4 Safety Tips for Traveling in Southeast Asia

It may come as a surprise to you, but Southeast Asia is actually one of the safest regions to visit. It’s also one of the most alluring – with its untouched landscapes providing a traveler’s utopia, there’s no reason for you not to visit. Of course, there are still things you need to watch out for when holidaying in the tropics of the area, and these four tips are essential for staying safe.

Watch out for the insects!

Pest

Being of a typically tropical climate, Southeast Asia is home to some nasty pests that could carry risk of illness if you’re not careful. Mosquitoes in particular pose a threat of dengue fever, a debilitating flu-like illness that currently has no remedy. Thankfully it’s really unlikely that you’ll ever have to worry about contracting it, but it’s important you’re still taking precautions to be careful. Use insect repellent creams and sprays, cover your skin up when possible and sleep with a shield of mosquito netting in your bedroom to stop any nasty surprises in the night.

Motorbikes – wear a helmet

Motorbikes.jpg

In Southeast Asia, you’ll quickly find that a popular mode of transportation is via motorbike. Riders usually congest roads with the sheer number of bikes, and the driving laws in the region are probably laxer than what you’re used to at home – accidents are very common, and TINZ estimates that the cost of a hospital visit after a crash is over $5,000 in Vietnam. Make sure to wear a helmet and protective clothing should you decide to hop on a motorbike at any point, whether it be you driving or being driven. It will also obviously help if you know how to ride one already, but regardless, you’re going to have to have a license for it to be legal. Just be prepared for a much busier and more thrilling time on the roads than usual!

Watch out for the snatch and grab opportunists

Unfortunately, as many busy places do, there’s a fair few people looking for tourists who aren’t keeping their belongings as protected as they should be. There’s been multiple cases of “snatching and grabbing”, where a passer-by on a motorbike will take your bag, your phone or your camera from you if it’s not secured. Again, it’s very unlikely to happen, but it’s best to get yourself a cross-body bag so that it can’t be easily removed. Just be vigilant and careful of who’s around you, especially in a less-developed area. Usually the people of Southeast Asia are absolutely welcoming and friendly, but with any place in the world there’s a bunch of bad ones.

Know what you’re eating and drinking

Food

Are you good with spicy food? You’ll have to be when eating in Southeast Asia – chilies and spices are used in abundance when cooking, and so you’re going to want to ease your way into the cuisine when you first arrive. Starting off with a hot dish won’t do wonders for your health (or your stomach), so try something mild first! And, as always, don’t drink the tap water. In any country apart from your own it’s likely to not be good for you, so always carry bottled water with you and ask for it in restaurants. Do stay hydrated, though – Southeast Asia is warm and humid, and you’ll feel the effects if you’re not drinking enough.

And, most importantly, remember to have fun! As previously mentioned, Southeast Asia is one of the safest places on Earth to travel through and explore, with countless locations that you’ll be ticking off your bucket list. What are you waiting for?

Many thanks to Ellen Steward for this contributed post. 
Picture sources: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3

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