Annoying People You’ll Probably Meet When You Travel in Asia

It’s been a while since I’ve written any Travel Funnies – Maybe we should have a Travel Rant section. Although this isn’t really a rant – It’s just a light hearted observation of some annoying people you’ll probably meet when you travel in Asia, and a chance for me to let off some steam!

If you fit into any of the categories below, then I apologise in advance.

Tuk Tuk Drivers

"Ahh! It's a hard life!"

“Ahh! It’s a hard life!”

Now it might just be me, but tuk tuk drivers do my head in the most. The question “Tuk Tuk?! Tuk Tuk?!” when I’m just walking down the road is one of the most annoying things I’ve experienced during my travels.

In India, seeing a battered old rickshaw is as common as the cow sat next to it… In Thailand, they’re more pimped out, with flashing lights and sub-woofer speakers – A clear indication that they are seriously overcharging falang tourists for rides. Surely the ultimate lazy mans job!

Overcharge one foreigner = Go home early.

No annoying tuk tuk drivers were harmed in this shot

No tuk tuk drivers were harmed in this shot

Where will you find them? Outside every hotel where foreigners stay, loitering on corners trying to peddle weed on the side, and strangely never there when you really need them.

What do they say? “Tuk Tuk?” x10, “Ping pong show?”, “Smokey Smokey?”

Other Travellers

No shoes? Check. Ridiculous beard? Check. Look of bewilderment? Check. Photo by DianeWorth

No shoes? Check. Ridiculous beard? Check. Look of bewilderment? Check. Photo by DianeWorth

While we should love all of our fellow traveller brethren, you’re likely to meet some really annoying ones when you travel to Asia.

  • Crusties! Our generic term for a particular set of travellers. Check out Are you a Crusty? for more info.
  • Off the plane muscle boys
  • Drunk fat +50 men with -20 year old Thai wives
  • Perfectly preened ‘stylised’ backpackers (with perfect ratio of beads and bracelets, dreadlocks, hash burn holes in their bob Marley t-shirt)
  • Experimental facial hair “Fuck you society, I’m growing a mental beard!” dudes
  • People walking around without shoes or flip flips… Come on!

And the most annoying of all – wealthier travellers.

To be fair, I’m a bit of all the above…

Where will you find them? Unfortunately everywhere you’re likely to go.

What do they say? “What, no Stella?”, “Yah that’s soooo shanti”, “Have you been tubing?”

Jobs Worth’s / Corrupt Officials

Ear flicking and general laziness on camera!

Ear flicking and general laziness caught on camera!

The petty working man knows no global boundary, and Asia has a fair few. Whistle blowers directing crowds, token security men waving at people, truncheon wielding traffic police pulling over foreign moped riders and asking for ‘fees’ (keep driving!), disgruntled hotel owners, ‘White Tax’ double-price-ticket-charging counter workers. Ugh!

Where will you find them? Border crossings, crowded places, car parks, on the side of high ways, behind any desk.

What do they say? “Do you have an international licence?”, “That’s an extra $1”, “Keep moving!”, “You need a different form”

Skype / YouTube Hogs

You’re trying to open your emails or check Facebook in the only Wi-Fi café in town, and there’s Mr Annoying having a multi-way Skype session while playing Gangnam Style on YouTube for the 10th time stealing all the precious bandwidth!

Is there such thing as a IP blocking, bandwidth slowing tool for those of us who need to upload photos to the Best Travel Blog out there? If not there should be!

Where will you find them? In the quiet cafe, where the Wi-Fi is already bad enough.

What do they say? “HELLO? HELLO?! MUM?! IS THIS WORKING?!”

Queue Jumpers

A real queue in action! Photo by strudelt

A real queue in action! Photo by strudelt

Ah.. Queue Jumpers, a favourite pet peeve. So much so, it inspired me to write Queuing: The Civilised Travellers Nightmare. Why must people queue jump? Do they think I’m just standing there for fun? Are they in a rush? Maybe it’s the Englishman in me – but get in bloody line!

Where will you find them? Throughout Asia, and surprisingly most of mainland Europe, ANY queue!

What do they say? “But my train is coming in…”, “This is the ladies queue!”, “Why do you look like you want to murder me?”


Seen everywhere in Thailand. Photo by smalljude

Seen everywhere in Thailand. Photo by smalljude

Nothing sets you apart from the backpackers like turning your nose up at them, eating in the upmarket joints, having a larger than necessary motorbike, not wearing beer branded t-shirts and Ali Baba pants, and the ultimate “I live here” statement – owning a dog!

Not all expats are annoying. They tend to know the cool places to go, know the real price for things, and seem to have an amazing natural ability for developing alcoholism…

Where will you find them? In the ‘Bull and Butcher’ pub, at the visa counter begging for another extension, hanging out where the backpackers aren’t.

What do they say? “I’ve run out of pages in my passport”, “I miss cheese”, “The season is about to start again, I’m leaving!”

“One photo?” Opportunists



An India speciality! Those who are blond, tall or female will at some point have a camera shoved in their faces. While not a problem in isolation, having hordes of horny Indian men gathering around to have repeated snaps taken with your loved one gets a bit annoying.

Discrete shots are more tolerable, more acceptable, but a bit more creepy. What happens to these shots?!

Tips for countering "One Photo?" Opportunists – Stick the camera in their face!

Tips for countering “One Photo?” Opportunists – Stick the camera in their face!

Where will you find them? Right in your face, across the road with a zoom lens, pretending to be taking a picture of something behind you.

What do they say? “One Photo?”, “Are you married?”, “My friend wants one too” “Can I snap with you?”

Off The Beaten Track Know It Alls

Smug Stu in the back of beyond on a rather small looking horse - Mongolia

Smug Stu in the back of beyond on a rather small looking horse – Mongolia

Them: “OMG, you went there?” That place died out when the government was toppled and free party capitalism flooded in! I’ve just got back from staying with nomads in Xia Hiam Lagh Uga Buga in the far northern plains of Kazakhstan… I was the first foreigner they’d ever seen. I had to travel for 3 weeks to get there, I got malaria twice and rode bare-back on a camel back to civilization.”
Me: “So how did you make it to Starbucks in Chiang Mai?”

Travel Bloggers

Generic Travel Blogger shot...

Generic Travel Blogger shot…

Wait a minute…

Where will you find them? Anywhere with Wi-Fi, huddled around the only charge point in the cafe, their faces buried in their laptops while everyone else is having fun.

What do they say? “Can you look after my laptop while I go for a wee”, “Not another casino link offer!”, “The internet is sooo slow. I bet they’re downloading something!” “Yeesss! Someone commented on our article!”

Ahh. I feel much better for venting. I hope this gives you a little taster of the annoying people you’ll probably meet when you travel in Asia!

Which is your most annoying? Who have I missed?!

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15 Responses to Annoying People You’ll Probably Meet When You Travel in Asia

  1. Mish March 14, 2013 at 5:12 am #

    You’ve totally nailed it Stu! I’ve yet to encounter the “One photo?” opportunists because I haven’t been to India, but all the others are hilariously recognisable.

    Love the description of the perfectly preened backpackers… god those people do my nut.

    • Stuart Edwards March 14, 2013 at 5:45 am #

      Ha cheers Mish! It’s worth NOT visiting India for that alone. The ‘stylised’ travellers are the worst! Worse than the bitter grumpy ones who write about them.

  2. Matthew Karsten March 15, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    Too funny. The TukTuk guys are annoying as hell.

    If someone jumps me in a line I’ll call them out on it, or get out of line and jump in front of them using the exact same excuse they gave me.

    • Stuart Edwards March 15, 2013 at 8:52 am #

      Tell me about it. I’ve been close to committing physical abuse in India! I had to confiscate some dudes money until he got to the back of the queue! 🙂

  3. Aggy March 21, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    LOL I love this post! Yea you’ll probably find a lot of those annoying people in Asia “tuk tuk anyone?” 😉

    • Stuart Edwards March 21, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

      Ha thanks Aggy. You can’t get away from the tuk tuk men! 😉

  4. Flora March 26, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

    Ahh the Indian photo taking… Truly one of my biggest issues with that country! And why do they always think it’s the right time to ask when it’s 45 degrees and you’re coated in a sheen of sweat with your baggy trousers sticking to you?? Nobody wants to keep that image for posterity!

  5. Chill Educational Travel April 1, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    Hilarious! I haven’t been to Asia yet but I have encountered a few of these “types” in Central and South America as well.

    • Stuart Edwards April 2, 2013 at 11:39 am #

      Ah great… something to look forward to then we we eventually get over to South America! 🙂

  6. Thomas April 18, 2013 at 11:41 am #

    Haha, this article had me in stiches and is so true. I love the bit about annoying wealthier travellers, we used to refer to them as ‘Gap Yahs’.

    • Stuart Edwards April 19, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

      Haha! ‘Gap Yahs’ – That’s a great one! I prefer something a bit ruder. Must keep buying those lottery tickets! 😉

  7. Adrian Fleur September 4, 2013 at 6:16 am #

    Oh. My. God. Such a perfect summary! You forgot the weirdos who’ll have no qualms about stroking your skin and saying how it’s so white. But that might be a topic for another post =)
    Adrian Fleur recently posted…Aum Vegetarian RestaurantMy Profile

    • Stuart Edwards September 4, 2013 at 6:45 am #

      Ha yeah! I forgot that. I remember when a guy in India was plucking my leg hairs – He was mesmerised by them! Craziness!

  8. Lana February 9, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

    I hear you on the Turk tuk. That’s why I bought a shirt that says no tuk tuk today. Outside Asia people don’t get it.

  9. Tommy expat October 22, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

    Travelers that dress like locals. In India I was always tripping over some female American dressed in a sari reading a travel guide or trustafarians from Europe or the USA getting sniffy with expats like myself, talking about the latest ‘ thing ‘ which of course will be full of people clutching lonely planet! Dress appropriately !

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