Travel to Asia

20 helpful tips for traveling in Southeast Asia

Learn useful tips for traveling in Southeast Asia based on your travel experience in this attractive area several times.


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Those who have always followed me here via SAPO Viagens, blogs, or other social networks such as Facebook and Instagram know that I have been devoted to traveling in Southeast Asia in recent years. Countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Myanmar are already part of my travel album and some have been repeated.

I feel a special attraction in that part of the world, the simplicity and reliability of people, the beauty of the landscape and the delicious food. The fact that you can travel on a small budget is the destination of cake icing.

I enjoyed the travel experience and decided to write 20 helpful tips for traveling Southeast Asia.

1. Travel planning according to the climate

Jumping from country to country is very common when planning a trip to Southeast Asia. Staying in only one country is rare. However, please note that there are very diverse and intense climates in that part of the world. Since the monsoon season in one country is not the same in all countries, it is important to look closely at the climate of the country you want to visit at the beginning of the plan.

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2. Introducing local food in Asia

Southeast Asian food is absolutely delicious. Once there, enjoy as many dishes as possible. The food is cheap (you can eat at 1 or 2 Euros in certain places) and has a flavor that you can hardly taste anywhere else in the world. And forget about the restaurant. The best food can be found in stalls scattered all over the place. Sit in the seat of a plastic car and enjoy one of the best foods of your life as you watch locals and tourists come and go.


3. Night travel in Asia

A good way to save money and time when traveling in Southeast Asia is to do it at night. Save money by not staying in another hotel and save time using the time you normally sleep to move to another destination. In most countries, there are sleeper buses and train seats, which are folded like a bed (or actually in bed) to provide a sufficiently comfortable trip.

4. WCS with holes in the floor

Well, of course, there are toilets and toilets that we are used to. However, it is good to keep in mind that you may find some toilets where the toilet is a simple hole in the floor. Of course, it is connected to the piping, but it still has holes in the floor. There is the first shock, but please get used to it, don’t worry. And really, if you think about it, it’s even the most natural way to use the toilet!

5. Exchange with local residents

One of the great attractions of these countries is the local people themselves. They are humble, genuine and kind people. Even though we are in a country with completely different traditions and customs, they make us feel at home. When you are there, interact with locals whenever possible. Asking questions and chatting will show that the richest people will return home when the rich have left.

6. Preparation of foreign prices

In Southeast Asia, it is common to place price lists at the entrances to various tourist attractions that have different values ​​for locals and foreigners. Foreigners’ prices may exceed twice the value applicable to local residents. What if it is fair? I don’t know, but it must be real and acceptable.

7. Oppose animal views and temptations

One of the main attractions of destinations such as Thailand is the famous Elephant Park and Tiger Temple. This is in line with most visitors, but animals in these spaces are abused, drugged, and actively trained. Say no to these attractions. I refuse to take part in this kind of animal abuse. Wildlife belongs to jungles, forests, seas, and natural habitats. And that is where we should see them. It is not a theme park or zoo.

8. Be prepared for any negotiations!

Trading is part of Asian culture. This is what we expect from most Southeast Asian companies. If the customer is a tourist, the normal price will be doubled or tripled. So try to put a smile on your face, always be friendly and at least slightly reduce the value you give to it on the first purchase attempt. However, be aware of some limitations. When you find yourself prone to getting lost during intense negotiations and we are negotiating cents.

9. Water care Travel in Asia

The tap water in these countries is not considered safe, especially for sensitive intestines such as the stomach and Western visitors. Always drink bottled water when you are there and avoid ice when you are not sure where you are from. Otherwise, you are more likely to spend several days to get to know your hotel room toilet better.

10. Local transport

Southeast Asia is not lacking the means of transportation to take us anywhere in the country. Many tourists choose to travel by tourist car, private car or luxury minivan. Yes, of course, travel is more comfortable, but more expensive and misses the opportunity to live with locals. When you are there, choose local transport whenever possible. You can come up with a really cool story to tell while controlling your budget.

11. Go to traveler's consultation before departure

No vaccination is required to travel to Southeast Asia. In whatever way, there are some recommendations. If it is recommended for some reasons, in addition to consulting with travelers and prescribing vaccines and drugs appropriate for the country they visit, he is also given important information about the other health and hygiene controls there. Please note that these are developing countries where health risks are increased if hygiene is poor.

12. Respect local culture

You will find a culture and custom that is completely different from what you are used to at home. Religion is a very important part of the daily lives of local residents. We welcome you to any place of worship, but you need to dress more modestly regardless of the heat outside. Note that wearing a dress that is too low-cut or exposed in public places, even if it is not a place of worship, neglects local customs in some way. I don’t want to behave at home, but that behavior is normal and acceptable. You are a guest in that country and should behave that way.

13. Enjoy a low-cost flight

If you don’t have much travel time, the plane is perfect for traveling within or between Southeast Asian countries. A must-see is a low-cost airline that can travel quickly and economically. Air Asia is the best known and most destination. However, TigerAir, NokAir, VietJet, Jetstar, etc. can also be selected. I traveled with most of these companies but there is no reason to complain.

14. International driver's license

I think most of those who rent a scooter in Southeast Asia don’t have an international driver’s license, but this is necessary. If asked to stop, they will request your license. If you do not have one, you have the right to pay a fine. When you rent a scooter, you will not be asked for a license, and if you are stopped by the police, you can get away with a small bri bri. But before you leave for the trip, do things correctly and deal with the license.

15. "No spicy"

If a pinch of pepper quickly turns into a human faucet with a runny nose and crying eyes, remember two small words “not spicy” when traveling in Southeast Asia. The food in this part of the world is usually very hot. Even if the menu says spicy, it is best to order food that is safe and always without spicy food.

16. Learn some local language

A miracle of a simple “Sabaidee” (Halo in Laos), “Mingaraba” (Hello in Myanmar), or “Kop Kung Kha” (Thank you from Thailand). Remember these words and try to learn others when you are there. There is very basic the English is spoken and just enough to help you with the local basics. If you know a few more words in the local language, you can avoid misunderstandings and in most cases, you will get a quick smile in return.

17. Write down your address on local language paper

If you travel by taxi, tuk-tuk, or other local transport in the city, be sure to carry a card or paper with the destination name in the local language. This avoids misunderstandings and wasted time trying to accurately describe the destination. Tip: When checking in at a hotel/hostel/ guest house, keep your business card in your wallet or pocket.

18. Prepare to be abused from time to time

Southeast Asia experienced a visitor boom in a relatively short time. With so many tourists and such poor local quality of life, there are plenty of schemes that try to make the most of these visitor’s stuffed animals. From the “broken” metered taxi to the fares coming out of nowhere, you may encounter several schemes during your trip. Sometimes are easy to find, but if possible, avoid them. However, if you get into some, don’t consider it the end of the world. The most likely thing to happen is losing money unnecessarily, but don’t ruin your trip.

19. Don't plan early

Do your researches before you leave to get ideas for places you don’t really want to miss? But don’t stick to itineraries that are too closed. Keeping a part of the plan is the best way to travel in Southeast Asia. Moving from destination to destination is easy. Most of the times you will get helpful tips to help you meet other travelers on the way to a new place or decide where to go.

20. Travel insurance

Note that you travel in developing countries that are more prone to health problems and accidents than usual. In addition, there are plenty of extreme sports and adventure activities that you can use freely. If you are adventurous, it would be difficult to say no to these opportunities. And we all know that the chances of bad luck here are greatly increased. If you have a problem, travel insurance avoids outrageous costs and helps you get the best medical care possible. In addition, it covers expenses associated with lost flights, baggage, electronics, or important documents.

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