With such diversity packed into a small yet seductive package, it is possible to see and experience much of Southeast Asia. From islands resembling a piece of paradise, such as Phuket in Thailand and Phu Quoc in Vietnam, to cities like Jakarta and Singapore, you can pick and choose the dream destinations that suit your desires.
But before you embark on an intrepid expedition to Indochina, it helps to know the basics for budgeting, getting around, and making the most of your time away. So, here are some tips and hints for travelling around Southeast Asia.
Save money by going local
Even though you can get by on as little as $15-20 USD per day, you will probably spend a bit more for comfortable accommodation and transport. For the biggest savings, however, you should always go local when it comes to food and drink. Western fast food outlets and bars designed for tourists will always be more expensive. Besides, you’ll have a more authentic experience by rubbing shoulders with the locals.
Image by Mark Fischer used under Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 2.0
Be prepared for every type of transport
Seeing as the backpacker trail in Southeast Asia is fairly well established by now, you won’t struggle to get around. Expect to use a variety of transportation, including overnight trains, public buses, island-hopping ferries and the odd terrifying tuk tuk. Although many tourists rent motorcycles and cars to get around, make sure you buy insurance and always have your wits about you.
Plan with the weather in mind
The tropical conditions of Southeast Asia combined with each country’s unique microclimate means that planning your trip around the weather is a thoroughly good idea. Generally speaking, the dry season starts in November, but you should still gear up for hot and humid temperatures.
Image by Padmanaba01 used under Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 2.0
Understand and respect the culture
Immersing yourself in the various cultures of Southeast Asia, which predominantly revolve around Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, will give you a different outlook on life. Just remember that most countries tend to be more conservative than other parts of world, especially at religious sites where tourists are expected to cover up their shoulders and knees.
The entire Southeast Asia region is ripe for exploration, with rolling rice fields, beautiful beaches, mesmerising markets, and religious relics ready and waiting.