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5 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Southeast Asia


Southeast Asia is one of the best places to travel for people of all ages. With its beautiful tropical beaches and never-ending landscapes, this is a place you must travel at least once in your life. The best part of all? Southeast Asia is extremely cheap and you can get five-star hotels for $100 in cities throughout this region. Here’s what you need to know before you go.

Unlock your cell phone and buy a sim card

When you first arrive in Southeast Asia, one of the most important things you’ll need is a fully-functioning phone. This allows you to better navigate your surroundings and find new spots along the way with a quick Google search. Getting a sim card is very affordable all over Southeast Asia from Bali to Thailand and everywhere in between. For as little as $10 you can get around 4GB of data that lasts 30 days. In order for the SIM cards to actually work in your cell phone, you need to get your phone unlocked with your carrier before you leave. This usually costs around $50 if it’s tied to a certain carrier, but  well worth it — especially if you travel often.

Bring a filtered water bottle on your travels

Whether you’re on day trips or just out exploring Southeast Asia, having access to fresh, filtered water is key. Unlike most places across North America, you cannot drink water from the tap and staying hydrated is important — especially because of the hot, tropical climate. Travel water bottles with a filter built in like the Katadyn BeFree Microfilter with Hydrapak 0.6 L Flask will be a lifesaver during your adventures. If you’re running low, you can refill these bottles with tap water or even river water while out in nature — you’ll be able to quench your thirst while avoiding foreign bacteria and parasites.

Research transportation options around your Asia destination

From taxis to Uber and Go Jek — these are just a few of the transportation options located in Southeast Asia. Researching what options are available is helpful so that you’ll be prepared and save time. Some airports will not have reliable wifi once you arrive, so knowing ahead of time what your options are for getting to and from the airport is a life-saver. Go Jek is an extremely cheap way to get around in places like Bali and the Philippines and is a quarter of the price of taxis.


Pro-tip: In countries where they offer tuk tuks, remember you’ll be paying a premium for this tourist experience. If you’re trying to get from point A to point B, hail a cab — and if you’re in Thailand, make sure you remind the driver to turn on the meter to avoid paying a lot of extra bacht. This is a popular scam.

Leave room in your suitcase

There is no shortage of fantastic markets full of clothes and so much more in Southeast Asia. Leaving room in your suitcase is a must if you want to pick up some fabulous finds. Small airlines in Asia are very picky sometimes about suitcase weight and often charge a lot for overages. To avoid having to pay more, leaving room for the new clothes you’ll buy will save you in baggage fees later on.

Pro-tip: You won’t need much in Southeast Asia, so if you’re able to pack light — aim to travel with just a carry-on or backpack.

Bring a small backpack for day trips

Day trips are a great way to see different parts of the country you’revisiting. Bringing a small backpack will be very useful in these situations  — one big enough to fit water, sunscreen, a change of clothes and a towel. A lot of day trips in places like Bali or the Philippines could involve swimming so it’s always best to be prepared and bring everything you need!

Laura Reid for Slice

Laura Reid blends both information and entertainment into humorous skit videos to provide people with solutions to everyday problems. Her Youtube videos often follow her around the world as she travels to different countries. Find her on Instagram @laurareidd.


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