South East Asia Tips
What 5 things did you take that were needed the most?
TRAVEL FIRST AID KIT! – You never know when you will fall off your motorbike!
What 5 things would you take next time that you did not take this time?
SLR Camera – I could leave things behind to take this.
How long did you go for, and what was your budget?
I went to South East Asia for 6 months. I tried to work off an average budget of £20 ($30) a day. This was not possible everyday but I made sure that I evened my spending out over time. I spent about £6 on accommodation, £5 on food and drink and then the rest was free for anything I wanted to see or do. I did budget to do my Open Water SSI qualification which was about £180 ($295).
How did you find cheap accommodation?
The best way to get a cheap place to rest your head is to go door to door. Sometimes you can walk around for a while but when your on a budget it is totally worth it. Great bit of exercise too as the average backpack weighs 20KG! Fan rooms are always cheaper than A/C rooms too but in Asia never go for a room without a fan! (Except in the mountains! Sapa, Cameron Highlands etc.)
Is the food expensive?
I like to consider myself a bit of an expert on the subject of food. If you ask me what I did on a certain day in time I would probably be stumped, but ask me what I ate and ill give you breakfast, lunch and dinner! Food in South East Asia can be so cheap, just take a trip to the local food stalls at the side of the road. This is not only the cheapest food, but it is by far the best.
For example in Thailand you can get a Pad Thai from a cafe down Khao San Road for 110 Bhat, you can get a better Pad Thai from a street stall for 30 Bhat! A saving of over 70%!
What do I do about laundry?
This is something you never have to worry about unless your stranded in the jungle. Most, if not all, guest houses offer a laundry service. If they don’t you can bet there is one not far away.
Are my possessions safe in the guest houses? What kind of security should I take?
I never had a problem anywhere I went but you should always be careful where you leave your things. Never leave your bag unattended but that’s just common sense. I took a code padlock with me as some guest houses allow you to padlock the door or provide a locker. Try not to take a padlock with a key, if you lose the key, your going to struggle to get into your locker or room without paying an additional fee.
When on night buses try and keep anything truly valuable, like your camera, on you. It never happened to me but you never know.
What about border crossings? What should I be aware of?
Different borders have different drills. Crossing from Laos to Vietnam all our bags got took off the bus and we had to pick them out of a pile at the side of the road. You have to carry your bag through and if you have not already got your visa you need to fill out the forms. (Please remember that you can’t buy a visa for Vietnam on the border! You need to have one before you go.)
What about injections? Do I need to take malaria tablets?
Unfortunately I am not a doctor so can’t tell you what you need. My advise is go and see your doctor or nurse. They will give you all the info you need. Don’t leave this to the last minute as if you need Hep A like me you have to take a course of injections not just one! I took malaria tablets (Doxycycline) but I met people who did not. It all depends where your going and what time of year. SEE YOUR DOCTOR!