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10 unusual superstitions that travelers should be aware of when traveling in Southeast Asia

  • By Easia Admin
  • August, 10, 2017

“There is no such thing as ghosts or monsters!” Sure, everybody was told that when they were little. But did you know that such thing does exist….in Southeast Asia? And no, this is not a scam. Most of the people in Southeast Asia do believe in supernatural forces. This, in fact, is a part of the diverse culture of this region. Not persuasive enough? Here are 10 typical superstitions in Southeast Asia:

1) Do not take a picture of a group of three. In Southeast Asia, normally people refuse to take a picture if there are three people inside the frame. Why is that? Because they believe the person in the middle would be taken away by a ghost and die. It pretty much applies to selfies too. So if you hate somebody, just nicely ask them to take a picture with you and another one, put them in the middle, and voila, fastest problem you’ve ever solved! (Just kidding).

2) Do not look between your legs. Just don’t. According to superstition, you’ll get a nasty shock if you look between your legs. Legend says you’ll see a ghost. Imagine having to stretch or do an exercise, then oops, you’re suddenly accompanied by some new friends from behind.

3) Cover your sticky rice container or you will not find a spouse. Yes, everybody loves rice in Southeast Asia – from Vietnam, to Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar. So, they usually have a big container for rice storage. This container must have a cover in order not to get dust or any insect bugging inside. But, there is another benefit of the cover according to the locals: to prevent any family member from spending life knitting in a house full of cats, resigned to the fate of being forever alone.

4) Do not keep unused pillows on your bed. It is believed that when you go to bed with tons of unused pillows, it’s likely that the evil spirits will sneak in and sleep next to you using these pillows. We wonder what it would be like when they wake up. Will the evil spirits snore? Will they make breakfast in bed?

5) Keep a knife under your bed to avoid having nightmares. Placing a knife under your bed is a way people in Southeast Asia keep bad dreams away. The shape, color or size of the knife doesn’t matter, and neither does the reason! Usually, people keep it at the top of the bed. So, if you have constant nightmares, don’t worry, place a knife under your bed, sleep well, and let it take care of the rest.

6) Do not point at the moon. So it’s a full moon day and you can’t help but showing your excitement of how big the moon is by pointing at it. We’re pretty sure later, according to superstition, there will be a monster coming to kill you. Therefore, next time, restrain your excitement a little bit, or just take great efforts not to point at the moon and you will be fine!

7) Do not misuse your chopsticks as drum sticks. We all know how much everyone loves music. Everybody can be a composer sometimes using any kind of instruments from our daily lives. But in Southeast Asia, if people happen to come up with any rhyme using chopsticks before a meal, their “music” will invite the evil spirits to join their meal. And nobody wants that.

8) Do not cut your nails at night. If you happen to look at your nails during night time and realize you really need to cut them, then don’t. In some regions in Southeast Asia, cutting fingernails or toenails at night is prohibited. Otherwise, you might open a supernatural gap in your body. It is said that this activity will accidentally kill you, shorten your life, or allow evil spirits to possess you.

9) Do not let any dogs or cats jump over a coffin. At a funeral, it is said that if any dog or cat jumps over the coffin, the inhabitant will immediately rise. Consequently, it is believed that the dead will not be at rest, which is considered bad for them and their family. There does, however, exist a scientific explanation about this issue that relates to chemical reactions. But in short, dogs and cats must be strictly kept away throughout the funeral duration.

10) In any kind of business, if your first customer doesn’t end up buying from you, you will have bad luck the whole day. When people cannot sell or close a deal with the first customer of the day, they will suffer from bad luck and not be able to sell anything for the rest of the day. Same thing happens on the first day of the month or first day of the year. This explains why most people who do business in Southeast Asia have a strong belief in supernatural forces.

And what about you, do you believe in superstitions? Share your stories with us, and for more information please contact us via

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