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South East Asia

[ 0 ] November 28, 2009 |

South East Asia is a region with a melting pot of vibrant cultures, diverse religions and unique and fascinating history.  The temperate is warm and tropical, the food amazingly flavoursome and the people are some of the nicest most welcoming people you are likely to meet anywhere in the world.  

South East Asia is an incredibly beautiful region to travel in but in some places it is extremely chaotic and claustrophobic.  The region has gone through many hardships in recent history and although the countries are developing at an overwhelming pace there is still a large number of poor people, and petty crime isn’t uncommon.  As long as you travel with an open heart and open mind travelling South East Asia is joy with surprises around every corner.  It’s a place you will want to go back to again and again.

  

Crossing the Road in Bangkok

Above: Crossing the road in Bangkok

 

Shopping

South East Asia is a fantastic place for shopping with beautifully made handicrafts, cheap electronics and other goods. The region is also well known for its trade in knockoff designer goods.  The trick with shopping is Bargain, Bargain, Bargain and Bargain Hard!!!  Bargaining is a huge part of the culture if you wish to buy anything you are expected to bargain.  Don’t worry bargaining can be fun, the trick is to be assertive and keep your sense of humour.  Ask the price, then halve it, u will generally meet somewhere in the middle.  Don’t be afraid to walk away if it is not the price your after, often they will come after you and give u the price you want, if not there will most likely be a stall selling the same thing nearby.

  

Transport


Typically Asia can be a difficult place to get around independently outside of the major cities due to many countries still developing and as a result lack transport infrastructure and efficient public transport systems.  That said it’s not impossible and if you don’t mind erratic schedules, sharing with the locals and hard mattresses on overnight trains then travelling is not so bad.  Now days there are quite a few budget airlines servicing the region making it cheap and quick to travel from place to place.

By Air…

Tiger Aiways offer cheap fares on flights to Asia departing from Perth as well as cheap fares on flights within Asia.  There hub city is Singapore.

Jet Star have cheap flights departing Australia to Asia as well as a huge range of flights within Asia.

Air Asia have flights departing from Australia to Kuala Lumpur (KL) from the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Perth. They have a huge network of flights within Asia departing from KL.

By Land…

State Railway of Thailand is a great way to get around the country. For long travelling days or overnight trips you can get a sleeper car.

KTM Malaysian Railways rail network will take you all over Malaysia and on to Singapore.

 

Tours

Spotlight on Intrepid Travel 
Intrepid Travel offer small group off the beaten track tours all over Asia.  What’s unique about these tours over traditional coach tours is that you take local transport such as public buses and overnight trains where you get the opportunity to mingle in the with locals.  Intrepid use expert local tour guides who  give you a unique insight into culture and local life. 

Intrepid have a new touring option called Urban Adventures, these are short tours from half a day to a few days that give you a unique local insight into a city or destination.  They are a great way to get your bearings in a new place and really learn about the local life and culture.

Urban Adventure Tours

 

Tips

  • Take only small amounts of clothing and buy most of your clothes over there, not only are the clothes cheap but they are also more appropriate for the humid climate.
  • Many part of South East Asia including Malaysia and Indonesia are Muslim countries, it is polite to dress modestly covering up your shoulders and wear bottoms that go bellow the knee.  This dress code also needs to be followed if you are planning on visiting any temples whether they are Buddhists, Muslim or Hindu.
  • Be patient.  DO NOT GET ANGRY!!!  South East Asia runs in its own time, it’s not uncommon for food to take a long time to come out from a restaurant and sometimes it may not even be what you ordered and on top of that the language barrier can be quite a challenge.  Take a deep breath, try and resolve the problem calmly.  South East Asian’s are very friendly people and they often don’t understand why the crazy westerner is shouting at them.
  • Be aware of scams, it’s a good idea to ask about common tourist scams at the nearest tourist information centre, they will have great tips and advice to avoid getting scammed.  Trust your gut, if you feel like your getting scammed or something seems too good to be true then it probably is.

 

More Info.

  • Travel Fish is a fantastic site to find out info on South East Asia and to plan your trip.  The site  has great travel tips and advice, comprehensive information on destinations and provides independent reviews on accommodation and services.
  • Backpacker South East Asia is a free magazine that has fantastic stories and travel inspiration for Backpacking SE Asia.  The magazine can be picked up at hostels, information centres and other tourism institutions throughout Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.  It is also available for download off the website.
  • For comprehensive information from an expat on travelling Chiang Mai and Thailand check out Visit Chiang Mai Online.

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Category: South East Asia

About onurwaytravel: Colin has been travelling the world with his young family for the past 2 and half years. He runs a couple of websites all revolve around travel, family travel and digital nomadism. His websites include http://ourtravellifestyle.com, http://vagabondfamily.org, http://nunomad.com and now http://on-our-way-travel.com. View author profile.

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