i'm heading out on sunday and plan to visit thailand/laos...bangkok, head north via trains/busses, explore northern thailand in a couple directions outside of the chaing mai area, boat or fly to luang prabang, explore northern laos while generally heading south, and still unsure about what after that. ...i'll fly out of bangkok heading home.
i'm hopping to do some amount of trekking at some point along the way.
i've been debating whether i will need a pair of sturdy closed-toed shoes in addition to the chacos (nice fat-soled, tri- strap sandals) i plan using.
i've hiked several times with chacos and they've supported my feet nicely.
are there any issues/circumstance where one may need close-toed shoes? buildings around wats? museums? issues with leeches? etc.
i really don't want to pack these low-cut hiking shoes if i don't need to.
by the way, any quick tip/link of the best way to remove leeches?
#1 walkingtrees has been a member since 25/1/2010. Posts: 58
Wear whatever you've got.
I flick em with my fingernail. If one simply pushed them off they stick to the finger. Classic is to touch them with a ciggy end, mostly to torture them out of pure hate, but I haven't smoked in years.
I never wear open toed footwear for a variety of reasons:
1. They don't do much to protect your feet - except for the souls. So stubbing the toe is easy to do, and the sidewalks here seem to have plenty of things to stub your toe on.
2. If you ride any kind of motorcycle (which I do every day), they are a real safety issue.
3. Mosquitos will happily munch the exposed part of your foot.
Whatever you do, don't wear socks with them. Only fashion challenged dorks do this.
Unless you're going to do extensive trekking I'd keep the footwear on the simple side. Closed shoes offer better protection than sandals against stick-out obstacles on trails (roots, thorns, rocks) and good rubber tread is invaluable when you're in rainy season (now) trying to cope with slippery muddy slopes. But
rather than bring expensive hiking shoes/boots, any good ol' trainers/sneakers will do well enough for a few days' walking, and then give them away or chuck them in a box with your other souveniers to send home cheap on Thai Post. Sturdy strap-on sandals work most of the rest of the time, either trekking or city walking, but most locals wear kick-on shoes (flipflops) which are available everywhere for next to no money. Again keep it simple, as it doesn't sound like you'll be doing seriously long/strenuous trekking.
"Whatever you do, don't wear socks with them. Only fashion challenged dorks do this."
Madmac, while it may be a TERRIBLE fashion faux pas to wear socks with sandals in the middle of a Laotian jungle, they do offer you some protection from mosquito bites ( and maybe even leeches)and they help prevent your feet getting scratched by undergrowth etc.
They also absorb sweat, meaning your feet are less likely to slide around in the shoes when you're going up or down hill. They'll also keep your feet a bit cleaner.
In fact, most of the advantages of closed toed shoes you mentioned can be obtained by wearing a pair of socks. Socks are useful in planes, trains and buses ... better for the circulation on long journeys than shoes and they help prevent frostbite when the A/C is set for *arctic blast* (as it often is). Socks are light and not as bulky as shoes. Socks are cheap and can be discarded when you no longer need them.
I always have at least one pair of socks with me when I'm travelling because they are USEFUL and I don't give a toss if the ex army salsa dancing expat population in Issan think I look like a bag lady!! ;-)
Sox are useful, and I wear them every day - with my shoes. But Sox with sandals? Yes that is a serious fashion faux pas. It is forgiveable in the jungle, but please, spare us in civilized society. Of course, why where sandals in the jungle? Why not wear closed top footwear? For that matter, I prefer jungle boots in case of a snake striking my lower foot, plus the ankle support. Jungle boots are great.