How to travel in Southeast Asia?

11 the most beautiful places in Southeast Asia
02/01/2020
Ranking of the best accomodation in southeast Asia
Ranking of the best accommodation in Southeast Asia
08/01/2020

How to travel in Southeast Asia?

Southeast Asia is (except Singapore) cheap travel direction. In Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, in Indonesia and Singapore, I spent a total of 5 months in 2018. Here are some tips on the subject

How to travel in Southeast Asia?

1. Maps

I recommend downloading the Maps.me app and a map of the destination country on your phone. Maps.me shows definitely better paths and walking routes than Google Maps. After downloading, the GPS works offline

2. Accommodation in Southeast Asia

In most places in Southeast Asia (when I didn't use couchsurfing), I didn't book accommodation in advance - many places in this region of the world do not advertise on the Interne. And they are usually the cheapest.

Usually before coming to a new place I already did a research about the cheap hostels (I marked them on my phone map). I also checked how far away from the city center is the bus station or railway, which I was supposed to get to. If the center was 1 hour away, I was walking there with my backpack and on the way I just started asking about prices of accommodation. As a last resort, I could always go to the previously checked hostel on the Internet.

It was a form of challenge - I love negotiating.

Note: Before making a decision about staying in a hotel /guest house, be sure to ask to see a room first. Things such as a window in the room, a mosquito net, relative cleanliness or a western shower are not standard in Asia, so check if you are ready for the proposed conditions before paying for accommodation.

I invite you to read the post Ranking of the best accommodation in Southeast Asia

3. Food in Southeast Asia

In most Southeast Asian countries you can easily eat a meal on the street or in a local restaurant and pay between 1 and 2.5 US dollars. As a vegan, I used the application https://www.happycow.net/ . Due to popular Buddhism in Asia there are many local restaurants that only offer vegetarian food. In any restaurant, you can also just ask for rice with stir fried vegetables.

Note: It's definitely easier to find vegan food in Southeast Asia than, for example, in Spain

jedzenie w Indonezji

4. Transport in Southeast Asia

Scooters and motorbikes are very popular in Asia. I met many travelers who bought e.g. a motorbike in Vietnam to ride the whole country on it. IIn every town you can also rent a scooter. Remember, however, that our rules do not apply in Asia - I advise you to observe traffic for several days before get on the two-wheeler. You should have an international motorcycle driving license, to legally drive on those roads. Of course, most tourists ignore it and drives without valid documents.

Note: I saw during my trip quite a few travelers with scars after scooter accidents. They are even in Bali called "Balinese tattoos", so think about whether you want to risk it. Taxis, especially scooter taxis are quite cheap. Check out Uber, and in Indonesia also Grabcara and Gojek (local taxi drivers don't like Grabcar and Uber, so sometimes you will have to pretend that the driver is your local friend).

In Asia, trains are very cheap (ask for third and second class - it's worth buying them a few days earlier, because they diverge quite quickly). There are also services of cheap, local carriers and more expensive but very comfortable (especially for short people like me ?) long distance buses with real sleeping places. It is also nice to sometimes leave roads behind and choose a boat.

Of course, you can also hitchhike, although this is not a popular way of transportation in Asia and you will come across many times with misunderstanding and long waiting times, because "locals" will have no idea what you want.

5. Money in Southeast Asia

I recommend using a multi-currency card for travel, e.g. Revolut, thanks to which you won't have to worry about the high costs of currency conversions. I advise you to take 200-300 US dollars with you (manufactured after 2013 and in very good condition, as some exchange placeswill don't accept old bills) just in case you don't find an ATM in a small village. In some countries (e.g. Thailand) there are fixed government fees for each ATM withdrawal. In other countries, however, banks impose their own commission - it is worth checking the amount of these fees in several places.

money in Laos

6. Safety in Southeast Asia

Virtually anywhere (except moving in traffic that is completely crazy here) in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore I felt completely safe. I used couchsurfing, I also hitchhike many times.

Be careful about dangers on roads and in the wild. Read the post Snakes - safety in jungles of Southeast Asia

7. Negotiate

Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate - locals seeing your white face will definitely overstate the amount for your articles. You can start negotiations from 1/3 of the original price.

8. What to take with you on a journey to the end of the world?

Travel lightly, you can buy most things on the spot. Remember that you will have to carry all this on your shoulders. I recommend my post Must have for travelers - what to take with you to learn more.


You already know how to travel in Southeast Asia.

Are you still worried if you can handle it? Or maybe you don't know what to do before you go - read: How to prepare for your travel?

Related posts:

Maria Inspires
Maria Inspires
My name is Maria Durczyk. I love traveling, illustrating, people. I travel to near and distant countries and towards health and inner peace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Pola, których wypełnienie jest wymagane, są oznaczone symbolem *