extra clothing because you’re about to get drenched.
Rustic Pictures in Thailand
Who doesn’t love dressing up in new clothes? You may need to dig deep in Thailand but some stores let you take pictures dressed as old school Thailand citizens. It takes you back in time when things were simple.
That is until you find out the clothes you are wearing are designed after the slave traders and owners who existed in that period. This seems like a touchy subject so it would be better to just avoid such locations.
It is said that the suicide forest is filled with spirits who further motivate people who have already come here to take their lives. The ground is littered with all kinds of personal possessions of the victims of the forest.
There are also motivation boards with positive messages and helplines for people who are having second thoughts. This forest has been a basis for many of Japan’s folk horror stories. It has gained more publicity abroad because of the famous YouTuber Logan Paul.
Largest Flower in the World
The Rafflesia has earned the moniker of the largest flower in the world, but another thing could be said about its smell. This horrendous-smelling flower is found in Malaysia and Thailand and is Indonesia’s national flower.
The stench is enough to keep anyone away making it deserving of the name “Stinking Lily.” Its large shape has even been modeled into an emblem. Contrary to its stench, it still holds some relevance to Indonesia.
Surprise surprise, it’s Vietnam back at it again with another strange product for you to drink. This time snake beverage is on the menu. This is supposed to be good for your health but we don’t see how a drink, which is already bad along with snakes, is supposed to benefit your body.
Since some snakes are already venomous, it makes you think twice about what kind of snake they stuff in their drink.
Weird Vietnamese Cuisine
From crocodile burgers to porcupine, Vietnam has it all. It almost beats China in the most disgusting foods ever with the inclusion of weasel poo.
Why did anyone think that this was a good idea? Probably some old Vietnamese duds had this idea. This is consumed in the form of coffee. So, if you ever want to take a morning dump, why not drink some poop coffee to make you poop.
Horrifying Vegetarian Festival
You may ask, “how can vegetables be scary?” It isn’t the vegetables but the people who are frightening. Every year in October, a festival is held in Phuket, Thailand, where people take part in self-mutilation.
Unless you are a masochist, we advise you not to take part in such a thing. They also walk across hot coal without any protection, all for only not eating meat for just a month.
The Smallest Mammal
Discovered in 2001, this bat is what would be the result if Batman had a cute baby. Regarded as the smallest mammal to exist, this bat lives with a swarm of 100 bats inside caves.
The Kitti’s-hog-nosed bat produces only a single baby every year but sadly, they have started to become threatened. This is just another life that is about to be snuffed out by nature. Could this get sadder?
Insects as Delicacies
The Chinese market is vast with all kinds of weird foods that are lined throughout stalls. Grub worms are strung like kebabs and put over heat until ready.
They pop like a pimple and while they may be nutritious unless you’re Bear Grylls you wouldn’t be able to stand the vomit-inducing taste anyway. Makes you wonder who was the first person to think that eating worms would be a good idea.
Food Made From Saliva
Yes, you read that right, saliva. Swiftlet produces saliva to make its nets and these strands of saliva are also somehow considered a delicacy by some. These are charged at a mind-boggling $900, which is surprising because hey, it’s saliva.
They are a nightmare to harvest and according to some, these strands of saliva also have a few health benefits. So, if you want to try this delicacy, don’t be surprised if you get a few stares.
Star Wars Inspired Building
In Singapore, you’ll find a building straight out of the LucasFilms Star Wars series. It consists of animation studios but the public can still visit it. So, if you want to feel like a young Anakin, check out this Tatooine-inspired location.
Opened in 2013, this has turned into an unexpected landmark for many tourists. This isn’t surprising as Star Wars is still making movies that are relatable to a younger audience.
Temples in Kyoto
Kyoto is filled with enough history to make anyone passing through feel like a samurai from the Edo period. Tourists visiting for the first time may be overwhelmed as there are over 1600 temples.
Japan has many gods for almost everything in the Shinto religion. That’s a lot of maintenance to do. Filled with rich Japanese history, it is home to the monk who has been said to be the one to introduce Buddhism to the Japanese.
Fish That Can Walk
Coming back full circle, this fish might have been related to the one that started the theory of evolution. The Cryptotora Thamicola is a fish located near waterfalls that can walk on land.
This walking fish is surprisingly related to the goldfish but instead has an appearance similar to the salamander, although it has no relation to it. Kind of scary to imagine fish walking at you when you least expect it.
Japanese Sleep Cycle
Japan has some of the hardest workers in the world. So much that they work beyond exhaustion. This means that due to a lack of sleep from working, they often fall asleep anywhere. However, no one disturbs them because this is the norm for the people out there.
It is common to see such people on subways. So, when you are working for hours on end sometimes, it’s alright to sleep like a baby even when you’re a middle-aged man.
Chinese Crotchless Pants
When nature calls, you can’t deny it. It’s not surprising to find a kid doing his business in public but to outsiders, this may seem shocking. Kāidāngkù is a special type of pants that makes it easy for kids to relieve themselves.
Nowadays, people opt for diapers which may seem more hygienic. That doesn’t mean you still won’t come across some random kid with a pair of crotchless pants as some parents still use these.
Old People in Japan
When you go to Japan, you may find a lack of young people when compared with the younger generation. The population of older people is greater here with some still working hard way past their retirement stage.
This might also be due to the decline in birth rate as no one wants to go outside to socialize nowadays. Way past their prime, these elders still make up a majority of Japan’s working citizens.
Red Light in Traffic
When you come across a red light, it usually means you have to stop your ride. In Asia, most of the time, a red light in traffic is usually just to tell you to slow down your car.
We can’t say much about how safe this is for anyone crossing the road, but at least you’ll never run late for any appointments because of traffic. This still doesn’t mean you should avoid any traffic rules for safety.
Chinese New Year
If you think the New year’s celebration in Times Square goes hard then China is here to show you up. The Chinese New Year lasts for fifteen days straight, which is two weeks long. Yes, you read that right. That’s 15 long days of fireworks lighting up the sky.
Two straight weeks of partying are sure to make any college student regret their life choices. So, it’s a wonder how the Chinese have so much energy for fifteen days of celebration.
Volcanoes in Indonesia
Located near the pacific plate which is known as The Ring of Fire, it is noteworthy that Indonesia has about 150 volcanoes inside. All these volcanoes are still active so unless you can stand the insides of a microwave, don’t get too close.
A noteworthy explosion had taken place back in the 1600s which had covered the entire island in soot. It still sees activity every two years but is still safe.
Married couples in Japan sleep in different beds. This is mainly after a child is born so the mother sleeps with the child. The mother takes up responsibility until the child is a teenager.
People from visiting countries may find it strange because different beds mean no cuddling. Who doesn’t love cuddling? This might also be a reason for the decline in Japan’s birth rate but we won’t confirm anything.
Only One Time Zone
The US is a big country with six different time zones. That’s six different timings set up across 40+ states. The Chinese only have one with all their clocks being set to the same time.
Talk about unity! With 3705 million square miles of land, that is a lot of clocks that are synchronized together. From breakfast to lunch, everyone eats, sleeps, and starts their days at almost the same time.
This is easily the most bizarre thing on this list. Eggs boiled in urine, and not just any urine but the urine of boys under ten. Where they get the urine is questionable.
This is a traditional Chinese dish, although it has been banned almost everywhere. You can still find it in some areas but if you’re looking for urine-boiled eggs then you’re even more messed up for even going after these eggs.
Your birthday is the one day that’s all about you. You feel special because all your friends and family get together to throw you a surprise party. Vietnamese citizens, on the other hand, spend their birthdays on the same day.
They all celebrate adding another year to their life on Vietnamese New Year’s Day. Kind of takes away that special feeling but at least they get red envelopes filled with a bit of dough to make up for it.
Most anime fans may have heard about this due to its use in Naruto. Poking someone to annoy them is something we all have done. The Japanese have taken it up a notch by poking people!
Not a particularly pleasant feeling, especially when you’re a foreigner. So, if anyone asks you to play Kancho, say no if you want to avoid some strange games.
Caressing Children’s Heads
If you’re a tourist visiting Thailand then it might not be a good idea to ruffle any children’s heads. There’s a superstition that a sacred spirit lives in every head. So, if you aren’t a monk then don’t even bother.
Who knows, the spirit might take offense to you disturbing its peace. You’ve probably watched enough horror flicks so you know what happens to people who mess with the wrong spirits.