7 Traveling South-east Asia Tips You NEED to Know
You’re perhaps planning the trip of a lifetime around south-east Asia. It’s an amazing place to visit, and it’s now easier and more popular than ever to spend time traveling there. There are some important things you need to know before you leave, and in this article, we’ll cover the most essential ones.
Make Sure You Have Proper Travel Insurance
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed at how many people set off around the world with inadequate cover. It’s wise to get comprehensive travel insurance, which covers emergency medical evacuation, as the quality of hospitals varies from region to region. Vietnam’s cities provide good, basic healthcare, and in Thailand the private hospitals are excellent. If you are unlucky enough to be taken ill while traveling in Laos, Cambodia or any rural area, the health services are very limited.
Make sure you are up to date with your vaccinations before you leave, and don’t drink local tap water while traveling. This also applies to ice and raw vegetables that have been washed in tap water.
Be Careful With Your Possession
Use common sense while traveling. Don’t leave your bags unattended, and be aware of what’s happening around you. There have been reports of opportunistic thieves operating on motorcycles, so keep your things close. Most destinations in south-east Asia are generally safe, but try to avoid flashing your cash and valuables, and stay near the safety of your tour group.
You may be surprised to learn that the weather is not always warm and sunny in south-east Asia! Certain places can get quite cold, and in northern Vietnam it does get cold enough to snow. Try to avoid travelling in monsoon season too. The hottest month is usually April, so plan what clothing to take according to the expected weather and where you will be travelling to.
Respect The Local Customs and People
Do your research before visiting a region, or you may unknowingly cause offence to the locals. Respect their religious and cultural traditions, and be careful of voicing criticism in certain places – in Thailand, any criticism of the royal family is punishable by a prison sentence of between 3 to 15 years, and this applies to tourists as well as Thai nationals!
Malaysia and Indonesia are majority Muslim countries. Dress conservatively and appropriately, particularly if you are visiting places of worship, or are traveling in more conservative or rural areas.
If you are a same-sex couple, you are advised to act very discreetly in public. Homosexuality is not widely accepted, and is against the law in Malaysia.
Plan Where You Want to Go
Do you want to visit more westernized countries, or experience life as the locals live it? Malaysia is much more westernized these days, but for a more authentic experience you could try Indonesian Borneo if you’re an experienced traveller. It’s more difficult to get to, as you have to come in through Jakarta, but there are very few tourists around.
The main religion is Islam, so dress and behave appropriately, but the locals are very friendly. Keep smiling – that’s a big part of how they communicate in that region.