Traveling with a Local in Asia

By Contributor

David is an ongoing contributer to Staying Native.  

He's a foodie, musician and a technogeek, who would love to be a digital nomad. Until his job permits such a lifestyle, he loves to spend his vacation time traveling through Asia.

Monday, Aug 5, 2013

Traveling to Asia for the first time can be a daunting and overwhelming experience, especially if you are going solo.  Upon your arrival all at once you feel illiterate and completely out of place, as if you have just landed on another planet.  All of these factors can make it difficult to engage in the authentic experiences you were hoping to have during your trip.

Traveling with a Local

One of the best ways to truly connect with a place is to meet someone on the ground or travel with a friend originally from your destination.  Even if they can only meet you for a limited time this orientation will provide valuable information about the place, including insight into local customs and places to go that are unique and totally worth visiting.  China_-_Guilin_Fishing_birds_and_their_master.JPG

Local Fisherman and his trained birdsLocal Experiences

Traveling with someone from your destination definitely produces the most amazing experience and often offers opportunities to look into the lives of the locals when you meet their friends and visit their relatives.  You will get to eat like a local, shop like a local and even sleep like a local.   


Fresh Salamander Dish at thE Beijing Night Market

Do It Like a Local

You know you are doing it like a local in Asia when the children look at you like you are the one from another planet.  You know it when people come up to you and ask in broken English to compare skin color.  And you certainly know it when everybody turns to look at you when you enter a restaurant.


typical Local market in Guilin, China

The Confidence to Explore

Finally, tagging along with a local gives you a huge amount of comfort and builds your confidence for the next trip. The first time I traveled to China with friends, and experienced their home like a local.  Since then I have had the opportunity to travel on my own to other Asian destinations, armed with my newfound confidence.  


Visiting the Great Wall of ChinaStay tuned for a future blog post on living like a local in Guangzhou,China.

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