When exploring historic sites in Asia, it is important to follow a few simple guidelines that will help you get the most out of your visit:
Don’t Remove Anything from the Site
Perhaps the most important and obvious one: don’t take anything home! Even if it seems small and insignificant, such as a stone or pebble, do not remove it from the site. If everyone took even the tiniest memento home, pretty soon historical sites would be picked clean. After all, you wouldn’t take anything out of a museum, right?
Do Hire a Local Guide or Book a Tour
To get the most out of your visit, it is usually a good idea to hire a local guide. A knowledgeable guide is able to give you background information and facts about the history of the site, which will dramatically increase your enjoyment and improve your experience. The guide may also be able to advise you of the best times to visit certain areas.
Do Wear Appropriate Clothing
Some ancient sites might still hold an important spiritual significance for the local population. Generally if you are visiting a temple or religious site, wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. No tank tops, sleeveless shirts, short-shorts or miniskirts. Even if it seems as though it is tolerated in some places, it is best to show proper respect.
Don’t Climb Walls or Walk into Areas that are Off Limits
It should be pretty clear whether an area is off limits to the public. However, it is generally a good idea not to climb or lean on constructions that are not clearly marked with hand-rails and the like. Even if it looks sturdy, after many years of thousands of tourists touching the same statues or climbing even the most solid stone structures, they will start to wear down.
Don’t Etch Your Name into Stones
While it may be tempting to leave your mark on a famous monument, all that you are really leaving behind is a testament to your own egotism. For generations, travellers will read your name while sighing at your childishness and lack of respect for our shared heritage. If you really want to have a lasting impact on the sites you visit, please consider making a contribution to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre instead.
Do Bring Bottled Water and Snacks
Visiting a historic site can often involve a lot of physical activities and depending on the time of year the temperature can get very hot, so it is important to remain hydrated. Just remember to clean up after yourselves, only throw trash in dustbins, or bring your trash with you when you leave. We strongly recommend that you only use reusable water bottles, as plastic waste is a huge problem in many Southeast Asian countries.
Don’t Buy Souvenirs from Children
An ever-increasing problem at historic sites in Asia, such as Angkor Wat or Bagan, is the crowds of extremely young children selling postcard or trinkets at all hours of the day. While you may feel inclined to buy something out of compassion in order to help them, this will unfortunately have the opposite effect. As long as tourists are willing to participate in this form of child labour, the children will not attend school and will continue to be exploited.
Do Research the History of the Site
To get the most out of your visit, read up on the history of the site to get some background information before you go. You can buy a book, rent one from the local library, or just search around online. While ancient temples and palaces can be inspiring enough in themselves, knowing the context and story behind their construction can only increase your enjoyment of the site.
Don’t Behave Inappropriately or Selfishly
Everyone can enjoy historic sites in their own way, but it is always important to be considerate of others. Visiting an ancient monument is a great opportunity to soak in the atmosphere and let your imagination run wild. However, being noisy, running around or pushing your way past other guests will only ruin the experience for everyone.
Do Have a Good Time and Enjoy Yourself!
Some people will want to walk for hours, making sure they have explored every inch of every structure, others will be content to just sit in one spot and immerse themselves in the ambiance of a place. History buffs will want to find out everything they can about the ancient symbols and carvings, while others just want to take a good picture. Whatever your interests or travel style, visiting a historic site is always a good idea!
We hope you found this guide informative. At Buffalo Tours, we offer comprehensive multi-country tours of all the most famous historic sites in Asia. Contact us today to find out about our special offers and we will help you plan the perfect fun, cultural and educational tour for you and your family!