Written by Michael

5min read

27 Comments

So you’ve probably noticed I post about South East Asia – A lot! That’s because its a dope ass place that I can’t get enough of and dope ass mo fo’s like yourself need to experience it to!

I’ve posted why you should visit Asia and I hope I’ve convinced you to give it a try.

If you’re thinking of going, here are South East Asia travel tips that might help you survive in at least two pieces.

Money.

If you’re going to take cash I would wait until you’re in your destination country to exchange it, definitely don’t exchange it at the airport as airports have the worst exchange rates around!

Take your bank card as there are countless ATM’s all across SE Asia which take all cards. To make ATM’s worthwhile take out over $100 as your bank will charge a small ($3-$4) fee for international withdrawals.

Tell your bank you’re going to these counties before you go as they may see a withdrawal in Indonesia, think it is fraud and block your card!

Night buses.

vietnam night bus
vietnam night bus

These things are great for saving money on accommodation and travel at the same time, but do your research before!

On a night bus from Luang Prabang to Vientiane in Laos we didn’t really do our research and hopped on a lovely 14 hour bus ride where no one spoke English, the seats were for children, there was no air-con and the driver was a lunatic on a dangerous mountain pass.

On the other hand, In Vietnam I took  couple of overnight sleeper buses, although they were too small for me because i’m a giant, they would fit a normal sized person and were extremely pleasant!

They can be great and cheap – but do your research!

Motorcycles.

Honestly I think there are more mopeds than people in SE Asia. You’ll here about tourists riding down the cost of ‘Nam and you’ll also here how easily you can hire a moped.

I hired a moped at pretty much every destination I traveled to as they’re so cheap ($5 for the day). However, It turns out that it is actually illegal to hire/buy a moped/bike unless you have a motorbike licence as I found out when i was pulled over in Vietnam.

I had to pay a $6 fine which wasn’t the end of the world and it was once out of about a dozen times. You’ll also hear about a lot of injures, if you’ve driven a car before you will have a degree of road sense and should be fine.

If you have no previous road experience in any vehicle, probably best to leave the driving to someone else.

Night trains.

overnight train vietnam
overnight train vietnam

Falling asleep to the sound of a train chugging silently through the countryside while it’s pitch black outside has to be one of the best things out there.

What’s even better is you wake up to daylight and your’e in a completely new location!

You’ve had a good nights sleep and traveled, all in one go! Night trains are seriously the way to go and run throughout SE Asia at reasonable prices considering you have a bed + transport! 

Who said I don’t give you the best Asia travel tips? 😉

Beach/street sellers.

There’s going to be loads of these, especially in Bangkok and on the popular beaches you visit. Don’t feel bad saying no or just completely ignoring them.

Thefts.

Unfortunately a small percentage of the time its not always beaches and cheap food; I saw 3 thefts during my month in Vietnam.

None of them were pretty, but the good thing is that all three could have been avoided. In one instance the victim was drunk and an easy target showing his wallet around.

The other two were in broad daylight and had their purses pulled and snatched off their shoulder.

It’s pretty simple really; don’t openly have your stuff out, keep it in your pockets or in a strong backpack/satchel that wont break if someone tries to grab it. Just have some street-smarts and you’ll be dandy.

Flights.

Vietnam airlines flight
Vietnam airlines flight

Quite  often internal flights within a country or flights between countries in SE Asia are cheaper than other forms of transport such as a train and are much more convenient.

Don’t worry about it being SE Asia and think the plane will be made of rust!

The majority of airlines fly brand new fleets and are very safe and comfortable, check out Bangkok Air, Vietnam Airlines, Thai airways, Nok Air and Air Asia.

Haggle.

You can pretty much haggle/barter for most things in Asia. From a taxi ride to a T shirt and from renting a motorcycle buying souvenirs.

Just remember to be respectful and don’t push it too far. You can always get something cheaper than the asking price. Just maybe not a McDonald’s.

So there are your top South East Asia travel tips. Enjoy the region you goofy goober x

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27 thoughts on “Top First Time SE Asia Travel Tips.

  1. Thanks, this post is great – totally agree with all of these tips! I’ve got my second backpacking trip around SE Asia booked for this summer and I can’t wait.

    I’ve started a blog for our trip…possibly a little prematurely as we don’t leave until June but it can be found here; bangkok2bali.wordpress.com

  2. I was looking for new reading material and I stumbled upon your blog. Great post. Well written and inspiring. Looking forward to coming back and explore other ones you have.

  3. All of these are so true, although I got 20 minutes sleep on my night train from Bangkok to Surat Thani. I think it was me more than the train though. I just went around Europe for 3 weeks which is so pricey in comparison to Asia but using overnight coaches I halved my expenses and woke up somewhere beautiful every time! Also, Bangkok Air is probably one of the best airlines I’ve gone with! Asia is the best 🙂 X

      1. Yes, I took the same flight and was in disbelief that they served food and drinks even though it was only an hour on the plane! I took mostly overnight coaches which worked in my favour to reduce the price although the journeys were SO long.

          1. Haha, I will remember to avoid this. I’ve been debating whether to take the 33 hours from Laos – Vietnam or fly. I hear it’s hellish, and is Asia bus journeys aren’t quite as comfortable. Bet the destination made it worth it 😛

  4. Agree with all of these, although I’m still mentally scarred by my 32 hour night bus journey from Vientiane to Hanoi!(we were told it would be 24 hours tops – lies).

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