Greetings from Asia

Greetings from Asia

Have you ever wondered how people say “hello” on the other side of the world? Some Asian cultures simply use a word or phrase while others add body movements to their greeting. Here, Dr. Antonia Neubauer, founder of experiential tour company Myths and Mountains, gives you some fun greetings to practice. Once you have these down, plan your trip to Asia or Southeast Asia with Myths and Mountains to get some real world practice!

Nepal and India
“Namaste” – I bow to the God within you
Namaste is used as a respectful salutation or valediction. The term literally means that each person contains the divine, and should be treated like a god.The greeting is often spoken with a slight bow and Pranamasana - hands pressed together, fingers pointing upward and thumbs positioned close to the chest.

“Tashi Delek” – Good fortune
While it was once only used to say “Happy New Year”, this phrase has become a common Tibetan greeting. The Dalai Lama has explained it as an encouraging way to wish someone righteousness and happiness. Tibetans often stick their tongue out as a greeting.

“Kuzu zangpo la” – Hello / Greetings
This phrase is spoken in Dzongkha, the national language of Bhutan. There are greetings for different times throughout the day, but this is the easiest way to say hello no matter what time it is.

“Xin Chào” - Hello / Greetings
This is a common Vietnamese salutation; however, the phrase changes depending on whom you are speaking to, their social standing and your relationship with that person. This is the easiest and safest way for foreigners to greet locals so as not to complicate the interaction!

“Sawadee Kha” – Hello / Welcome / Goodbye from woman
“Sawadee Khap” – Hello / Welcome / Goodbye from man
This everyday phrase is spoken with slight variations based on whether you are a man or woman (not depending on who you are speaking to). Thais will often put their hands together in front of their chest when greeting someone (similar to Nepal and India).

“Mingalaba” – Hello
This Burmese greeting is spoken throughout the day, just like saying “hello” in English. This is a polite term literally meaning “auspiciousness to you all”.

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