Oi Choi Oi – Favourite Phrases From Asia Expedition 

After almost five months of travel, I now find myself saying farewell to Asia – for now at least. 
My adventure has taken in so many sights, sounds, and indeed smells, that I cannot begin to describe them all. 

Suffice to say it has been a truly magnificent experience, and has more than justified that first thought I had last summer when I said to myself in central London; “I just want to disappear to a temple somewhere in the east.”

I’ve come across so many wonderful people. But here follows a few of my favourite sayings from the various languages I tried – and miserably failed – to pick up. 

– Namaste: the traditional form of greeting in Nepal. Saying this just evokes strong feelings of peacefulness. It is genuinely very calming to say. 

– Oi Choi Oi: what we were told was the equivalent of Oh My God in Vietnam. It fits very well as an expression of astonishment, and found it to be a useful phrase to roll out when bargaining in the local markets. 

– Bong: apparently, the polite term to refer to anyone older than you in Cambodia. Fun to (over) pronounce – I had to say it a few times to myself after I had already used it in my sentence to someone. 

– Mot, hai, ba, Yo!: what is shouted in Vietnam before downing a drink. Careful when using this, as it’s fun at first but could make the night go down a slippery rice wine slope… 

– Khi Mao – a Thai noodle dish. It also means drunkard. A common theme in Thailand…

My absolute favourite though has to be how you say hello in Bhutan. Are you ready for this? Kuzoozangpa La. 

How great is that? I got so much enjoyment from saying that to every single person I came across in Bhutan. Makes you smile automatically when uttering it and therefore makes your greeting even more pleasing. No wonder the people of Bhutan are so happy. 


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