Learning about another country’s culture is important. Understanding other cultures increases your cultural awareness during your stay, preventing you from offending locals or causing misunderstandings. Also, it expands your perspective on certain matters. Learning how a place gives importance to nature through a festival may inspire you to view the environment in a more positive light and make lifestyle changes, which is why we rounded up 4 cultural sites to see in Asia, one of our favorite places.
Learning about culture keeps you open-minded. As a result, it’s easier to understand where other people are coming from and accept differences. This can benefit your personal and career life, allowing you to make better connections with others.
If you’re interested in reaping these benefits, here are 4 cultural sites to see in Asia.
4 cultural sites to see in Asia
Public bathing is a normal practice in Japan. The word “onsen” means hot springs in Japanese, and these are what public bathing facilities are called. In Japanese culture, they believe in “hadaka no tsukiai”, which translates to naked relationships. They believe bathing with others forms a special platonic relationship because no one is able to hide behind clothes or barriers.
One of the more popular onsen destinations is the Kinosaki Onsen in Toyooka. It’s tourist-friendly with English signboards and the option to lounge in “yukata” or robes. Kinosaki Onsen is a comfortable place where tourists can mingle with locals and gain more understanding of Japanese culture.
In the Philippines, the city of Davao is a better place to discover genuine culture as opposed to more industrialized places like Manila. This is because Davao has kept up with many indigenous traditions, like how the T’boli tribe still does traditional weaving. Another is that the city stayed consistent with celebrating festivals, like the Kadayawan.
Held every third week of August, the Kadayawan Festival in the Philippines is a thanksgiving celebration for Manama, the Supreme God of indigenous peoples in the region. Participants dance in the streets with colorful costumes and props, representing different indigenous groups.
Before the country became a Christian nation, residents worshiped gods and goddesses for a bountiful harvest. This festival serves as a reminder for Filipinos and tourists alike that, as an agricultural country, the Philippines has much to thank for nature and what it provides.
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Vietnam Floating Markets
There are several floating markets in Vietnam. In each of them, sellers and buyers alike use boats to navigate the waters. Vendors have their goods like fruits, vegetables, and food displayed on a traditional wooden boat.
Floating markets like the one in Mekong Delta serve as a reminder of the country’s trade and barter past. Historians believe that the area is unchanged since the 1800s, keeping the market culture and tradition of their ancestors alive. In fact, even archaeologists have found evidence from 4500 years ago that points to people already using the river to make trades and bargains. Vietnam’s floating markets give visitors a peek into the country’s past and rich culture of trading. This makes it one of our favorite cultural sites in Asia.
Feeding bears in Laos
Typically, people will stay away from wild animals. In Laos however, a particular sanctuary will encourage visitors to feed them. Feeding bears in the city of Luang Prabang encourage people to hide bananas in tire swings and spread honey on tree bark.
The Luang Prabang sanctuary housed bears that were once used in bile farming. Asian countries like Laos use traditional Chinese medicine that contains bear bile to break down gallstones. The process in which it is retrieved harms the bears since tubes and unsterilized needles are involved. However, the government aims to close all bile farms by 2022 and rehome the bears.
This activity shows how, despite bear bile being part of their culture, they’re starting to unlearn it for the sake of animals. It shows the nation’s outlook toward nature and the changes in its practices for the betterment of all.
Learning about different cultures can expand your knowledge and perspective. Visit a few new cultural sights in Asia like these to broaden your cultural horizons.
Written by J Braun as a guest contributor
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