10 tips for travelling through Asia
Asia is the world’s largest continent both by land size and population, making it a diverse and extremely interesting destination. It is also more accessible than ever, with flight deals from all Australia cities popping up every other week!
A popular destination for backpackers from around the globe, couples looking for luxury holidays for less and island life for people looking for the ultimate escape. But it also offers experiences for those who are wanting rich cultural encounters, thrilling adventure, natural phenomenon and local culinary delights.
Yep Asia has something for everyone! Here are our 10 tips for travelling through Asia.
1.Pick your route
This depends on how long you have and if you would like to go a little slower and spend quality time in each community. Or perhaps you are like me and sometimes love to fit in as much as possible! If you only have a couple of weeks off from work and want to get as much adventure and beach time in as possible you could spend a couple of days in each place and just visit a couple of countries. We have been to Asia many times. Mainly because of its cheap flights from Aus, its friendly locals and delicious food! We suggest the below itineraries.
Travel Tip: If you are want to escape the crowds during peak time check out these quieter South East Asian beaches
Here are our itineraries!
+ 6 weeks- Bangkok –> Chang Mai + Pai –> Phuket –>Koh Phangan –> Koh Tao –>Bangkok –>Vientiane –> Vang Vieng –>Luang Prabang –> Siem Reap
–> Phnom Penh
+ 4 weeks- Bali –> Gili T –> Jakarta–> Sulawesi –> Da Nang –> Hue –>Hoi Ann –> Hanoi –> Nha Trang –> Ho Chi Minh
+ 2 weeks- Tokyo–> Kyoto–> Osaka –> Hong Kong –> Shan
ghai –> Beijing
+2 weeks- Bangkok–> Kanchanaburi –> Ayutthaya –> Chiang Mai –> Bangkok –> Siem Riep –>Phnom Penh
Travel Tip: Search discounted flights to over 160 destinations with Value Alliance!
2. Research each Countries Customs
Etiquette in Southeast Asia is extremely important. Religion and traditions play a huge part in their everyday life and happiness. Research customs and dress code of each country before you visit. When in doubt use your initiative and do as a the locals do.
Tip 1: Always cover your shoulders and remove shoes when visiting temples or sacred places.
Tip 2: Be aware of scams and always agree on a price before you eat or ride in taxis
3. Check the Weather
Most of the Asian continent is subjected to two seasons, a wet and a dry. In most instances because it lays quite close to the equator it will be warm all year round, this being said you could still be affected by large amounts of rain. It’s best to research when your destination is in its monsoon season.
Best time to visit:
Bali (Indonesia)- April -June
Japan- Spring (March-May) or Autumn (Sept-Nov)
4. Get Necessary Visas
Make sure check visa requirements! Several Asian countries allow Australias to enter for 30 days without a visa ie Thailand, or obtain a visa on arrival (VOA) . But Vietnam requires you to organize an approval letter or get a Visa before you leave your own country.
For more information on Asian Visa’s click here
5. Pack light and right.
I’ve backpacked around SEA, which served me well during my gap year/s. I have since traded in my trusty backpack for my carry-on suitcase! Yep that’s right I only travel with carry on! My biggest tip for packing is to do it 3 times, each time taking out items you don’t really need. And be sure you always pack the essentials!
Tip 1: You don’t really need too many clothes, you can get your laundry done in 24 hours for a couple of dollars. Also, most toiletries are available for cheap- just be sure to check for whitening agents in lots of cosmetics and washes in South East Asia!
Tip 2: Ditch your regular beach towel for a Turkish towel! They fold/roll up small, are extremely light and super fast drying! Get one here
Tip 3: This is for the men. I’m not an expert on this but here is a great packing guide for South East Asia specifically for men.
6. Be prepared for squatting
Apart from Japan who invented a super toilet, a lot of the South East Asia countries still use the squat toilet. This will obviously depend on where you go but if you are doing tours and visiting smaller villages or attractions you will definitely come across them!
Tip: Always carry a pack of tissues or baby wipes and some hand sanitiser!
7. Don’t be afraid to bargain
Pretty much mandatory when shopping at local markets and street vendors. Many people will tell you different tips on how to bargain. My tips are, don’t take it too seriously, know when to stop ( ie don’t haggle over a couple of dollars), don’t get angry, smile always smile, cut the price in half…. at least..
8. Embrace the glorious street foods
The best thing for me about travelling is almost always the food! Embrace the weird and wonderful and don’t be afraid to eat from street food carts and smaller local restaurants! You will taste some incredible new things! My favourite is fried banana with spicy sauce, nasi campur, pad thai, spicy corn, and Bahn mi!
9. Be a responsible and ethical traveller!
While exploring this diverse continent, make sure you think twice before participating in a tourist activity or experience. Do your research and make sure you are using eco-friendly and ethical companies. A lot of companies, elephant camps, and zoos or parks are simply there for your tourist dollar and don’t often have the animals wellbeing in mind!
10. Get Insurance
A given maybe, but make sure you look into your policy and make sure it includes things like a scooter and the more adventurous things!
We highly recommend World Nomads for backpackers or if you are planning on being adventurous. I also can recommend Insureandgo.
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