Hey everyone! I hope you’re all well.
Today I thought I’d round up for you some general top tips for travelling around the South East Asia region of the world.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m no expert, but after 14 weeks of backpacking and visiting a grand total of 34 destinations spanning 6 different countries, I feel I have some worthy experience and have devised some handy tips for you.
Whether you’re planning a trip yourself, in Asia right now and feeling a bit overwhelmed or have a general wanderlust and love reading about travel, I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed writing it! Without further ado…
1 – Use Bottled Water At All Times
It goes without saying that the tap water is not safe to drink in South East Asia and you need to use bottled water at all times. I saw a few people using the tap water to brush their teeth, but I genuinely wouldn’t risk it; a ‘dodgy tummy’ can leave you bed bound for days and it’s just not worth losing valuable trip time over. We ain’t out here to catch cholera or explosive diarrhoea, no thank you.
(I’m aware buying bottled water every single day is pretty awful for the environment, so would recommend buying a filtered water bottle instead.)
2 – Don’t Be Afraid Of Street Food!
I can hand on heart say some of the best food we had was from the street – it’s always the yummiest, cheapest and most authentic option!
Just be a bit savvy and use your common sense; go somewhere busy where lots of locals are so you know you’re going to get something tasty and popular. If you’re that worried, choose a veggie or vegan option. You can see the food being cooked right in front of you, which is more than you can say for the kitchens in restaurants!
3 – Utilise Sleeper Transport
Although not the height of luxury, sleeper buses and trains are an amazing way to get around and cover long distances as you don’t waste any daytime travelling and you also save the cost of accommodation for one night. Despite a few horror stories (for example, being turfed into the middle of the Vietnamese countryside in the middle of the night) I would still recommend them nonetheless… it’s all part of the experience!
4 – Download The Grab App!
Grab is available in most cities and some smaller towns; they’re far cheaper than normal taxis or ubers and it also gives you a fixed fare beforehand, so you won’t get ripped off by the driver. Hey, some destinations even had GrabTukTuk’s… you can’t complain!
5 – Learn The Lingo
Ask and learn how to say thank you in each language. It sounds obvious, but locals really appreciate it. Us English are pretty guilty of expecting/forgetting that not everyone else in the world speaks perfect English, so a little saying can go a long way.
6 – Download a Currency Converter App
Some Asian currencies can be really confusing, and you’re often dealing with millions in one go. For example, in Vietnam, £100 is the equivalent to 3 million Đồng! To avoid holding yourself up at the ATM or jeapordising your haggling over a pair of elephant trousers, use a currency converter app for convenience.
7 – Pack Travel Sickness Pills
Don’t be a stubborn arse here. Trust me, even if you think you don’t need them (I never normally do), you will without a doubt be gagging (literally) for some nausea relief when you get on an island-hopping boat, especially in Thailand! They are ridiculously rocky and aggressive and you will feel like you’re going to throw up profusely, end of.
8 – Bring Temple Attire
Make sure you take at least one outfit with you that covers your shoulders and knees for when you visit temples. Otherwise, expect to be right royally ripped off at the entrance buying makeshift skirts and shawls. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.
9 – Travel in Good Time
Transport always runs late, so if you need to get somewhere for a specific time, choose the *much* earlier travel options to be on the safe side. There were one too many times we would genuinely allow 4 hours for a 2 hour trip and still be an hour late.
10 – Bring Sun Cream From Home!
Sun lotion is crazy expensive in South East Asia (mostly) so avoid losing your life savings on some Malibu and bring your own. Plus, a lot of creams in Asia have whitening/bleach in, so keep an eye out for those pesky labels.
There we have it guys. I hope you enjoyed reading my 10 top tips for travelling the beautiful region of the world that is South East Asia.
Have you been anywhere in that part of the world? Where was your favourite place?
Love, Dayna x
P.S – some extra reading if you’re feeling inspired: check out my blog post about the first leg of our trip in Northern Thailand.