In India it is custom (and required) to remove your shoes before entering a Temple. This is true whether or not the Temple is Hindu, Moslem or Bahai. It didn't take long to get into the habit of taking off your shoes if you wanted to go in. Of course some Temples in India we just choose not to go in (See Monkey Temple Blog).
By the time we got to Thailand and Lao, the situation had changed slightly. Not only do you remove your shoes prior to entering a Buddhist Temple, but you take them off pretty much before entering anywhere. This is even more pronounced here in Laos. Wearing shoes into someone's home is considered disrespectful and almost any place can be considered a “home” of sorts. In Thailand we found ourselves taking shoes off before entering the Wats, the massage parlors and even the dentist's office where we went to have our teeth cleaned. Here in Lao, the shoes come off in the hotel before we walk up to our room, shops, Internet cafes and even museums. You just leave them outside and no one ever takes them! They are always there when you get back!
Marty keeps wearing his sneakers around town which makes for a laborious process when you have to untie and then retie your shoes a dozen times a day. I wear my Birkenstocks and the girls usually have on their Crocs; we can just slip in and out of those in seconds. People around here pretty much wear slip on shoes as well. Coming to Southeast Asia? Leave your tie shoes behind.