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Hot Tips For Traveling in South East Asia

Alex Aziz

Visitors: 249


Traveling through Thailand is a great experience, public transport is great and roads are in excellent condition. A great way to see some of the countryside is to rent a motorbike. When renting a motorbike be sure to check it out thoroughly, this is easy enough to say but important points like does the odometer or fuel gauge work can come in handy later on in the trip, especially if traveling long distances. The motorbikes in Asia are built a little differently with two brakes a hand brake (front wheel) and the other a foot brake (back wheel). Try to use only the foot brake when traveling fast as using the hand brake will send you flying over the wheel as it only applies pressure to the front wheel. Another common mistake is when going uphill, shifting down gears while still on the gas, this tends to result in a front wheelie and more often than not an accident.


China is an extremely diverse country and the Chinese lead a completely different way of life to the West, making it a great experience to travel too. When traveling in China, the roads are excellent as are some of the trains and train tracks. As large distances are involved there is a lot of overnight travel. Sleeper trains and buses are common as the local Chinese like to wake up at their destination.

One great tip I learned while traveling in China on sleeper transport is never to take the bottom bunk. The reason for this is that on many overnight trains and buses the people like to dispose of their rubbish on the floor of the bus or train. This means that if you are sleeping on the bottom bed you are likely to have rubbish thrown down past you during the night. This is not that bad to deal with but another Chinese past time is eating nuts and spitting out the seed casings on the floor, this along with spitting makes the bottom bunk an interesting experience. Waking up to find a pile of rubbish and spit on the floor by your bed doesn't exactly help either.


Laos is an extremely beautiful although still primitive country to visit and local transport from villages is normally done on converted trucks, with benches in the back for customers to sit on. Try to avoid traveling on this mode of transport when coming or passing through fishing villages heading to the more centrally located towns, especially in the mornings. The reason for this is because the villagers tend to take their produce which is mainly fish, including dried fish to sell in the towns. This can make for a very unpleasant experience as the truck is never really considered to be full and sitting next to baskets of fresh and dried stinking fish for hours is enough to test the stomach of any person.


When traveling in Cambodia, the locals like to take Taxis as they are quicker than the buses and manage to avoid the potholes better. The only problem with this is that what the West considers being a normal five door car with two seats in the front and three in the back is considered in Cambodia to hold seven or sometimes eight people. The Cambodian's will fit four in the back and three or sometimes even four in the front. If a taxi holds eight people then there would be four in the back and two in the front passengers seat, another passenger would then sit in the drivers seat and the driver would be squashed up to the passenger, leaning against him to hold the wheel with his feet at an angle to reach the pedals. This would be impossible in a manual car but some how it is managed in an automatic. Traveling like this is extremely dangerous and not recommended.

There is a general place where Taxis depart from and they don't depart till they are full. A way to get around this is to buy two or even three seats, effectively meaning you travel in more comfort and safety as this means there would be less people in the Taxi.

Alex Aziz has been traveling and setting up tours in South East Asia since 2000 with vast experience and knowledge of many on and off the beaten places he now spends his time between the UK and Asia. A relaxing break takes him trekking along the Ho Chi Minh trail or kayaking the rivers of Laos


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