On the streets of Bangkok, an overly tan naked back turns curious heads at shopping mall. Not only is the woman’s back visible, but the entire front of her brown bra. Passer-bys joke in Thai if this foreign woman is too poor to afford a shirt. Others gawk and giggle. Later, at a hi-end restaurant in the city, a different woman walks in a flower bikini top while everyone else is wearing a dress and heels.
The story is a common one; she tried to wear a halter top to get into a mosque, or he walked through the market without a shirt.
Yes, you may be in a hot country. Yes, you may be liberated and you may not follow any religion. For the sake of locals, and fellow travelers, cover up! Hide the cleavage, wear a nice shirt, and save the bikini for the beach. Dressing conservatively, or even a bit local will earn some respect in the country you visit, or at least people will find it endearing.
Dressing appropriately may enable you to get to places you would have never imagined and meet people you might not have been introduced to before. Certainly, a head monk is not going to see you in your Ibiza clad booty shorts. You can also enjoy being stylish with local flair. When you buy a local scarf or blouse, you are supporting the local economy which will usually prove to feel cooler and airer than the usual tight tank top.
Keep it covered!