1) Forever late, always on time
You can guarentee that although transport runs late most days, the one time you are late you will have missed your ride – so always be prepared to be ontime and wait. With a multitude of public transport options available there is no shortage of ways to get around. Perhaps even try and travel on the night buses, with space to sleep, so that you can travel whilst sleeping with more time during the day to enjoy your surroundings.
2) Do your research
Unfortunately there are some widely used scams in Southeast Asia, particularly with cabs, renting scooters and crossing borders. Do a bit of forward research into what cabs should cost for travelling from A to B ahead of time and always agree a price with the driver BEFORE getting into the cab. When renting scooters, take the time to take pictures of the bike, any scratches, dents etc so that you are not unfairly charged when returning the scooter. A lot of borders will accept USD but double check before reaching the borders, as some will require different types of visa’s, ID’s and currency – so don’t get caught out. If in doubt use the the public transport.
3) Eat where the locals eat
A dodgy stomach is pretty common for first-timers to Southeast Asia. That doesn’t mean you should rule out trying new food, but try to stick to the places where the locals eat. Stay on bottled water and check the seals and avoid salads and ice. If you are feeling adventurous try food stalls and street food, if you are going to get a bad stomach it can happen anywhere – at least here you can see the food being cooked.
4) Toilet treats
Always have toilet paper! The toilets may not always be what you are accustomed to so at least if you have loo roll handy it won’t be too bad however don’t flush this into the drains. Always have hand santizer with you as washing facilities may be few and far between and poor hand hygiene will catch up with you at some point during the trip.
5) Dress appropriately
Whilst it is humid and sticky no one wants to see your belly button all the time or run the risk of seeing up your skirt as you clamber in and out of buses. Shorts and tank tops are acceptable but always be mindful and respect the different cultures. Ladies would do well to have a scarf with them that could easily be used to cover up their heads, shoulders and chests particularly when entering temples.
Be prepared to sweat in Southeast Asia. You will need to make sure you have a steady supply of bottled water (always check the seal) to ensure you don’t become dehydrated. Alternatively take your own water bottle that can be refilled regularly.
To shop the range, please see Filtered Water Bottles.
7) Bugs and bites
Humid conditions, tropical forests, rice fields and rivers provide the perfect breeding grounds for insects. Stick to DEET repellents of a concentration of 35% or above to ensure maximum protection.
To shop the range, please see DEET Insect Repellent.
8) Stay safe
Southeast Asia is generally a safe place for travellers however you will need to keep your wits about you and your belongings in sight at all times. Thieves are often opportunistic and the greatest threat to safety is actually road traffic accidents so take care if driving yourself. Stay away from political rallies and demonstrations and in cases of weather fronts – do as the locals do.