10. Know your exchange rates
Knowing exchange rates of your countries money value compared to your intended destination very important; leading to successfully bartering down a great souvenir or being ripped off.
Exchange rates can be hard to figure out so I would recommend a currency converter; quickly calculating the worth of the foreign currency to your own currency which can be found here.
9. Accomodation in social hubs
Airbnb is an accomodation service in which people are able to rent out their houses to tourists in unique spots in the country they live in. Most Airbnb houses are cheaper than the average hotel and offer home appliances that hotels don’t such as; ovens, laundry machines, fire places and sometimes transport.
Airbnb encourages travellers to not just go there, ‘live there‘.
Book your accomodation at Airbnb
8. The Do’s and Don’ts
As Southeast Asian countries are conservative and generally follow Buddhism tourists who are travelling to rural areas should be advised to dress in a non provocative way as it may attract negative attention if they show inappropriate amounts of flesh.
Customs are to be respected; one custom in particular is paying money with two hands and receiving change with two hands. This shows that you respect your transaction and are thankful for the service you’ve been provided with.
“Although people in Southeast Asia are extremely tolerant and forgiving and blessed with a gentle religion and an easygoing approach to life, visitors would do well to observe proper social customs to avoid embarrassment and misunderstanding.”
Find out more at this address.
7. What is it worth?
Bartering is a verbal exchange of the price that the customer is willing to pay for a object with the shop keeper’s preferred price of sale. The objects for sale are usually placed at a higher price than they are willing to sell it for; this is why it is important to know the exchange rates.
Typically, to get a good deal, start at 50% of the price propositioned and you will usually end up at paying 70% of the price. Just remember that if bartering in South East Asia the price is a lot less than what you would pay in a western country and they are living in a third world country that needs the money.
Some useful bartering tips can be found on this website.
6. Getting around
There are many means of transport in South East Asia ranging from aeroplanes to trains to tuk tuks.
For long range travel the train system is a cheap option that gives you a local experience. The train from Hue to Hanoi is a beautiful trip through the Vietnamese countryside with the highest ticket price at $57.00.
For a fast, cheap and cultural transport experience around the local area – a tuk tuk is the way to go.
Find out alternative transport in South East Asia at this website.
5. The must see’s
There are many websites with ‘must see attractions’ in South East Asia but this website was the best in my opinion.
I myself would recommend seeing Ta Prohm, the tree temple in Cambodia where nature has taken over the architecture built in the 12th Century.
4. Exciting Cuisine
To get an insight into asian culture a lot of food must be consumed. Morning Glory is an amazing restaurant in Hoi An described as excellent by over 5,000 consumer’s.
3. Speaking to, not at
Most people of Asian descent know basic English because it is the common tongue in the current society. When communicating with people who are local to the foreign country you are traveling in, be direct and respectful and understand you are a visitor in their country.
2. Spiritual Existence
There are different festivals celebrated throughout South East Asia as there are different religions followed, although the main religion is buddhism.
Chinese New Year is a major celebration that occurs all across South East Asia for 15 days with the most recommended place to celebrate being in Hanoi, Vietnam
1. Carpe Diem
A great way to gain a unforgettable experience in another country is to contribute and aid the community in some way. This can be done through charities like the Tabitha Foundation and Sail Vega both of which take volunteers.
A short video produced by the Australian International School in Singapore shows a charitable group working on an orphanage in Vietnam.