I'm in the early stages of planning a trip around the world with my boyfriend. He is keen to go to South east asia (thailand/cambodia/laos/vietnam) but I've always been a bit wary of it purely from all the bad stories I've read e.g. scams and corrupt officials. Of course I've heard amazing things about all these places but just wanted to get all of your views esp if any of you have recently been to these places.
I am new to the world of travelling outside of USA/Europe so I am aware that there will be quite a culture shock!
I've heard mixed reviews about Vietnam - should we miss this out or are there only certain places we should go to?
Same with the other destinations, any hints and tips would be greatly appreciated.
Western tourists have been going to these countries for decades and longer in some cases. Almost all have a good time. Few get caught with scams (which can happen anywhere. You can find out about scams before you go by asking here and elsewhere). If you don't visit them and later hear the stories of others who did, you'll kick yourself for not going.
Sure there is some culture shock out of the big cities but you don't go to such countries to see skyscrapers. If nothing else, such places make you appreciate more what you have back home. And you'll have a fantastic collection of pictures, so take a good camera.
Air Asia which is a budget (internet) airline will get you around Asia cheaply and quickly. Check where you need visas and injections/pills. Take some talcum powder (it can be bought in some places like Bangkok) which does well underarm, etc as well as against prickly heat. A small spoonful of salt washed down with a sugary drink works very well against diarrhoea. A dab of toothpaste works on mosquito bites, ASAP. Air-conditioning is good in rooms and worth any extra.
[ Edit: Edited on 25-Sep-2009, at 14:02 by Cyberia ]
Actually, you no need to worry about everything like that. For the first time I com to these countries, I was also worried and the fact come true that I wasted my time. My trip was really and enjoyable.
The local was very kind and warm. I could interact with them and witness their local lifestyle. Bangkok in Thailand and Hanoi in Vietnam were the paradise for the shoppers. I got some tips which showed me before the trip in Vietnam, you can have a look at this: -snip-
I think it's not too difficult for you to travel within these country. The facilities are not modern as in the Europe but you can easily to find international levels of services anywhere you go. I had a tight budget but I was rather satisfied with what I got from the tour.
Hope you this help.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
Rubic and Cyberia,
thanks so much for your reassuring words and advice!
Personally, I find SE Asia to be heaven on earth. Sure, there are scams and thieves there, but don't we have the same kind in our "wonderful" Western World too? I've been to Vietnam twice in the last 2 years and am planning a third trip soon - the people are so so super there. Be a little adventurous and I think you'll discover the same.
No tour is needed for this area - DIY and you'll really enjoy it much more. English is widely spoken and understood. The food and shopping are outstanding.
[ Edit: Edited on 26-Sep-2009, at 18:39 by Daawgon ]
I agree with Johnny. VN is a great country to visit. I meet many wonderful VN people during my 5 trips to VN. I also met my GF in DaLat. Well, now she is an ex GF, but why ruin a good story with bothersome facts?
Will you be overcharged for most things? Probably. Are there thieves ready to relive you of your excess cash or camera? Yes there are. What you need to do is learn what the 'real' price for items you want to buy. Learn how to say 'NO!" to the many street sellers, hustlers and beggars. My technique: smile, head shake 'no', keep walking. Many will continue to pester you to buy something, anything. Keep walking and they will finally give up. Of course this is a bit more difficult if you are eating a meal when the book, postcard, cigarette, gum, silk painting sellers arrive. Smile, head shake 'no', go back to your food or conversation. Ignore them and they will finally move on. Or sit where the sellers cannot interrupt your meal. I discuss this in my blog. Now, I do buy from the little ones. Small items, postcards, gum, t-shirts, etc. Know your prices, pay a fair price, help out the kids when you can. It is very small money to us, very big deal to them.
Here are a few items that will make your trip to SEA a safer one. Pac-Safe will keep your things safe in your room. Or on a bus/boat when you cannot see your pack. An undergarmet pouch is a must for your valuables. Make it difficult for thieves to ruin your holiday. Good luck with your planning and send me a PM if you have questions.
again, thanks so much for all the tips and advice!
I'm definitely going to check out the pac safe!
I wandered South East Asia as a solo female for 8 weeks in 2007. Oops, Mom was with me for the 1st 3 weeks in Thailand, she wanted to see what traveling my way was like.
Anywho, Vietnam was by far my favorite, though there were bits of this others I enjoyed. You will have a grand old time.
By the by ~ Do not miss ANGKOR WAT in Cambodia. It's truly a wonderous place.
I have a blog full of pics and stories if you are interested.
Thanks so much for your response. I've heard great things about Angkor Wat so it's def on the list.
I'd really like to see your blog and photos so please feel free to send me the details!
details in a private message coming at ya.