Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

What technology should I take to stay in touch?

Posted by JustinC474 on 30/8/2012 at 14:06

Hi all,

So I'm heading to Bangkok the last week of September and am planning on being in SE Asia 3-4 months. I'm obviously going to want to stay in touch with my friends and family back at home, as was wondering what the best way to do that was. I'm thinking that my IPod may prove sufficient, since I can check email on it and go online as long as I have Wi-Fi. So that being said, is it pretty easy to find Wi-Fi access throughout SE Asia? This may be a stupid question.... but I've never been to that part of the world so I don't know!



#1 JustinC474 has been a member since 27/8/2012. Posts: 9

Posted by LaraHelen on 30/8/2012 at 21:14

Posted from within Vietnam.

It is the fact that SEA has been developed and it is not difficult to access Wi-Fi. Normally, you can use Wi-Fi at Coffee , Resturant, Hotel.

#2 LaraHelen has been a member since 13/7/2012. Posts: 35

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Posted by tyler on 31/8/2012 at 00:00

Don't worry about it. It's everywhere. The signal might be a bit sketchy and you might have to pay for it but you won't have trouble finding it.
As for what to use - I think it just comes down to personal preference. I've never used an iPod for anything other than music but there have been no problems (for me) with either my iPad or iPhone.
You might want to consider buying local sim cards for each country you go to. Text messages and calls, both local and abroad, will probably be less than what you pay at home.

#3 tyler has been a member since 7/12/2010. Location: Canada. Posts: 257
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Posted by Tilapia on 1/9/2012 at 08:28

At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, as far as communicating goes, you can't beat getting a postcard in the mail. Take some pens and a few addresses. Writing a postcard in a night market or in a food stall or in a beachside bar beats the heck out of sitting in an internet cafe sending e-mails or messing around on FB while surrounded by kids playing video games at treacherous volume levels.

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Posted by busylizzy on 1/9/2012 at 14:33

If you only access to check emails, there are also plenty of internet cafes, PC's at guesthouses, etc. You may want to considier leaving the gear at home - less to carry, and no risk of loss/damage.

Having said that, I always carry a netbook - but I do more than just check emails. (Photo backup, bookings/planning, internet banking, etc)

There's plenty of WiFi. I was even surprised to find it just last year in some small-town places in Laos (Tak Theng, Nong Kiaow, Sekong....)

Tilapia's suggestion is also a good one, of course!

#5 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by travelinasia on 2/9/2012 at 05:15

Don't stress yourself. Wifi is everywhere! Most esp at hotels, restos, malls and of course there's a bunch of internet cafe's out there.

Enjoy your vacation!

#6 travelinasia has been a member since 8/8/2012. Posts: 18

Posted by SBE on 2/9/2012 at 05:38

As others have said, wifi is widely available and although places like Myanmar and remote areas of Indonesia still have limited internet access, things are changing quite fast even there.

You could always send text messages if you have an unlocked phone (except in Myanmar, unless things have changed in the last few months). Top up sim cards are very cheap and if your phone is locked you can easily get it unlocked in Bangkok. There are tons of both new and secondhand unlocked phones on sale there too.

Like Lizzy, I find netbooks really good because they are inexpensive, highly portable, and you can do a lot with them. They have a better battery life than larger notebooks and allow you to phone home with skype if you want as well.

As it happens, my own netbook died recently and I've been looking to replace it but unfortunately practically every manufacturer except Acer and Asus seems to have stopped making netbooks this year so choices are now very limited. Tablets and ipods can't do everything a netbook can and I find a physical keyboard a lot easier to use than a virtual one, so this is pissing me off rather!

If you look at 10 inch netbooks on sale at the moment you see they all have the same crappy Windows 7 starter and just 1Gb of RAM. Apparently Asus has decided to cripple their netbooks and made it impossible to upgrade RAM by soldering it to the motherboard .... even though their own specs say these machines are capable of using 2Gb and all the expert reviews say a minimum of 2Gb is needed! Is it Microsoft dictating what users can and cannot buy or is Asus just trying to force people buy their overpriced ultrabooks instead?

Anyway, after searching for hours online I eventually found one new Asus 10'' model with 2gb RAM but it comes with Ubuntu. (The Eee PC R051CX)

I've no problem trying Ubuntu at all (quite the contrary) but Asus designed their laptops around Windows so I'm wondering if things like energy management and reading HD films off my camera would work equally well. Does anyone know? Of course I could install a very cheap Windows ultimate OS when I get to Bangkok ;-) but Ubuntu doesn't seem to suffer from viruses and stuff so it might be a better OS to use anyway.

#7 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,052
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Posted by busylizzy on 2/9/2012 at 05:51

Hey SBE - you're starting to sound like a real techy!

Have you looked into the Ultra books? They're pretty thin and light these days... makes my 11.2" netbook feel like a brick! Only thing is, I'm not sure how small they come.

I've heard good things about the Dell XPS13 - a bit bigger than the 10" netbooks, but probably lighter and more grunty. I haven't looked into them too carefully, and believe there are several different variations of them. Don't take this as a recommendation because I haven't looked into them - just going on hearsay at this point!

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Posted by SBE on 2/9/2012 at 06:21

Unfortunately ultra books cost about 3 times as much as netbooks and have less battery life! Thanks for the link, will check it out now. Tomorrow I'm gonna test a 2nd hand transformer 101 but I've a feeling it won't be as useful as my wee netbook was. :-(

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Posted by UsTwo on 2/9/2012 at 07:48

I took my laptop for various reasons, and used Google Chat for calls. Nothing beats being able to see the one you are talking to. With free WiFi everywhere, it's real cheap, too.

#10 UsTwo has been a member since 22/4/2010. Location: Australia. Posts: 72
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Posted by Captain_Bob on 2/9/2012 at 11:15

Take a pen and write postcards. Pretend you're back in the good ol' days when travel meant actually leaving and forgetting about home. Vasco da Gama didn't have wifi.

But seriously I'd just take a phone in case there's some emergency or to book rooms in advance, then hit the internet cafes to catch up on your Facebook and travel blogs.

#11 Captain_Bob has been a member since 27/5/2006. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,947

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