Southeast Asia Adventure

Thailand Travel Blog

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Here's a trip itinerary I've made for a friend of mine who's going with me to Southeast Asia. And for all those, who need to know where I am and what I'm doing ;) Oh and P.S. everyone's welcome to join! ;)

 

 

 

Southeast Asia Adventure

 

November 15th, 2008- January 13th 2009

 

Thailand- Laos- Vietnam- Cambodia- Peninsular Malaysia- Sin

gapore- Malaysian Borneo

 

Sà wát dii (thai: hello) and welcome, dear traveller,

 

 

   (N.

B. this journey was designed for travellers, not tourists; hopefully, you see the difference between these two, thought greenhorn first-time travellers- worry not: this adventure will be an eye- opener for you)

 

… to the lands of ancient temples and breathtaking sights, picture-perfect beaches and sunsets, wild-crawling jungle treks and tear-jerking underwater worlds… The places on Earth, where your trip would impress Indiana Johns him self! And I’m pretty sure, after just enough of Mekhong in Thailand, Lao Lao in Laos or Bia Hoi in Vietnam (all quite strong fluids) - Indiana Johns won’t be the only superhero you meet!

 

Needless to say- it is going to be your most thrilling adventure so far! And that is whether or you come back alive and unspoiled!

 

So backpacks ready, cameras on stand- by: off we go!!!

 

Along the “things of importance” lists at the end of the itinerary, there are few essential things you should pack inside your head before we take off:

 

·       Patience! When haggling on the price (mostly in Thailand and Vietnam; bargaining is not so common in Malaysia) for a service or a buy, don’t get angry or yell; smile, stay calm and things will usually turn out your way! Throughout most of the Southeast Asian countries, locals tend to be laid- back and friendly (the exception of ‘calm’ might be Vietnam) and the hotheaded are not tolerated!

 

·       Respect the sacred sights- temples, pagodas, wats, mosques etc.

Always dress appropriately when visiting an attraction!

 

·       Try to not play with your travel guide’s nerves: the heart condition he has might lead him to his ancestors (or better yet- the sacred soils of Angkor)!

 

And the last major requirement, which should be “packed” into your muscles rather than you head, is

 

·       Appropriate level of fitness should be reached before the trip: the numerous activities involve jungle treks, walking or cycling to the sights, climbing, hiking, swimming… A smoke won’t be tolerated during the jungle treks in National Parks, nor while doing water activities.

Wouldn’t it be the best time to quit before the trip??? 

 

 

Thailand

 

The taking off point of our journey- Bangkok is one of the major cities, where we spend few days for sure. Time shouldn’t be in our questions throughout the journey, therefore this itinerary does not contain any arrival- leaving dates, nor how long are we spending in a particular location. To have a general idea, we will need around 3 weeks in Thailand, nearly that much in Malaysia, and so the rest of the time will be more or less equally divided for Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and just few days we will need in Singapore. You will be given a 30 days visitor’s visa to Singapore if you arrive by air, and 14 days visa- by land. You can apply for an extension at the Immigration Department! Not sure if you will be allowed to stay in Singapore over a year, but you can always try! (I’m sure you will)

 

There’s no preferences on which attractions are we doing first (this or another town for that matter), this will be decided on the spot, considering which part of the town are we in, and what do we feel like. The itinerary won’t contain any travelling means either- we decide it on the spot, taking as many night- busses/trains/boats or flights as possible (where there’s a long distance) to save the time and get to a destination quicker. The town itinerary however should be followed.

 

Few days before commencing of the journey it is advisable to book a hotel for our first night stay in Bankok, which is going to make it easier choosing our sights for the day. There are also many tour agencies, so if we don’t feel like making our own path in the town’s attractions map, we can book a local tour, visiting the sights.

 

Presumptively, we are going to be exhausted after the long flight, therefore the first night should be advisably spent in Khao San, where the drinks are available until the morning, celebrating the beginning of our adventure. Our accommodation should be pre-booked accordingly to the area.

 

The provisional itinerary of the town is: 1. holiest, 2. oldest, and only then the 3. shopping!

 

Therefore our starting sight in Bankok is going to be Ko Ratanakosin- the holiest district in the city, at a river Mae Nam Chao Phraya. We hit the three major temples in the area: Wat Pha Kaew, Wat Pho and the Grand Palace. We can try the ABC Amazing Bankok Cyclist agency, where we can rent bikes and get a boat ride to the major sights for just 1000B.

 

The oldest is being Chinatown and Banglamphu, where we can also grab late lunch and try the exotics, rushing to your favourite part: shopping, although I’m not sure if you can find any DVD’s in Chatuchak Market, which is considered to be the biggest market in Bankok,

Although there’s a huge chance you’ll find plenty DVD’s and more in Siam Square, the shopping district of Bankok. Grater Bakok, which can be reached by Sky- train, with its famous Central World Plaza, is definitely the modern part of Bakok, where we can hit movies before we go back to our hotel. Just don’t forget to stand up at national anthem, which is always played before the movie starts.

 

Quite a few attractions are also waiting for us outside the town. Such as Damnoen Saduak floating market, which has to be visited in the early hours of the morning (which means we have to stay around there the night before), and two more examples of ancient Thai- Namkhon Pathom and Samut Prakan ancient cities. 

 

Attention: flip- flop intervention! Before we head into mainlands and highlands of the country, we must get into holiday- makers mood! Therefore, you travel guide has arranged a short splash, just to make our cloudy brains and pale bodies realise, that we are FINALLY on holidays!!! Pattaya and Ko Chang is where we’re heading for that starting point of our tropical beach experience! Flip- flops, towels, sunscreens, and cocktails! La Tropicana here we come! 

 

After have soaked for a while in the Gulf of Thailand under the thai sun, we give in to some serious moods and head to discover the tragic history of Kanchanaburi, where the Mae Nam Khwae and the infamous bridge over it reveals a story, that I’m sure you will know more of, then your travel guide. Plus you can also take the sweet revenge and text Cat in the middle of the night (on her side of the world). Yet another cycling trip is waiting for you, by the way, since the bridge is around 3km from the town.

 

Following the serious moods of the trip, we catch a train to Ayuthaya- the former capital of Thailand, where the in-city island and around offers plenty of temple (or to be precise- wat) sightings and attractions.

 

From here, we head in to Suthothai (raising happiness), an ancient city further up to the highlands, which has even more stunning sacred places of interest, located in the Historical Park and best visited on a cycling trip. Suthothai lays approx 10hrs journey from Bankok (so around 8hrs from Ayuthaya). Therefore an option: whether to take a over night boat trip on the river Mae Nam Chao Phraya from Ayuthaya in the evening, and wake up in the morning at Suthothai shores, or take a bus/train ride and stop at Lopburi, another city of beautiful wats.  

 

Had enough of temples and wats? Worry not- our journey takes us to the next station, the capital of jungle treks to indigenous hill-tribes, white water rafting, elephant rides and traditional thai massages- Chiang Mai! Don’t even think about being tired, the nights are not for sleeping! Instead, we will be bargaining in the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, and eating a very traditional Khao sawy in the Jin How are, not too far away from Bazaar. Sure, there are a few (more) temples even in Chiang Mai, but our days there will be spent doing some serious trekking into jungle, with all the optional activities such as elephant riding or rafting.

 

Mesmerized by the outstanding nature of the very north of Thailand, we can spend there few more days: the numbers of activities are never ending here. You can visit Bo Sang village famous for it’s paper umbrellas, or San Kamphoeng- where the sink is being produced in traditional ways, both villages are just a short (and cheap) bus ride away.

 

Doi Inthanon National Park might be the place to wash your body and soul in the amazing waterfalls, Pai with heaps of offers on trekking, massages and saunas, and finally Chiang Rai will be our last base town in Thailand, before we head to Laos.

 

Laos

 

      Leaving Chiang Rai and Thailand behind us, just for the time being, since where are going to come back to enjoy some of the Andaman Sea adventures on the east cost of Thailand, we’re heading to Luang Nam Tha, the base camp city of Nam Ha National Park. The rainforest and wildlife here are as close as Eden, and we will have the opportunity to experience this Eden on Earth by doing few treks and visiting hill tribes who dwell deep in the jungle. Do have some toothpaste, soap or few biros to give away for the community, as it is very appreciated gifts.

 

Laos in rather long country in measures, unfortunately, only the north part of the country has developed the major tourism industry, which leads us choosing only this part for our visit. There’s a town on the river Mekong in the south of the country- Si Phang Don (Four Thousand Island), which is on our optional activities list, so we can decide later whether going there or not. The location is famous for the Irrawaddy dolphin spotting!   

Luang Probang is the next on the list offering very wide choice of ancient temples, where we going to stay at least for a day also to relax and spoil our selves in the luxury of the town civilisation and gather some energy needed in Vang Vieng. This central city is where we base for few days again, organizing two major activities in this area: tubing (sort if water sports) and caving! A third activity worth mentioning, which might also be the main one for you, is scooter rides! You can rent a scooter for just as much as 5 USD a day!

 

Having done that, we hit the capital of the country- Vientiane. Few temple visits again going to be involved, with the Wat Si Saket on the top of our list, since this temple is quite a finding and very much worth visiting even if overdosed on temples so far. Xieng Khuan or Buddha Park is also worth mentioning even on this short summarising itinerary. We wave goodbye to Laos from a plane to Vietnam.

 

 

Vietnam

 

 We have two main base camps in Vietnam- its capital (of annoyance) Hanoi and the capital of party- times Ho Chi Minth (or as locals call it- Saigon). These two represents the East and the South of the country, and this in where we do all our activities and sightseeing. The middle of the country- Hue and Hoi An- are negotiable, although Hue might interest you with a bunch of war history with it’s Royal Tombs and DMZ (demilitarisation zone), also it’s Citadel- town. Hoi An offers it’s gorgeous old town. Negotiable these two are because we could easily take a flight from Hanoi to Saigon, what would most definitely save us bunch of time, since all of our main “to- do/ to- see” are located around latter two towns.

 

Two major pieces of knowledge you should however remember for Vietnam: first of all, stock up on your toilet paper before arriving to the country: you will find it hard to get it even in the bathrooms of restaurants or such, and, seconds, bia hoi, a small expression in Vietnamese language, witch means draught better, and that’ll keep you going in the country.

 

Hanoi is described as a very dangerous town. The traffic can kill you, the local can (and most probably- will) rob you, and you most definitely loose your temper not once and not twice. Although we can’t judge prior arriving, an offered “One Day in Hanoi” tour itinerary by Lonely Planet might just be what we need, since it covers all worth seeing in the city, such as Temple of Literature and Old Quarter. We will however be stuck in the town for quite a while, since all the surrounding attractions are the best to be visited by a booked tour from the town. We should remember not to book anything through our hotels or guesthouses, since most of them are doing scam tours. There’s a list of agencies provide quality tours, and we will be using them instead.

There are two huge national parks around Hanoi we have to visit. No major trekking involved, I can promise you that much, we do however have to visit Karst formation sight- the reason the parks are famous for. The agencies from the list can also organize a tour to the surrounding villages: Bat Trang- famous for it’s ceramics made in traditional way, Van Phuc- silk, So- nuddles and Le Mat- snake farms (where you have an over- night camping booked by your travel guide).       

The Parfume Pagoda, located around 60km southwest from Hanoi, is truly amazing; we will reach these Buddhist shrines built into limestone cliffs on Huong Tich Mountain by boat from Chua Huong. We can also visit Ba Vi National Park, and if we book our trip to Sapa, base camp for all the treks into Fansipan, the highest mountain in Vietnam, arrived at Ninh Binh, the prices will be much cheaper than in Hanoi. While we’re waiting for our tour to Fansipan, we can head a little bit down the road and spend a day in Tam Coc doing some boat trips around this scenic location.  

The last, but definitely not the least part of Hanoi’s surrounding we have to see: Halong Bay: the most scenic area in Vietnam.

 

If we do decide to ‘skip’ the central Vietnam, we take a flight from Hanoi to Saigon, capital of fun, but that will be decided later on. Saigon is going to be our way back to civilisation and the place to have few parties. We can spend few days here, or we can head a little north and visit Nha Trang with a tremendous list of sights (or we can do both), since Nham Trang is definitely worth our time.

 

The most dangerous gossip about Southeast Asia is the one about boarder crossing from one country to another. As I said before, we can’t judge about it from a book or what other people say, until we actually get our own experience on that. Your tour guide was nevertheless trying to organize the itinerary not playing this risk, so there’s not many actual boarder crossings involved, we’re mostly taking flights with few exceptions of land crossings never on Sunday’s though, far to risky (being double charged on entry fees to the country, visas etc). Cambodia gets by far most of the infamous light over it, therefore we’re definitely taking the flight from Saigon to Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital.

 

 

Cambodia

 

Phnom Penh is the starting point of our Cambodian adventure, but honestly, Cambodia is a bit tricky. Not because of all the gossip influencing the people’s opinion about the country though: the Khmer Rouge was over long time ago and Cambodia is opening it self to the world now. Tricky is the travel route on the itinerary. It’s a big country and we have two places “must go to”: one on the west, one on the east, with not much in the middle.

 

The capital of the country with its list of attractions is where we base for few days. Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, Wat Phom, Killing fields of Choeung Ek are places to get at least a slight understanding on country’s tragic history, we can also hit the Tuol Sleng Museum to catch some documental movies on that as well.

 

Being responsible travellers as we are, we can even dine, drink and shop for a cause of found raising- all of it will go to the most support needed issues of the country! Lonely Planet gives a full list of restaurants and shops where we can do that. Eating is very important in Cambodia, and as they say, appetite of a Cambodian is just limitless! Therefore, there’s also a list of “dare you” traditional dishes for us to try, including tarantulas, duck embryo etc! I’m sure we’re going a have a feast!

 

San Reap is where we’re headed after our lovely dinning, wining, shopping and snacking on tarantulas! Just to forget for a while we’re in Southeast Asia, we hit to the Wild Wild West, or locally known as the Happy Ranch, where we have horse ride tours organized around the area of attractions!

 

Finally, the time has come for the supreme Indiana’s Johns target: Angkor, the mother of all temples on Earth! They say, if in a wish to see it all, one needs over a week to do so. We will dwell in this ancient corner of the world for three days, visiting not all, but the most important temples of Angkor. You can not rush through here, otherwise you will just loose on it!

 

Having done the ancient part of our Cambodian express, we hit the natural wonders of the country. How would you like to have a swim a volcano lake? You will get your chance once we arrive to a Ratanakiri province. Make sure you stuck you wallet before we arrive the base city Ban Lung, since there’s no ATM’s in the town. Virachey National Park is the place to dip your toes into volcano lakes and refresh you self in the clear streams of waterfalls. Our local tours will be organized by Ministry of Environment, since it’s the only official agency for that; other can be a bit tricky.

 

The questions on the itinerary route of Cambodia will be decided in Saigon. Phom Penh is where we’re taking our flight back to Thailand’s Andaman coast.

 

 

 

 

Back to Thailand

 

Although this path of the journey was indeed criticized, your travel guide was however thinking about you needs as a priority. The East Coast of Thailand is known as the bohemian part of the country, where you could enjoy no string fun and make it a “holiday from holiday” without any activities, sightseeing or anything else of that matter, while your travel guide is deepening his PADI knowledge and certification. Therefore is it most ideal for the middle of the trip, as you can relax before heading into shopping springs of Singapore and the real rainforest treks in Malaysia. As it is however a flexible itinerary, we can make few changes after negotiation.

 

Phuket is the landing airport for our flight from Cambodia. Ranong with it’s hot springs, Krabi and Phang- Nga with limestone formations rising from the waters, Ko Phi Phi, mostly damaged during the tsunami in 2004, whereas now you won’t be able to see any traces of that, as the city is totally re-built. Ko- Tao, Ko Pha- Ngan and Ko Samui…These are all small paradise island around the region, screaming fun, buckets with shared straws, beach and bohemia! A real holiday- making is not imaginable anywhere else but here. Minimum of four days stay here will erase but the last memories of your previous life, indulging you to a “paradise found” on Earth!

 

Hat Yai is our crossing town to Peninsular Malaysia.

 

 

Peninsular Malaysia

 

Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo are two separate parts of Malaysian continent, which stands as the pinnacle of our journey: this is what we were gathering our strength at the Andaman Coast for, this is what we were training for, doing all those smaller treks and activities. Malaysia will demand all our skills obtained and is going to be the test of the lifetime! The depth of Tuman Negara and the shadows of Mt. Kinabulu are the names of our fate! Oh and a bit of a Singapore shopping in between!

 

Pulau Penang and its Georgetown is our very much civilized starting point in Malaysia, following by deserts of tea plantations in Cameron, the road, that leads us into Jeruntat, the supply town for our Tuman Negara adventures and then Kuala Tahan- the base camp of it.

 

A buzzing, leech- infested mass of primary forest over 130 million years old, Taman Negara is the place, where we get our chance to become Indianas Johns’, Apocaliptos, and all the other rainforest superheroes at once, or just to dissolve into the green primal depth, surrounded by the sounds of wild- life. We do ‘three day- two night’ trek (or a longer one; we can get up to 9 day treks organized) with a licensed guide into the jungle, camping in the hides, watching the night’s wild- life (which is much richer than during the day time), and living the adventures you will share with your grandchildren sitting on a rocking chair in a cottage at a cosy fireplace when you’re 70. Please make sure you have the proper jungle outfit, including jungle boots (preferably long ones), long trekking trousers etc. wear your mosquito repellent instead your perfume, and make sure you get the vaccination against rabies!!! (No kidding; and no no’s accepted for this trek!)

 

If survived the jungle, we hit Kuala Lumpur, capital of Peninsular Malaysia, where I’m sure you’ll enjoy the temples or any other civilized corners for that matter! Colonial District, Chinatown, Little India and the so-called Golden Triangle of shopping and entertainment are going to be a blessing after the jungle! There’s an optional activity at this point- visit at the Batu Caves, if you’re interested in leaving the town for another bit of adventure.

 

Our last stop before hitting the shopping malls of Singapore is going the be an Eden- island Pulau Tioman with its beaches and cocktails for you, and its coral gardens for your travel guide. We do however have to check the ferry schedules before even thinking about the island, it is going to be typhoon season on the East Coast of Malaysia and the ferries are rare or temporary detained. Talking about coral gardens, why not to try it for your self? You might love it, and this is the place to start your affaire with diving! Scuba diving is also much cheaper here than elsewhere in Southeast Asia!

 

 

Singapore

 

This is yet another jungle we’re heading into, a different sort of jungle though: multi-storey shopping malls and supermarkets, sky- scrapers, bargaining and haggling, traffic jams and crammed bars, a jungle, where you would be dieing to stay in, shipping your travel guide into the Kinabulu quest alone! Never going to happen though: think about it, only beer is around 15 Singaporean dollars here- it is really the place to base for too long??? Beside the shopping and expensive living, dinning and drinking, there is number of activities (if you’re not too sick of but the sound of this word yet) in Singapore! Chinatown, Little India and Kampong Glam are just lovely places to walk around; Singapore Zoo is worldwide known and is a must! An interesting way to have a better look around the town is to organize a tour with Singapore Paranormal Investigators, visiting the real places of real supernatural events (we’ve all seen The Grudge and know that people on that side of the world are taking the urban legends seriously).

Orchard Road is the central for the shopping, same as Heeren, where DVD’s are worth to spend a week for! There are also plenty of places in Little India where you can indulge your self into the DVD quest.

 

In a hunt for cheaper drinks we can hit the bars earlier- ‘happy hour’ for the drinks in most of the places is up until 9pm, and the hawker bars are quite cheap as well, plus it’s a must for experiencing the culture!

 

 

                    

Malaysian Borneo

 

Sabah and Sarawak are the two districts of Malaysian Borneo. Our flight from Singapore will lead us to Kota Kinabulu- capital of Sabah, but we hit the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park as soon as we land. Three best islands of this National Park- Manukan, Mamutik and Sapi- are our base locations for few days, all known for their coral reefs, beautiful beaches and superb camping sites! Here we wash the dust of Singapore, here we dwell and gather all the strength for our last and final quest: Mount Kinabulu! 

 

The highest mountain between the mighty Himalaya and New Guinea, Mt. Kinabulu rises 4101m above the Borneo- half the height of Mt Everest; it is going to be our path to ascend to the heavens, but, hopefully, not the ancestors! First of all, we get to the headquarters of Kinabulu National Park, where we get our permits, and the journey to the heavens begins here! Make sure you pack few warm clothes, as the weather conditions above can get as close to freezing, you will need a hat, gloves, proper shoes and a flees or better yet few with a jacket on top! On our first day of the climb, we take a minibus from the park headquarters to Timpohan Gate, the official trailhead. We have to make a 6km climb to reach the Loban Rata (3273m), the stopping point of the day. We hit the trail at the unbearably early hours of the next morning, to climb another 2.7km to the summit at Low’s Peak, ideally in time for sunrise! It is a dangerous path, the climb is uphill 99% of the way and the gradually thinning air strikes us with altitude sickness at around 3000m or even lower! Worry not, a licensed and experienced guide will be with us all this way, and hopefully, he won’t have any dark intentions as Gollum! You have but two forces pushing you forwards and up: divine Poring Hot Springs are waiting for you as soon as (well, nearly) you get down, at Renau, with steaming, sulphurous waters, channelling into pools and tubs, where you can relax your tired muscles after summiting the Mt Kinabulu and seconds- still the same very old reason of doing it all: you must have enough stories to tell your grandchildren!  

 

We can spend the night in Renau and decide there about our further adventures. No worries, nothing major left, just few more treks: we are after all heading into Sarawak, where the indigenous tribes dwell in the famous longhouses spread around the jungle.     

 

We can do overland trip from Sabah to Sarawak, visiting Gunung Mulu and Niah Caves National Parks, located in the middle of the country- places indeed worth visiting as they are well known for cavers all over the world, - or we can hit back to Kota Kinabulu, and get a flight straight to Kuching, the main-town of Sarawak. The decision will be made according to the time leftovers and the stage of our muscles.

 

Belaga is the town we have to reach- we will get out tours to the tribes longhouses organized here! It is an absolute MUST, and there’s plenty of information on that, you can read the book I have on the plane- Bruce Parry “Tribe”. We can also have a nice boat trip on the Betang Rejang River before or after that.

 

Kuching is going to be the end of Malaysia for us.

 

Depending on time we have left, we decide where we can head from here.

 

Is the time of the journey over?

Do we leave back to the doom of reality?

Do we have to take the last ship into the West, and leave these evergreen lands behind us?

Or do we stay and dwell here until the ending of our time???

 

Did I watch The Lord Of The Rings again? Yes, I did!

 

Just don’t ask me where we head after Kuching! Just don’t tell me where we must go back to after this adventure! I DON’T WANT TO!!! I know that now, even before the adventure has started! And who says we have to anyways??? We did quit the jobs, remember! We did abandon our apartments, remember! We are free! It’s only up to us, and the Kuching might be only the beginning of our next adventure!

 

 

Things of importance:

 

Money matters, personal belongings and other essentials:

 

 

  • Passport/ driving license/ other forms of ID;
  • Insurance policy with all the numbers. Also make sure you write down an emergency contact list on the back of it;
  • Few copies of your passport. Make sure to leave one or two copies with your family/friends at home- just in case. Never keep copies together with the original document, in case you loose it; photocopy of your tickets, credit cards;

·        At least 10 passport pictures for visas to the surrounding countries (Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei), as all of them provide on-the-spot visas, requiring 2-3 pictures;

  • Make sure you get heaps of small change in US dollars before the trip (1 and 5 notes are going to be the most common for tipping and shopping in markets, besides, a dollar bill will be a blessing getting rid of an annoying tout! Also have few (or more than a few) bills in 10 USD, those will be used paying for visas to other countries! N.B. Please make sure all dollars are of (and not older than) 2003, as older than that might not be useful.
  • Any (the more, the better) tipping for you trip guide is always appreciated!
  • Thinking money safety: consider getting travel cheques. Make sure to write down or copy the serial numbers of your travel cheques, in case you loose the original;  
  • Think reasonably: you’re going on major backpacking trip, visiting many countries, constantly being on the move, using public transport, doing plenty of activities: pack light! Do NOT pack anything you won’t be needing or you will be able to survive without. Don’t take your laptop; it is only going to be an extra weight when travelling, plus a potential lure for the thieves.
  • Make sure you have a money-belt or anything else of that sort. You will NOT be able to leave your credit cards or excessive cash bills in some hotels while doing an activity (plenty of travellers report credit cards etc going wandering from a hotel room while they’re doing a trek)  
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping mat;
  • Books to read, mp3 player for music, note- book and a pen, earplugs when trying to sleep in busy guesthouses in the major cities (if you will be the one partying, you can lend the earplugs for someone else; and by someone else I don’t mean my self, coz I’m going to be the first in the queues for the parties!);
  • Special drinking- water container or a camel- bag; tap water is not for drinking in Asia; therefore you have to stock your drinking water (or other fluids) supplies when travelling. Consider getting water purifying tablets;

 

 

Drugs and health matter:

 

  • Panadol (pain), Zirtek (itch/allergy), Dioralyte (dehydration, N.B. works wonders by hang-over; personally tested), Motilium (nausea, vomit)- that’s a must- have list of drugs; also make sure you have something against stomach pains, as we’re going to the countries where we going to be eating pancakes with fish- sauce; you can’t know the effects of that for your guts! Also: mosquito repellent!

 

Clothing and personal appearance:

 

 

  • Lightweight clothes, light- coloured, rain- jacket, fleece for cooler evenings, hiking/ trekking shoes, jungle boots, sandals, flip- flops, hat, swim-wear; you WON’T be needing your jeans nor denim jackets, so please, please!!! Grab a hat, gloves, pair of warm socks and a jacket for the Mt Kinabulu climb!   
  • You’re doing the trip on the “cool” season of the year, and north side of Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia are not going to be the tropical beach paradise you imagine it to be, the temperatures this time of year varies from 15 to 20 degrees C. Wear appropriate clothing.
  • Going east of Thailand the temperatures will be rising, when you finally reach Malaysia and Singapore, where 25- 30 degrees dominate throughout the whole year.
  • Do have a pair of smart (light travelling) clothes, and light shoes (but not sandals or flip- flops when visiting religious attractions. Feet have to be covered, since Thai people are considering feet as “dirties” and lowest part of human body.
  • Please wear smart even when on a beach- think respect for your guide!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That should cover your needs. All the other major travelling supplies will be available on the way, or- for a small fee- from your travel guide.  

 

 

 

johnyb66 says:
Great info. I have 3 weeks in Bangkok so this has been really informative and helpful..:)
Posted on: May 30, 2009
hannah-lou says:
Wow - would love to join if it werent for the fact ice just got back from a year in Europe.. pretty broke at the mo!! Have a great time, look fwd to reading about your travels!
Posted on: Nov 13, 2008
Jemalin says:
wow this is pretty details. You are definately organised.

Maybe catch you in Samui if our times correlate

:)
Posted on: Nov 12, 2008
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