Walking on the streets of Florence, or other cities in Italy, or other countries in Europe, do you find certain Asian tourist behavior “mystifies” you. We know that they love shopping, they sometimes use umbrella in the sunny days, and they drink pure hot water right off boiling (Yeah baby, that’s me!)… Any other Asian tourists “trends” that you find hard to have an explanation?
I’ve sum-up three tourists habits that popular among Asians, while western people may never understand. Check them out, and see if we can make the murky darkness in front of you suddenly open!
Travel Three (Or More) Countries In One Week
Asian tourists, especially Chinese, kinda have the reputation that they only go to those “famous” cities (Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, etc.), and they pay quite shallow visits in each spot in order to cover many places in multiple countries.
I know many Chinese choose to travel this way. In the old days major tourists from China were brought to Europe in groups by travel agencies, and the most popular packages sold by those agencies usually were “3 countries in 10 Days: Italy, Switzerland & France”. Nowadays more and more Chinese people visit Europe by themselves, however still majorly targeting those “hot” places.
The main reason is that coming to Europe from China is not like going to the neighbors. It requires time and money. With the few days of holidays my Chinese fellows have, they want to maximize the in-take of their Europe trip, aka visiting many places in limited days.
And from a historical point, Chinese used to travel abroad through travel agencies, who brought them only to those major cities. It’s like to take a westerner to China the first time: either Beijing or Shanghai. Although nowadays more and more young Chinese are willing to explore deeper and more authentic traveling and culture experiences, but still for lots of those who are coming to Europe for the first time, they still prefer (or with the limited knowledge to the European countries, they only know) those popular places.
And the reason Chinese having such “superficial glance” traveling style in the first place is because, in my humble personal opinion, we are used to see Europe as one unit, rather than a continent of different countries. Going to different countries seems like visiting different cities. No wonder we are happily sold the idea of “visiting Europe in 10 Days”!
An advertisement of a travel package in Europe: UK – France – Italy, traveling in 2 – 14 days.
Have Their Wedding Photo Shoot But Not Have A Wedding Here
You may have seen many times the Asian couples wearing the wedding gowns & suits, walking along the streets in Florence, and taking photos. However they are not actually getting married in Florence. So why they come all the way to take “fake” wedding pictures?
First let’s talk about why taking “wedding photo” before the wedding day. I am not sure if it is the same in Japan and Korea, but in China nowadays newly weds use “wedding photos” in many wedding preparation activities, such as in their invitation cards, announcement (on social network) to their engagement, and also to decorate the wedding venue, etc. Taking the wedding photos before the ceremony has become one indispensable step in a wedding preparation before the couple call each other husband and wife.
It seems against the tradition, as the very first time the groom sees the bride in a wedding gown is supposed to be at the ceremony. While I guess wearing a wedding gown only one time in a girl’s life is not enough. If you tend to marry only once, you need to find excuses to wear it, at least, another time.
A Japanese couple having their “wedding photo” shoot near Costa San Giorgio
When in a bridal gown, you want to feel like the princess in those fairy tails, who lives happily ever after with her charming prince in the castle. We are happily sold by the idea of a perfect wedding scene must include a castle or church. And that’s why many western European countries have become the destinations for shooting the pre-wedding photos.
A pre-wedding photo of two Chinese celebrities, who went to France for the shooting before their real wedding ceremony held in Shanghai.
Travel With Instant Noodles
If you ask me which habit of people is the hardest to change. I would say it is the habit of their stomachs.
My friend Linda, who runs a B&B in Rome, once asked me: why so many Korean guests bring instant noodles with them? And rather than going out for a pizza in a proper restaurant in Rome, they choose to stay in the hostel and eat their junk-food noodles? I was not surprised! Also some of the Chinese guests in my AirBnB apartment did the same.
You may think that is because they are not “open minded” enough. While if they are willing to travel all the way from Asia to Europe to see and experience different cultures, they are not so “self closed”. Then why on earth they choose a home-made junk food, over the world famous food: pizza & pasta in its origin country?! That’s because it is a decision made not by them, but by their stomachs.
For Asian, our version of comforting food is noodle in soup. You can find its own version in every single Asian country. The noodles are long, soft and easy to digest, while the soup is full of flavors and hot, keeping the whole dish warm. After spending the whole day outside visiting, especially in a cold windy winter day, when we are finally back to the hotel room, the best food that can warm us up is a hot bowl of noodle in soup! That’s the Asian stomach’s call!
Phở, the Vietnamese version of “noodle in soup”. This was one of my breakfast dishes when I visited Hanoi, Vietnam.
Don’t get me wrong. Asians are foodie! We do travel across continents to Italy, in order to taste the best pizza, pasta, gelato, etc. But after 3-4 days, we need a taste of home. Even for me after marrying to an Italian for 3 years, I usually cook noodles for lunch when I am home alone.
From time to time I even stop by at the Chinese superstore near SMN station to buy packs of instant noodles. My brain tells me: Don’t eat them, they are super unhealthy! But my heart stomach says: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, I NEED IT! (Ooops, my dirty little secret!!!)
Any other strange things Asian tourists do that you find hard to understand? Or any behavior of western people puzzles Asian? Share your opinion below, and let’s resolve the “mystery” and understand each other better.