Southeast Asian Dating

Southeast Asia is comprised of 11 countries spanning from China to India. Extending from the Asian continent is the mainland that consists of Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. There’s also the island part of Southeast Asia that is comprised of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines, and East Timor. 

People travel to Southeast Asia for many reasons, including the diverse culture, nightlife, shopping, and wonderful backpacking adventures. From the huge cities like Bangkok, Singapore, or Jakarta to the pristine island beaches in Bali or Malaysia, there’s plenty to do and plenty of great people to meet. 

When it comes to dating, there are some cultural differences between Southeast Asia and Western countries that you’ll want to know before you head over there looking for a date. First, religion is important in Southeast Asia, and you’ll find plenty of practicing Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus there depending on the region, while East Timor and the Philippines are predominantly catholic. You might want to have a chat with someone you’re interested in dating about their religious beliefs and just how strictly they follow the customs.

You may want to check the area that you’re visiting to see if you require a visa to visit. Most of the countries where tourism is prevalent don’t require visas (Philippines, Thailand, etc.) But some of the less traveled countries do, such as Myanmar and Vietnam.  

If you’re interested in dating an Asian woman, be careful not to kiss her in public on your first few dates. Kissing in Asia is different than kissing in the Western countries. A Southeast Asian woman who is seen kissing her date at the club might be thought of as “loose”. Granted, times are changing and some Asian women have embraced more of a Western dating mindset, but still, it’s something to think about. If an Asian woman kisses you, it’s probably because she’s really into you and wants to go further in the relationship. 

Public displays of affection in general are frowned upon in Southeast Asia, so refrain from holding hands, hugging, or kissing in public.  

Men are looked at more as the provider, with them footing the bill when out on a date. Women are usually more reserved and are expected to be polite. Men like to take the lead, and should a marriage occur, it’s usually the woman who will take care of the home, meals, and children. You won’t find a whole lot of feminism going on in Asia. 

Think arranged marriages are a thing of the past? Think again. In some parts of Southeast Asia, parents are still arranging marriages for their children. In fact, patterns of marriage are quite diverse across Asia, with some countries favoring early marriage, while others favor delayed marriage. The larger, more modern cities, where women have become more independent in recent years, tend to see couples waiting to get married, while the more remote villages see couples marry early.

Southeast Asians are certainly diverse, but when it comes to dating, many of them are slowly adopting a more Western stance on dating norms and rules. Perhaps it’s the influence of Hollywood movies, where romance is accentuated, or perhaps it’s just the changing of the times. Regardless, if you’re interested in dating men or women in Asia, do your research and don’t be afraid to talk about cultural differences with those you’re interested in. 


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