Travel Tips: How to stay vigilant when travelling in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia is arguably the most popular region in the entire world with travellers. Boasting unparalleled natural beauty and swathes of culture throughout, there’s no reason to miss out travelling to SE Asia. But you’ll need to stay vigilant and look out for certain risks on your holiday. Here are some travel tips to keep you safe and secure during your Southeast Asian getaway.
Keep your belongings safe
Theft or the misplacement of their belongings is the most common problem one encounters while travelling in Southeast Asia. Be it because of their own negligence or an opportunistic local, it happens all too often. You need to be extremely vigilant in some cases.
Be sure to not flaunt your valuables in public spaces, as it will catch the attention of those who are looking. Invest in a cross-body bag; It might not be the most fashionable, but with a rise in cases of bag-snatching in the region it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Don’t head off the beaten track
Too often, tourists try and brave exploring remote locations without any help. It usually doesn’t end well. If you’re new to the area, don’t go alone. Ask locals and see if tour guides can take you to the places you want to visit. Sometimes travelling to remote locations can land you in dangerous situations, be treacherous terrain or unfriendly villagers who aren’t willing to welcome you.
A helpful trick is to tell someone you know where you’re heading, so that in the case of you getting lost, at least somebody knows where you are.
Trust the locals – to an extent
Although you shouldn’t shy away from the locals when travelling, make sure you don’t invest too much trust into them – for example, don’t leave your luggage or belongings with them. If these items go missing you won’t be able to claim for them, as echoed by TINZ.
If the locals recommend places to go, such as restaurants and bars, it’d be worth asking others or even Googling just to be sure it’s a reputable establishment. Some travellers have been tricked into visiting seedy and dangerous places under the recommendation of opportunistic locals.
Look out for traffic
Some of Southeast Asia’s roads are known as the most dangerous in the world. 478 people lost their lives in just one week in Thailand last year, the statistics almost unbelievable but incredibly sobering.
If you want to ride motorbikes, make sure you’re doing it legally. You need to have a license. Hire vehicles from reputable firms to ensure their safety. And, perhaps most importantly, brush up on the rules of the road in your destination – they can be as strange as they are necessary.
Don’t be tricked out of money
There are plenty of tricks and traps tourists commonly fall into when it comes to money. If you purchase something from a market, learn how to haggle. As soon as vendors realise you’re a traveller, they’ll likely hike the prices up to make the most of you.
Avoid taking taxis at all costs. Drivers often employ tactics such as broken meters and huge diversions in order to get more money out of you. Opt to walk or catch buses instead – they’re safer and cheaper.
Southeast Asia is beautiful. Just keep these travel tips in mind while travelling in the region and enjoy a safe holiday!