© 2013 toutratus wpid-DSC04529.JPG

Useless Facts about Southeast Asia

Myanmar: The exchange rate between US dollars and US dollars is 0.9. No, there is no typo… To pay hotels and official fees, you need dollars. But they only accept the newest edition of dollars, with not a single mark, a bill which has been folded once is not good for them… So you finish changing your “low quality” dollars for “out of the oven freshly baked dollar bills” in the black market, but only get 90 dollars for your otherwise perfectly valid 100USD bill.

Philippines:  Most of the cats in the Philippines only have half a tail. I have asked a local and there is no national dish of cat’s tail soup… No national sport of tail cutting either, so I have no idea why they don’t have a real tail…


Indonesia: Doors are really small to avoid devils to go through them. Well…Devils and Davids as I finished bumping my head every time I had to go to the bathroom… Door handles are also at the height of my knee… Very practical…

Singapore: You sometimes have to pay 30 cents per napkin you use…

Malaysia: They have seats with integrated massage system in some buses. You click on a button and have 1mn of massage. Or you do like Merçè and click 78 times to have almost 1.5 hours of back massage…

Bangladesh: They love to be taken in picture… Often, you get stopped in the street, they ask you were you come from and then ask you to take a picture of them… (In the meantime, three other people use the opportunity to take your picture as well).

All (except Bangladesh): They don’t know how to turn of the motors. Even when a bus without AC is stopped during 30mn or more, they keep the motor turned on. The same at the gas station… If you see a bus with a motor turned off in the region, don’t get in, it’s probably broken…

I hope you’ll be able to use these facts to impress your neighbours during your next dinner.


  1. John
    Posted April 4, 2013 at 8:10 am | #

    Funny stories!

    Interesting about the running of motors. They would do that in Zambia too. They told me that it damaged the engine if they turned it off immediately, and even when we arrived at our final destination they would leave the engine running for a few minutes. I can’t believe this is true for even vehicles that are 10 years old, but maybe it is something true for older vehicles that has become a habit. No one wants to be the one to see if turning it off on arrival damages the engine, in case it damages the engine!

    It may also be to recharge the battery (just in case) as you don’t want to push start a bus!

    • toutratus
      Posted April 4, 2013 at 11:28 am | #

      Interesting. It must be for something like that, yes. Somebody has to introduce the legend that having the motor turned on when you don’t move the car damages it, maybe they’ll start turning it off :)

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