Considered the home of various breathtaking and primitive landscapes from rice fields, coral reef, beaches to rainforests and volcanoes, Southeast Asia will definitely make you impressed with features here and help you explore new things if you are fond of adventuring.
It can be said that this is a place that deserves to come for independent travelers in the world. Come to Southeast Asia; there are a lot of places to visit as well as activities for you to take part in. So, I hope that with these travel tips, you will enjoy unforgettable experiences when exploring the Southeast Asia.
1. Find out about the needed visas and their fees
Requirements for visas are different in each country in the Southeast Asia region, and the passport of a person also makes a contribution to the cost of the visas.
For instance, in Vietnam, free 15 days visas will be granted to people who have an Italian passport. In addition, the applicants can be granted visas online before traveling in Vietnam.
Meanwhile, if you intend to apply for the visa in Cambodia, you will have to pay a fee. And remember asking about the price of the visa if you do not want to spend more money because of the regular border scams.
In addition to the price, you are also advised to check whether specific requirements relating to the passport is necessary. Do not ignore it because this may get you into trouble if you don’t do.
I was forced to spend more USD 30 when checking at the border. Therefore, you should check everything carefully before traveling to avoid vile scams.
One thing you should know is that in Southeast Asia, food is very cheap, so don’t spend much money on food.
For me, USD 15 is the maximum of money I spend on food, even with a balance of local dishes and Western meals. However, there is an exception when I run into sushi that is my addition.
It can be said that street food is a feature and the most popular food in Southeast Asia. The average price of these meals does not exceed more than USD 1.50. At the markets or along the major streets can you find these stalls in most countries in this region.
In Thailand, there are even markets specially designed for street food. Street food (or called “hawker stands”) in Singapore will cost about 4.25 SGD (or USD 3) for a meal.
If you want to enjoy it at small local restaurants, you also don’t have to worry about the price because the price difference is not significant. While the food at a street stall costs about USD 1.50, its price at a local restaurant is only $ 3 – 5 USD.
3. Always carry more than one debit and credit card
The use of ATMs or banks block cards may a mistake because they are sometimes not accepted. You should be careful with your cards because they can be stolen, lost, or even demagnetized during your traveling.
In the first days when I started traveling, I only brought with one card because I was so afraid that my card was stolen. And to be worse, when I used it to get cash, I received nothing because it didn’t work. But fortunately, there was an alternative service to get cash and it, of course, is a long process.
After that time, I always bring with several cards but treat them very carefully by putting them separately in different places to prevent them from being demagnetized as well as stolen.
As usual, I put one in my backpack, one on my day pack and one with me, and of course, they all are hidden carefully.
4. Pack light and use a tent
If you want to save money as much as possible on accommodation, a pop up tent is a wonderful choice. In addition to saving money, you can have a chance of exploring the nature in a new place.
Nevertheless, you should pay attention to the weather because you can get cold easily when sleeping in a tent under the cold weather.
If you want to feel comfortable and have a sound sleep all night long, making a plan and bringing with necessary equipment is very important. To stay warm in a tent, you can apply some tips such as using warm objects, reducing cold air penetration, and applying breathable layers.
5. Don’t book tours in advance – they cost much less locally
That sounds strange, but it is true. I usually hope to save a little money when booking tours locally but the amount of money you have to pay when traveling in Southeast Asia may be up to 4 times.
In my experience, while the package tour booked online costs about USD 160, the amount of money one person has to pay when buying locally is only USD 40.
You do not have to worry about finding a tour or having time to prepare everything when you get there because all things will be fine then. In South East Asia, it is very common when a tour pops up, and then, local operators will try to find the most suitable solution for you. This definitely will save you a lot of money.
6. Ask to use the taxi meter
In general, taxi drivers will try to apply a flat rate. However, the proposed price is often higher than the price a passenger has to pay. For instance, when I traveled to Hanoi, I was asked to pay a flat rate of 400.000 VND by the driver to come back my hotel, but I paid only 360.000 based on the meter.
Or in another city, I was proposed to pay a flat rate of 300.000 to move from the airport to backpack area. Fortunately, I had checked the price before and knew that its price was no more than 150.000. So, I requested to use the meter to pay and finally, the price was only 120.000.
7. Be respectful of local dress etiquette
This is one of the important things you should learn about before traveling to anywhere if you do not get into trouble. When you go into temples, remember to take off your shoes and cover your shoulders and knees. Both women and men have to do so.
Especially when visiting orthodox Muslim parts in Malaysia, a woman has to abide by those strict regulations on dress.
8. Be aware of scammers
Maybe some people want to approach you to practice English. However, you also should be careful because there are sometimes scammers who pretend to practice English to steal your properties.
Bear in mind that you should hold your pockets carefully whether you are walking or on a motorbike. And like anywhere else, always bring your personal belongings with you.
Luna Anderson is avid camper from Phoenix, Arizona. She loves outdoors and she wants to show people the endless possibilities of this world and open your mind to experience over possession. You can find practical tips about hiking, camping and survival skills in her blog hikertrack.com.