Female travellers in
travellers in Vietnam
Vietnam has been strongly influenced by Confucianism, so
men regard women as subservient, as do most women. It doesn’t
really affect female travellers, apart from an almost universal
assumption that a male companion will automatically be the
one in charge, and therefore the one to be addressed. Attempting
to be politically correct is likely to be met with blank
manner of dress and behaviour is important. It’s a common
belief among Vietnamese men that ‘western women’ are very
liberated, and therefore an easy lay! This belief will be
strengthened if you wear ‘sexy’ clothes, and you may well
attract unwelcome attention. Ostentatious ‘male’ behaviour,
such as drinking beer and/or smoking, will also help to confirm
that you are available.
this reason, it’s wise to avoid tight shorts, hot pants, figure-hugging
tops and low cut blouses. Teeny bikinis are not a good idea,
and topless sunbathing immediately attracts a crowd of male
admirers who will stand and stare at you. It’s also highly
likely to land you in trouble with police.`
from the behaviour of men, Vietnamese women are embarrassed
when visitors expose large areas of flesh. They’re also perplexed
about why anyone would wish to sunbathe – in Vietnam, a white
skin is considered beautiful by men and women. A sun tan identifies
you as a peasant.
women travellers tend to attract more notice, as Vietnamese
women seldom travel, and those that do seldom travel alone.
However, providing you don’t call attention to yourself by
your appearance and ignore would-be admirers, the most you’ll
get is minor nuisances from time to time.
travellers in Cambodia and Laos
Even though Cambodia has taken on aspects of the Thai sex
trade, Kh’mer men have a reputation for politeness and courtesy
towards women. Because prostitution is a serious offence in
Laos, and is therefore much less common than in Vietnam, Laos
is probably the least likely country in Asia for you to encounter
men are less likely to associate a women drinking alcohol
or smoking with being a prostitute. However, the advice about
dressing appropriately and not drawing attention to yourself
holds good in both countries.
You’ll find it quite hard to find tampons in Vietnam, so it’s
wise to bring a supply with you. Toiletries here are mostly
low-quality, and non-allergic products are as rare as snow
are plentiful and cheap, but most tailor-made garments are
designed to fit the Vietnamese frame. Ethnic minority materials
and garments are very attractive, but often not colourfast.
you’re likely to be riding on the back of a motorbike, it’s
a good idea to bring a pair of trousers. The alternative is
to sit side-saddle, which is quite scary if you’re not used
The humid climate prevalent throughout Indochina encourages
the growth of vaginal fungal infections such as thrush and
candidia. Antibiotics, tights, synthetic material and the
contraceptive pill can exacerbate the condition.
you’re prone to such infections, it might be wise to consult
you doctor for suitable medication in advance, or douche regularly
with a weak solution of lemon juice or vinegar. Loose fitting
silk or linen garments and cotton underwear should help towards