It’s one of the most popular destinations for young travellers and backpackers. The region is made up of so many countries that border one another, making it’s the perfect place to go country hopping (even if you are only there for one week, I’m sure you could fit in a couple of countries). Not only that, but many countries in this area are very cheap, and you will be able to get by on very little indeed.
So, are you tempted to go traveling in Southeast Asia?
You certainly won’t regret it! However, before you jet off, it’s important that you know a few dos and don’ts. You might experience culture shock while you are there, as the countries are so different from the Western world. Following all of these tips though, should help you enjoy your time there and keep you safe, too.
Do Know The Customs
First of all, it’s really important that you aren’t an ignorant tourist at any point of your trip (as is the case when you travel anywhere). Nearly all of the countries in Southeast Asia are very traditional and, as a result, there will be a few customs that you might have to adhere to on your travels. If you don’t, you might end up offending or upsetting the locals. In some extreme cases, you could be breaking the law.
For example, some countries in this region are extremely modest and you shouldn’t bare too much flesh while visiting. No matter where you are, it is always necessary to cover your shoulders and knees whenever entering a temple. You might even be expected to take your shoes off before you enter certain buildings, as well. That being said, before you leave home, be sure to read up on all the customs that you will need to be aware of in each of your destinations.
Don’t Assume Every Country Will Be Cheap
Sure, the majority of countries in this region are very cheap. For instance, in Vietnam, Laos, and the Philippines, you will be able to find food and accommodation for hardly anything at all. In fact, you might find that you are able to indulge in some luxuries and enjoy hearty meals and fancy accommodation. But that doesn’t mean that you will be able to enjoy budget travel in all of Southeast Asia’s stunning countries. One exception to the budget travel is Singapore. If you are interested in travelling around it really does pay to do your research on transportation before you head out so you know where you are going and how much you want to spend, Thailand and other places that allowed tourists to move from island to island have ferry services like Raja Ferry that might be worth checking it if you’re going to be travelling in those countries. The cost of living is considerably higher than its neighbours, and you might find that visiting can drain your pocket. There are ways to find cheap food and accommodation, though. Airbnb rooms are very cheap and, if you are looking for a longer-term rental, you might want to check out developments like the Sengkang HDB estate. For cheap eats, head to the region’s Hawker Centres.
Do Get The Right Visa
Before you leave for Southeast Asia, there is a good chance that you will need to apply for a visa. Without the correct travel documents and visa, you will be unable to enter the countries. The type of visa you will need is dependent on where you are from and where you are traveling to. Each country has its own rules, so it’s important that you know exactly what you need, so that you can prepare accordingly. For instance, most visitors are allowed to stay in Thailand for thirty days without a visa. However, if you want to stay longer, you will need to apply for one. If you are traveling to Laos, you don’t need to get a visa until you reach the border. When it comes to Vietnam, you can arrange a visa before you arrive. Don’t worry if you don’t though, as you just need to get one any time before you leave the country for home. As you can see, visa requirements differ widely from country to country, so research them for your destinations before you leave!
Don’t Get Scammed
You might think that there is no way you will get scammed while you are traveling, but unfortunately, all of the scams that you hear about in Southeast Asia really do happen. For example, taxi drivers might take you on a longer route so that you have to pay more for their services. Some tuk tuk drivers get commission from certain temples and other attractions, so might try to take you to those rather than the one you asked to go to in the first place. If you are aware of the most common types of scams though, then you will know what to look out for and how to avoid being scammed. Don’t be scared by this warning — it’s just to remind you that you need to use your common sense to stay as safe as possible while on your travels!
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Do Prepare Yourself For Seeing Extreme Poverty
This region of the world is still a developing economy, which means that there is a lot of poverty in each country. This can be a big shock to anyone who visits from the West as we just aren’t used to seeing this amount of poverty usually. Because of this poverty, your hotel or hostel might be a lot more basic than what you are used to, and you might even notice that some roads don’t even have tarmac. Vehicles could look very old fashioned, as well. Not only that, but the locals’ housing might be very poor (as many live in huts or shelters). If you aren’t prepared to see this, you might be put off; make sure you read up on the levels of poverty you’re likely to see in each area.
Don’t Just Stick To The Beaches
This is a gorgeous corner of the world and you will find some stunning beaches. However, you don’t want to spend every day soaking up the sun on the beach. There’s a lot of culture to discover in each country so make sure you also visit the temples, jungles, and floating markets. They’ll really win you over!
So there you have it! Capitalize on your time in Southeast Asia as much as you can, and enjoy a trip that will surely be incredible. What are you waiting for? Time to book a trip to Southeast Asia!