Learning a few words of the local language in whatever country you are visiting will always help you. Most guide books will give you the same few key phrases which they recommend you learn, “hello”, “goodbye”, “please”, “thank you”, “how much is…”‘, “which way to…” and so on. More often than not, you will find yourself in a situation where you just want to say “no thank you”. Surrounded by taxi drivers who all want to bring you where you are going, when touts approach you for the hundredth time trying to sell you the same pair of sunglasses or those times when you are at a famous building and every man and his dog seems to be a tour guide. These are the moments when that magic “no thank you” said quietly and confidently in the local language makes these people disappear.
In Indonesia, it was the first word of the local language we learned for the reasons mentioned above and we still remember it to this day, “tidak, terima kasih”. On that trip we were backpacking through the country for a month and we said that one phrase more than any other. When locals hear it in their own tongue, they take you more seriously than when you say it in English.
Try it out on your next trip, its polite, mannerly and it works. Simple but effective; no thank you.
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