I have come to the conclusion that people from Southeast Asia - Thailand and Malaysia in particular – are friendlier, more accommodating and hospitable than Americans as a whole. It could be that as an outsider and a tourist, Thais and Malaysians give me special treatment and they just enjoy mingling with American travelers.
Although Tourism is far more important to their national well being than us Americans, their friendly attitude towards western tourists may be just a cultural thing. In any case, I have been made to feel very welcome in Southeast Asia.
As a traveler in Southeast Asia, I have discovered that most people enjoy posing for a photograph, and thank me for taking their picture. Last year while staying at Phoom Thai Garden Hotel in Phrae, the young gals at the front desk willingly posed for set of photographs, as did the ladies who worked at Crafts Center in the village of Lab Lae (Uttaradit). These ladies really hammed it up in a group shot.
I have been welcomed at bars popular with the young University crowd in Chiang Mai and invited by a newly married Chinese couple to join their Wedding reception at a popular Chinese restaurant in Taiping, Malaysia.
In comparison, I really cannot see my fellow Americans being so openly friendly and accommodating to foreign tourists. Admittedly I receive the VIP treatment as a foreigner in a strange land but I am treated like the invisible man at home. I guess it’s just a cultural thing!