Travelling to Southeast Asia is an amazing opportunity. With countries like Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Singapore and Cambodia, there’s an abundance of adventures that await those travelling there. It’s a popular destination too – known for fantastic beaches, impressive hospitality, amazing fresh food, unique cultural experiences, and much more. But the way of life and local customs can be quite different compared to what you’re used to. So what can you expect when you visit Southeast Asia? Here are 6 things to know before you travel to Southeast Asia :
- Haggling is common
The first price you’re offered for goods and services normally isn’t the best price. Haggling can be more beneficial in Southeast Asia than in most places in the world – it’s just one of the things you should know about travel in the region, according to the Huffington Post.
When things don’t have price tags or places don’t openly advertise what services cost, the opening price will normally be quite high because it’s obvious you’re a visitor with cash to burn. Get practicing how to haggle well to get a good price.
- Petty crime is also common
Unfortunately, petty crime is also common with opportunistic thieves targeting tourists and running off with your belongings before you’ve even noticed. Be vigilant when you’re travelling in Southeast Asia and keep a close eye on your stuff.
- Travelling around can be a bumpy ride
Some of the common ways of travelling around Southeast Asia include tuk tuks, trains, buses, and motorbikes. But there are some things you ought to know, according to 1cover’s Thailand guide, that are applicable across the region:
- Expect a bumpy ride and limited protection on a tuk tuk
- When there’s no meter, agree a price before you leave
- Trains are one the safest ways to travel, but be wary of thieves on overnight trains
- Buses can be unreliable and don’t follow the same strict safety laws as elsewhere in the world
- Motorbike taxis can usually be spotted by the driver’s orange vest – they tend to be the quickest way to get around crowded cities
- Expect locals to strike up conversation with you
Throughout Asia, it’s common for locals to compliment westerners on their appearance and how good you look. It’s strange at first – but you do get used to it, just make sure you’re always polite.
- It’s cheap
Once you reach Southeast Asia, staying here, travelling around, eating well, and getting involved in activities is pretty cheap. As just one example, Nomadic Matt breaks down what you can expect to pay for a room:
- Dorm rooms for as little as $2-5 USD in parts of Cambodia and Laos
- In Thailand, you will typically pay $6-13 USD per night
- In Vietnam, expect to pay $5-8 USD
- In Indonesia, between $8-10 USD
- Throughout the region, you typically expect to pay around $15-20 per night for a private room with air conditioning
- Prices are higher in the cities and touristy areas and lower in rural areas
Budgeting $10-20 USD per night for accommodation is pretty safe no matter where you go in Southeast Asia. What a bargain.
- You’ll meet loads of other people travelling
In Southeast Asia, you’re never far from like-minded travelers, especially if you’re staying in hostels. In no time, you’ll be chatting with someone on a similar route to you. You can share tips and recommendations and maybe even organize another meet up.
Have you visited Southeast Asia? Share your experiences with us.