If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.
This is very good advice. As Troy and I have traveled around Southeast Asia, we have seen quite a few people who don’t want locals talking to them and refuse to follow some of the rules. I think the biggest one is respecting their culture and the religious sites. Many countries in this part of the world are very modest and request that people entering the temples dress appropriately. This means women covering their cleavage and both men and women wearing clothes that cover their shoulders, stomachs and knees. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve seen in Buddhist temples wearing booty shorts and tube tops. Or how many women I’ve heard complaining about having to cover up to visit these sites or at having been denied admittance because of their attire.
There was actually one place where I got called out because when I’d put my purse over my shoulder, it had pulled the sleeve of my shirt over and my shoulder was visible. The person monitoring the entrance asked me to cover my shoulder and then let me in. I don’t see a problem with them doing that because it’s their culture and their religion. They aren’t asking me to join their religion or believe their teachings when they ask me to adhere to their dress standards when visiting their religious sites. All they are asking me to do is respect their customs and beliefs. I can do that.
As far as the food goes, I don’t think you necessarily have to like the food in order to travel to a place. Troy and I mostly eat Western food everywhere we go, but that’s more to do with Troy’s food allergies than anything else. We try a little bit of local food wherever we go, as long as we’re sure it doesn’t have gluteny stuff in it. Some of the food, though, is just plain strange. I have no desire to try some of the Malay food here. It just smells awful and some of it doesn’t look very appetizing. Indian food, though, that I like.