After traveling around different parts of Asia, there are very different attitudes towards time or a lack of acknowledgement of time. Of course every community has people who are very punctual and people who are very “late” by our Western value of time. But you can definitely feel a difference depending which communities you are in.
Here are some general time conversions as you navigate through different places:
- 30 real time minutes=30 minutes in Taiwan
- 30 real time minutes=45 to 90 minutes in Cambodia
- 30 real time minutes=1 to 3.8 hours in hippy communities
- 30 real time minutes=45 minutes to “whenever my massage is done” in northern Thailand
- 30 real time minutes=1.5 hours or “whenever I feel like it” in Laos
- 30 real time minutes=10 minutes in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is probably the most intense and quickest environment that is most definitely not a zen place to be if you want to relax in the main city. Everything in the city feels so fast and rushed, especially when you’re at restaurants. I remember when I went to dim sum with my family at a restaurant and the second you finish your meal, they yell and rush you out and throw the next plates for the next customers. Any second wasted on us getting ready to go is money being wasted in their eyes.
On the other extreme end of the non-existent time spectrum, you have Laos PDR, which stands for “Please Don’t Rush” as the airport sign told me. Even at a restaurant that has two customers or less, the food can take up to an hour and a half to come out. Service generally happens whenever people feel like it. So assume there will likely be delays in your journey.