Travelling in South East Asia can be demanding on your body, especially if you plan to travel the cheap way.We traveled to all these destinations and made back alive and in one piece (in most cases). Now, we are all of different ages, conditions and travel differently. Adapt your travel plans to your health and don’t push too hard. Finding the right balance between enjoying your time and being responsible and safe is tricky. We provide you with some information but you will be the one taking the potential risks. Not us, so adapt to your preference and make your trip YOUR trip. A few general recommendations:
- Check on your home country foreign affairs website if they offer information regarding the country you plan to visit. If there is no information, you can visit the Canada Foreign affairs website.
- Make sure that you check all recommended vaccinations long before you go and visit your doctor if necessary to do a check. Take a medical kit with you (especially if you go to remote places with no easy access to medical infrastructures).
- Tell your friends and families where you are going so that they know where to look for you in case something happens to you.
- Food can be delicious but it can also ruin your holidays if you get sick. So, enjoy, but be careful what you eat. It is usually wise to eat the same stuff as the locals do. Don’t expect to find a 4 cheese pizza in a remote village in Sulawesi. If you find one, ask yourself: how did it get there? Was the cold chain OK all the way? If your stomach is not happy with the food, drink plenty of water and say hi to your new best friend “Rice”. Rice is a very nice guy. It’s available anywhere you go, it’s cheap and usually safe (cooked, no spice).
- Mosquitoes… Small, furtive, useless, mean, dangerous. They are probably the worse thing. Make sure your wear long sleeves and long pants around sunrise and sunset. This time of the day is their favorite time, especially for the species carrying the malaria. Your ankle and arms are usually the first targets. Protect them. Keep in mind that some mosquitoes are able to bite you even through clothes! I know it’s probably very hot where you are but put something on. You can use repellent but the best protection is probably not to expose any part of your skin. Mosquitoes nets can be an option at night. Check if your accommodation offers some. It’s usually pointless to bring your own with you as it can be quite difficult to hang on top of your bed.
- Asia is known to be a relatively safe region. However, check the status of the region you are going to on your country embassy website. The situation in some regions in some countries can be unstable from time to time. Visiting a region that is subject to riots or guerrilla is usually not a good idea.
- Don’t tempt pickpockets and keep your valuables with you. Leave your nice watch at home and get a cheap one to travel. As you travel you will adjust the way you keep your money and valuables. Of course, it’s hard to take pictures without a camera. If you have a brand new DSLR, make sure to keep an eye on it at all times. “Low crime does not mean no crime”.
- Insurance and emergency. Well hopefully you will not have to use these, but you never know. Check with your company if you are covered while on holidays. Check with your credit card as well. Make sure you put the emergency contact number in your cell phone so that you can easily call if anything happens.
- Phone. Always travel with a phone. You don’t need to turn it on all the time but having it with you guarantees that you will be able to contact someone in case you are in trouble. If you have an old cheap Nokia 3310 or equivalent, take it with you and make sure you transfer your contacts. Ensure you have sufficient battery, just in case…If you have a brand new smartphone and want to use it as a camera, then do it ! Take a protection cover along.
Disclaimer: all above recommendations are based on our travel experience in the region. We decline any responsibility if anything bad happens to you during your trip. Of course, we accept all credit for anything good that will happen. Sit down, relax and enjoy your flight. Ok, now you have a good idea about health and safety.
Happy (and safe) travelling!