Friday, March 4, 2016

South-East Asia for newbies: exactly what you have to know

For those desiring to extend their South-East Asian experience, to get more out of it than the Western enclaves of Kuta, this is your guide.

Bali can be a good entry point for Australians into South-East Asia, however the region has so much more to provide.
Bali can be an excellent entry point for Australians into South-East Asia, but the region has so much more to provide.
Very first bit of suggestions: don't be afraid. You've most likely heard some stories of dodgy goings on in South-East Asia, of demonstrations in Thailand, of land mines in Cambodia, of frightening roadways in Vietnam and military juntas in Myanmar-- however you're actually not in that much danger.

While the opportunity of finding yourself in the wrong place at the incorrect time does exist, in general South-East Asian nations are exceptionally friendly locations, and primarily fairly safe. You'll be met with smiles rather than machine guns. You'll be treated with respect.

If this is your very first journey to South-East Asia, you're probably wondering where to go. Do you go island-hopping in Halong Bay?

It's a difficult choice, however with a couple of weeks you can cover a great deal of ground. Budget plan airlines suggest it's possible to skip from location to location by air, to go from Hanoi to Siem Reap to Phuket to KL all in a regular-sized holiday from work. Obviously this leaves little time for cultural immersion, but if your priority is to see the huge tourist attractions then you can do all of it on a reasonable budget plan.

Independent travel is simple in South-East Asia, with extensive networks of buses and trains which need not be reserved in advance. These trains and buses vary from the comfy to the hellish-- the trips themselves are similar. Be gotten ready for butt-jarring 12-hour rides along dirty back-roads. Get set for squalid train toilets and cramped seats.

That's part of the enjoyable. South-East Asia is everything about new experiences, the periodically bizarre and off-putting, and it's your responsibility to obtain yourself amongst it.

Try brand-new things. Eat the street food. Jump on the back of a motorcycle taxi. Consume the snake wine. Put ice in your beer. Sleep in a $5-a-night beach cottage. Include the additional chillis.

Take as many different forms of transportation as you can. Ride in a tuk-tuk; take a motorbike trip around Vietnam; take longboats on lakes and ferries up rivers; rest on the back of an elephant; sit on the roof of a bus.

If all this sounds intimidating, or you're after a more relaxed experience that prevents the headaches of touts, take a tour. Go biking around Myanmar with World Expeditions. Take an overlander with Intrepid. Have some fun with Contiki.

While South-East Asian countries are primarily safe places, where the main points you need to stress over are the state of the roadways and the power of your latest hangover, there are rip-offs to keep an eye out for. People who approach you since they "simply want to practice English" typically wish to do a lot more than simply practice English.

There are touts for karaoke bars that turn out to be brothels. There are kids everywhere, youngsters who have actually been put to work selling guidebooks and postcards, trading on a cute face and a tourist's guilt.

Load light, and don't bother with expensive clothes. South-East Asia is hot, year-round. You'll be sweating like crazy. And there will not be any fine-dining or many strictly policed nightclubs. For backpackers you'll have your toes in the sand most nights; you'll dine at plastic tables on street corners.

Don't be too stingy. Don't get stressed with bargaining and saving every last baht or dong or kip. Sure, you can knock the rate down much like any local would-- however if you find yourself battling hard over 50 cents approximately, it's most likely time to get a bit of perspective.

You do not want to be at the mercy of the promotes when you arrive someplace. Try to get a concept of how much a tuk-tuk or taxi ought to cost in the city you're going to-- it pays to understand when you're being ripped off.

If you're going to work with a scooter, see to it you can ride a scooter.

Go to the cities, but get out into the countryside. Places like Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City and Kuala Lumpur are terrific, however the genuine appeal of South-East Asia lies in its rural areas, in the long stretches of rice paddies backed by rising limestone cliffs. You'll be welcomed in the countryside; you'll realise that South-East Asia isn't really all chaos and sound.

Be considerate of local dress standards. Remove your shoes in temples. Don't get steaming drunk and make an arse of yourself.

It most likely is if a scenario feels dangerous. Leave. Utilize your judgment. Use your impulses. Just because you're allowed to do something in South-East Asia, does not make it safe.

South-East Asia is an amazing location for tourists-- budget-friendly, exciting, tasty. Simply open yourself to the experience of something new, and take pleasure in.

Have you taken a trip in South-East Asia? What are your ideas for newbie visitors to the region?

If this is your very first journey to South-East Asia, you're probably questioning where to go. Independent travel is simple in South-East Asia, with comprehensive networks of buses and trains which need not be booked in advance. Places like Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City and Kuala Lumpur are fantastic, but the real charm of South-East Asia lies in its rural areas, in the long stretches of rice paddies backed by soaring limestone cliffs. Simply since you're enabled to do something in South-East Asia, does not make it safe.

South-East Asia is an amazing location for visitors-- affordable, amazing, tasty.
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