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First time over-seas, backpacking solo around S.E Asia!

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First time over-seas, backpacking solo around S.E Asia!

Hey guys,

In November i'm taking off on a 2-3 month trip around Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

I was wondering if any of you had done this sort of trip recently and could give me any advice on safer areas with a lot of hostels in the larger cities? Or just any advice to keep myself safe beside the obvious..?

Would really mean a lot to me :)


Singapore, Singapore
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1. Re: First time over-seas, backpacking solo around S.E Asia!

If you can squeeze out some time and budget, I suggest you to include Philippines.

It could be a little out of the way but since many people say Philippines is the "odd one out", you will experience something different from the rest of the countries in South East Asia.

Bloomington, Indiana
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2. Re: First time over-seas, backpacking solo around S.E Asia!

do you like doing tour groups? when i travel to new places or am by myself, they are a great way to meet people

London, United...
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3. Re: First time over-seas, backpacking solo around S.E Asia!

Hi hanaedgarjones

And welcome to the forum, fortunately next to Europe SE Asia is an area in the world that is already very well documented. You are travelling in November, which is a good time to start off in the region. The only thing that limits you in a place like that is your budget, imagination and time. But as Mousehunt has stated earlier if you have an opportunity to visit the Philippines it would make a good trip, on top of all the other useful advice given.

Travel tips I can share with you

Read Up: visit a library or nearest bookshop there are many books already out there from a wide range of different backgrounds. Have a look you should find something that suits your needs.

Getting Around: whether you are planning part of your journey by road, train or flying, plan it carefully. Due to the popularity of the region you will need to book ahead. Long gone are the days when you could wake up and decided to fly down south that afternoon. Fortunately, there are a number of budget options, which are ridiculously cheap, especially if you book ahead, compared to what we pay in Europe for our so called budget carriers.

Take a look at www.airasia.com for getting around the region, look for the seat sales but to note these do sell out fast. The last couple of times I was travelling in the region I actually purchased my internal flights on Air Asia long before I purchased my international flight.

For the trains www.seat61.com/Thailand.htm again you will have to book ahead otherwise you have to try standby. But it is worth making part of your journeys via the train.

Safety: Do as you would at home, whilst I am not sure where you are from, I would say with some common sense you should be safe. Personal safety in SE Asia is generally low risk, if you stick to the general tourist areas and do not go off track you should be fine. Hence the reason I say low risk, is because when something happens to a tourist it does make the international news. You are more likely to be at risk from fraud than anything else, this is why I suggest that you read up a travel guide that will typically map out all of the usual pitfalls to be aware.

Ask your hotel, speak to people at breakfast and ask them about what you are planning to do that day, other travellers do talk to one another. On my first trip to Thailand in 1987, one of my waitresses used to tell me and my Australian buddy, who I met on the flight over from London how to get about, and how much to expect to pay. You may expect to pay a bit more than locals for taxis, but this is no big deal. With other places I always made sure I got the receptionist to write down in local language, the address, so this way I didn’t have to find a taxi or Tuk Tuk that speaks English. By the way I did tip her at the end of my holiday with £5, which she said was too much, but I said she saved me more than that with all her useful advice.

Always carry your accommodation address of where you are staying, as it’s easy to get lost or confused. Many travellers, will have experienced a time when they have arrived at your hotel, gone out for a walk to stretch their legs and then forgot exactly where you are staying. Easily done when you typically stay in one chain and then in another city stay at another chain, and automatically walking into the hotel lobby and thinking what is wrong with this picture?

However, whilst it’s good to be aware of the prices of a Tuk Tuk or taxi cost and getting about the city, but don’t become too obsessed on prices. I recall one guy in Bangkok arguing with various Tuk Tuk drivers, during an unexpected down pour, for over 45 minutes over the fare, to go back to his hotel, but for the equivalent of what 20p (U$0.30 cents or €0.23c), but is this really worth all that effort over 20p?

Another example I knew this chap who used to stay part of the winter with his girlfriend in the Philippines, who would jump on the back of a jeepney to avoid paying out the full fare of seven Pesos (about 11p) guaranteed he didn’t have holiday insurance and the roads are not that great to be running in and out of traffic. You have to put things in prospective true every penny counts, but for your limited time you are on holiday, you want to enjoy yourself not counting pennies.

I hope this helps, enjoy your trip!

Hong Kong, China
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4. Re: First time over-seas, backpacking solo around S.E Asia!

Linking to a similar question asked on the forum recently.


Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: First time over-seas, backpacking solo around S.E Asia!

I back packed Vietnam about 2 years ago and it was the best thing I have ever done, the Vietnamese people are extemely welcoming and friendly. I started in Ho chi min city and stayed there for a bit, when going on any type of hourly tour, make sure you find out how much they charge per hour and get the complete price before agreeing to go.

I caught a train from ho chi min to nah trang, let me tell you, that was an experience all together but it was safe and well worth it. Then I stayed in nah trang for about 5 days. It was absolutely beautiful there, the beaches tours and views are very good. Try vin pearl island and dont miss going to the sailers club.... very good night spot!!

I then did a five day motorcycle tour to Hoi an! This with out a doubt was the high light of the trip and rediculously cheap. The adventure, sights, villages people were amazing.

I hope this helps......... Ragards Joe

6. Re: First time over-seas, backpacking solo around S.E Asia!

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