Category Archives: Southeast Asia

How to Get Around Southeast Asia

Worrying about getting around a new place can be stressful. Read this guide to alleviate your transportation anxiety and learn some tips.

Local Transportation:

Depending on where you are there are endless options to get around. I found Bangkok, Thailand to be a transit friendly city. The bus, ferry, BTS Skyline, and MRT Subway all have set fares while other cities may take a little bit more negotiating.   

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Bangkok – Monkey Nap

The Monkey Nap was the first hostel I ever stayed in. Not just in Asia but in the entire world. The catchy name and pictures of smooth crisp linens reeled me in. I arrived completely unprepared and without a reservation at 1 in the morning. The desk attendant was a bit new and confused as to whether there was an available bed or not. It took about a half an hour to sort it out and ultimately she found an available space in the 6 bed girls only dorm room. I was very grateful to have a place to sleep but a little unnerved that the attendant didn’t know if there was space or not. The beds were just as comfortable as they had looked in the pictures and each one had a roll down curtain for privacy which I now consider a bit of a luxury feature in Southeast Asian hostels. Additionally there is an outlet and a light in every sleeping space. Lockers were provided and there was adequate space for personal items. The bathroom and shower stalls were kept clean and tidy during my stay. I never saw any sign of bed bugs, pests, or the cockroaches that plague Bangkok in the week that I stayed there.

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Etiquette, Safety, and Scams in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is comprised of 11 countries with varying cultures and laws. The following guide(s) highlight some of the more common aspects between most of the countries but follow up for specific country information is highly suggested.

Behavioral Etiquette

Before you arrive study up on local laws, banned items, and customs for each individual country you are visiting. You probably didn’t know that chewing gum is illegal in in Singapore and can cost you $1,000 USD on your first offense. Some of the common courtesies and behaviors in Southeast Asia are not as obvious to Westerners. Here are some common behaviors you should avoid in Southeast Asia:

Take off your shoes.

If you see a line of shoes outside of a door, remove yours and place them in the row. You should never wear your shoes into someone’s home and many businesses will require you to remove them as well. And while we’re on that…

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Bangkok: Part One

Day 1

I Love Bum Spray!

My initial arrival was filled with worry. I was weirded out that the airport wifi demanded I put in my passport number and was reluctant to enter it in case it was a scam. Half of my SEA prep consisted of reading up on local scams. I hadn’t prepared well. I hadn’t prepared at all actually. I had done a lot of reading but hadn’t bothered to book a hostel or research public transportation. A traveling companion I had yet to meet in real life was already in town but it was midnight and the check in desk at his hostel was closed. There was a large hotel across the street from the airport. It screamed money. After a lot of back and forth with my brain I decided to try to get into the Monkey Nap Hostel that I had been browsing earlier on Agoda. It was more affordable than the place he was staying, looked clean, and had good reviews. This was to be one of the best decisions I’d make.

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The Changover

So let me tell you about Changovers. It’s a term that Guy introduced me to. His name was actually Guy, I’m not slacking here. I thought it was a joke that he made but when I googled Chang it was the first thing that came up. I had been wondering why I was getting buzzed so easily when in tiny lettering the bottle stated that the beer was only 5.5% ABV. Of course I was drinking the larger ones.

There are three main beers you will encounter in every bar. Chang, Leo, and Singha. Chang in my opinion is the least flavorful and what I drank the most of initially. It’s similar in taste to a Pabst Blue Ribbon or a Budweiser but less pissy and goes down smoothly. Singha is the most hoppy somewhat resembling an IPA. Leo falls somewhere in between and over time has become my favorite.

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