Southeast Asia forum
South East Asia - Tips and Info!
14th August, 2014
I recently wrote some bits and bobs for a friend who is traveling alone around SEA. So I thought I would share.
I went traveling with a friend, both mid 20s, both male. 11 weeks away.
With it this been my first time around Asia, I just hit the usual tourist trail. Got a feel for the place, now I'm saving to go back in October and will head slightly off the beaten track of the usual sites.
Please excuse my spelling/grammar, just writing as I reminisce!
Traveling solo -- almost half the travellers we met were travelling alone, find hostels that have good communal rooms, and just jump in peoples conversations. Some hostels have organised days/nights out which is perfect for meeting people. Everyone is on the same wave-length, you will soon see.
Hostels -- book through Hostelbookers/Hostelworld firstly or for cheap hotels in places like Vietnam -- Trivago is cool -- get the apps or update them as there isn't any booking fees now or check if accommodation is available through these websites, then just turn up and book at reception instead. (sometimes cheaper)
APPS -- Tripadvisor have some good apps, and search for offline map apps. These make getting around free and easy using GPS, just be careful having your phone out walking the streets in some areas!
Safety -- every country is ok, just common sense needed. Don't give people an opportunity to see an easy grab of a bag, keep your valuables locked up at the hostels, and carry little cash.
Getting About -- The South East Asia trail is so well-oiled. Everything is on your doorstep to get from A to B. Just walk into the thousands of travel agents or ask at your Hostel reception to book tickets for everything! Trains, Buses, Mini-vans, all cheap and readily available. We even took a few internal flights as they can be so cheap. Use SKYSCANNER.NET for flights. Type in where you are and for the destination pick ENTIRE MONTH, and just type in the word EVERYWHERE for a list of the cheapest flights. It's like a lucky dip of cheap flights! Air Asia/Nok Air are well recommended.
Never "Lose Face" which means show anger at anything, always smile when haggling, and trying to sort a disagreement or you won't get anywhere.
Get inspired by videos on www.travelfish.org
A giant city that's hard to get around but give it chance and you will love it. Search for its little secrets and gems.
The BTS Skytrain makes it easy to get about but it doesn't go all the way to Khao San Road .
If flying into Suvarnabhumi airport then get the Skytrain and just head west, or leave the airport turn left
and get in the official taxi queue, always make sure the meter is on, and don't get in a touts taxi.
To stay around Khao San Road and the main temples - stay at Nap Park www.nappark.com
To stay around the super malls/Siam square -- stay at Lub D www.lubd.com
Head to Lumpinee stadium for the Thai boxing, VIP tickets only for sale for westerners, but we haggled the price down.
Bangkok has 17 Skybars now http://www.bangkok.com/top10-rooftop-bars.htm - Cloud 47 is the only cheap one I believe, and most have dress codes.
Some floating markets have lost their traditional touch. Speak to your hostel to find one that suits what you want out of your trip!
Hire scooters, so cheap, a few quid a day! Take pictures of the scooter of any damages before you hire them.
Check the weather patterns first as they switch about and some Islands more or less shut down if bad weather/rainy season.
Nice island, best for getting your Open Water Padi licence. Go with Simple Life Divers. Small groups, relaxed, good price. Bar Crawl at Choppers Bar also worth a hit, and they do good fish and chips. They also have crazy golf on the Island, and bowling which the staff pick the pins up for you after every bowl and cheer you on.
Famous for the full moon parties/jungle parties. Stay at OUR HOUSE hostel, 2 mins from the beach and perfect for meeting people on full moon nights, everybody paints each other with UV before heading out to the parties.
KOH PHI PHI
Postcode picturesque island, cool beach parties. There aren't any roads. Head to the view point (follow the tsunami evacuation route signs to get there) Stay at BLANCOS beach bar hostel, met 100's of people here! Walking distance from the ferry drop off.
Wish I stayed here longer! Amazing place. Stay at Spicy Backpackers. Hire scooters and head to Mae Sa Waterfalls, only 4/5km. Good roads also. Elephant Treking here! Only go with WOODYS! All the others are a waste of money/don't look after the elephants I have heard.
A 3 hour mini-bus journey north of Chaing Mai. (be prepared for windy roads) One of the best places I have ever been. Everybody else will say the same! It just has an amazing vibe about the place. Stay at Spicy Backpackers here also, as they have one here also.
It is what it is! Was only here two days. Walking street does have some cool bars, Belgium beer bars, real ale bars, and obviously the gogo bars.
Either take the tube from the airport or use the 24/7 minibus service run by the airport if arriving late. Was only here two days so didn't see everything. Stayed in china town, (rucksack inn), enjoyed some good food, karaoke and good beer in this area. This city is too perfect, seems everything runs on time, no crime, no litter. Drink on the Clarke Quay Bridge (bring your own beer) with the locals or spend a fortune in the bars! Watch the laser/light show from the bay at night. Some expensive bars/restaurants/malls compared to the rest of Asia, but worth a visit. Museums/Malls/Hotels around the bay are worth a visit.
Again only stayed a couple of days, stay in Reggae Mansion. NO WHERE ELSE! Biggest, Liveliest, hostel I have stayed in. Giant rooms and beds and very friendly/helpful. Awesome roof-top bar also. Go up the Petronas Towers if you wish, almost worth it. But not mind-blowing. Head to Berjaya Times Squareâ€Ž and go in this giant super mall to get lost in which has a roller coaster inside.
Only went to HCM city as the storm was coming from the Philippines. Be confident when crossing the roads, don't jump about when crossing or you will get run-over. Walk slow and don't stop! Go to the Cu Chi tunnels, shoot AK47 guns here. See the eerie presidential palace, you can just walk around as you wish here, or hop in and out of any of the walking tours. Drinking on the tiny seats in the streets is a must, met some cool people this way.
Stay at MAD MONKEY (it has a pool) Drink down pub street, don't let girls take bags out. (a few of bag thefts) Go to Angkor Wat!
Stay at MAD MONKEY here also! (Try the BIG MAC MONKEY BURGER, it's pretty close!) Not much going on here, drink on the riverfront, go on the hostels pub-crawls, and the club isn't too bad here also!
Stay in Kuta for the nightlife/things to do. A lot of the other places are beautiful also, and worth a visit. Kuta is perfect for surfing (just rent a board from a surf dude on the beach for a few quid!) Stay in POP HOTEL for a nice clean, cheap-ish room, and it has a pool. Eat at Sky Garden, it's a super-club but everyday at 5pm I believe you can get free beer and food (all you can munch) for a few quid!
We only stayed in Vang Vieng, two main streets, awesome night-life, and do the tubingâ€¦.at least twice! (set off around dinner time) Hot-air ballooning here also is cheap at sunset and supposed to be cool. Luang Prabang supposed to have amazing waterfalls but ran out of time.
#1 Posted: 16/8/2014 - 05:41
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