Each country in Southeast Asia has their own culture. If you’re planning your trip here, you need to know well about them to have an unforgettable holiday.
Dress code for Southeast Asia
Most of the people think about Southeast Asia as a hot paradise where you can show your skin all the time. Sorry, but it’s not everywhere that you can wear bikinis, cropped top and shorts.
Depending on your itinerary you need to think carefully about the clothes you gonna bring. If Malaysia and Indonesia are on your travel plans bring long skirts and dresses, they are Muslim countries and it’s important to show respect to their culture and belief. On Buddhist countries the same, you need to dress respectfully while visiting temples and monasteries.
Visiting Vietnam, Laos or North of Thailand? So bring a light jacket and a pair of trousers, the weather is a bit cooler there and you will be surprised how the temperatures can drop during night-time.
If climbing a mountain or a volcano is part of your travel itinerary, you will need more than a light jacket. Bring a woolen hat and warm clothes. We climbed Mt. Batur in Bali, and was freezing up there, even though at the sea level it was 30º Celsius.
English is an international language, but don’t take it for granted. In some Southeast Asian countries, as Thailand and Cambodia, English is not widely spoken, once you leave the tourist areas you will get stuck. Download a good language App on your phone, Google Translate works offline!
Learn a few words like “Hi”, “Thank you”, “Please” and “how much”, it will help you a lot, and local people will treat much better if you show interest in their culture and language. And try to smile, it has always worked for us.
Mosquitoes and allergies
You are traveling to a different land, surrounded by tropical forest, rice fields, rivers and mountains. There are tons of insects in Southeast Asia, more than you can imagine. Said that, my advice is: buy a good and efficient mosquito repellent! Some natural or DEET-free repellents don’t work in Southeast Asia, those nasty mosquitos and sandflies are on steroids . If you are allergic to insects, bring antihistamine tablets, just in case…
Southeast Asia is a universe of different cultures, religions and food. Make the most of your trip to Southeast Asia and go local. Forget Irish pubs, Italian restaurants, French wine… Try the local street food, drink local beer or tea, experiment the uniqueness and push yourself out of the comfort zone. Don’t be afraid, in two years traveling in Southeast Asia e got sick only once.
Public transport is also a good option to meet locals, discover the cities and save money. Taxis can be a real problem in Southeast Asia, all the haggling for the price, some of them don’t want to use taximeter and, especially in Thailand, they never know the addresses… Hop on a bus, or on a tuk-tuk and explore Asia.
The last tip is one of the most important travel hacks for Southeast Asia: get a good and reliable travel insurance. During your adventure in Asia you might do rock climbing, snorkeling, kayak, boat rides, or your luggage can be lost in one of the many airports and bus stations you gonna stop at… Protect yourself and your stuff.
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