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Old 08.09.2009, 21:03
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South East Asia travel: What to bring?

Hi there, I just registered to this forum and I hope that I am using the right place to post this question...

The question is: What are the "must have" things for a two week trip in South East Asia (SEA)?
I am going with two friends in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia for 2 weeks in the beginning of October. The plan is to do major sight-seeing activities, some hiking in the north part of Thailand and maybe snorkelling in Bali.
We will be sleeping in middle class hotels.
As we are all Europeans that have never visited Asia we were wondering what are the "must have" or "must bring" things.

Thanks a lot for all your advices!
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Old 08.09.2009, 21:05
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Re: South East Asia travel: What to bring?

Hmm, Lonely Planet may have more tips, but I'd suggest earplugs; resistance to mosquitos; something kitschy from Switzerland as a gift to someone you're yet to meet and a healthy dose of take it easy, you're on holiday. Buona Vacanza
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Old 08.09.2009, 21:18
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Re: South East Asia travel: What to bring?

Well, just some clothes and anything that you absolutely wanted with you e.g. Camera, swimming costume and flip-flops. The truth is, you can buy just about anything that you forgot and absolutely wanted to have for travel. In fact, save some room for shopping cause you won't believe how relatively cheap everything is compared to Switzerland! Kuala Lumpur cheaper than Singapore and probably Thailand for branded luxury goods e.g Prada, Channel etc. Otherwise, Thailand, I've heard is very good for branded goods.

Cheapest 5 star in the world is in Kuala Lumpur so I suggest you splurge there for hotel if you wanted to try something more than a middle class hotel.
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Old 08.09.2009, 22:57
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Re: South East Asia travel: What to bring?

Hi, having lived in Singapore for four years and travelled to all the places you are intending to visit I hope I can offer you some advice.

When it rains in Singapore it pours! If you think you have seen heavy rain you have been mistaken. When it rains it very rarely rains for more than one hour so you simply just stay out of the rain. No need for a waterproof jacket - it is simply too hot. It can be raining one minute and bright sunshine the next. You do not often get clear blue skies - it is often cloudy and always around 30 degrees plus with 90 percent humidity. As worldtraveller mentioned, Singapore is cheap compared to Switzerland and you can get everything there. Cold Storage is the equvilent of Migro's. I would pack a small mini fan and a small fold up umbrella in your case and carry it with you at all time just in case. There is also I high fatality rate for strikes from lightening. Stay out of the rain for at least ten minutes after the last clap of thunder.

Eating out: Food is cheap, drinks are expensive. Do not tip Service and GST (goods & Service Tax) are included in the bill. The government actively discourage tipping. Only tip for exteptional service. Taxi's are a good way of getting around, very cheap but if you book before you get additional charges. If you travel late at night make sure you keep an eye on the driver so he doesn't fall asleep! The MRT is a good way of travel if you can cope with the heat of getting to the station. All carriages are air-conditioned. As a tourist some of the places to visit to eat and drink are: New Asia Bar (Top of The Swiss Hotel The Stamford) amzing views and party atmosphere, Clarke Quay - loads of bars and air-conditioned streets!, Tanglin Village (Dempsey Road), Robertson Quay. If you like a curry I recommend Mathu's on racecourse Road or Banana Leaf apollo a few doors down in Little India.

Places to visit: The Night Safari is a must and very much recommended. The Singapore flyer (feris wheel) is good to do but you need a clear day, do not pre book just turn up. If you like Horse racing, Singapore Turf club is worth a visit and very upmarket. Chinatown and Little India are great if you are interested in seeing Singapore how it was maybe 50 years ago. Shopping on Orchard Road. If you are there on a Sunday try on of the Sunday brunches with free flow champayne for about 90 SGD. A trip on a boat along clarke quay is also good fun. And not forgetting a Singapore Sling at the famous Raffles Hotel! Sentosa!

Thailand, Indonesia and Bali are very similar in weather conditions and temperature but all with a better sea breeze. Malaysia is lovely but the road conditions are poor to if you are driving be careful and if you are going on a coach make sure it is with a respectable company. Also be aware of over loaded boats in all of the country. You are getting near to the Monsoon Season so don't expect super weather. I have never known it to rain non-stop for weeks so you should be ok.

A trip to Bintan (Indonesia) is well worth it. It is a 50 minute ferry from Singapore and is Heaven. Very basic, very cheap but quiet, good snorkelling and white sandy beaches!

I found Bali disappointing, and security at the airport is a nightmare (understandably) but enough to put me off for life. Have you booked yet? Koh Samui and Langkawi are great for Snorkelling?

Make sure you have your injections beofre you go, I cannot remember what you need but check with the doctor. Also make sure you always wear Insect Repellent as Dengue Virus is in Asia. It is carried by the Andes Mosquito and can be serious. SG Johnsons do a really good sweat resistant / waterproof insect repellant called "Off!" it is fantastic, you can buy it from Cold Storage. Also a supply of Charcoal tablets just in case you get a dicky tummy! The water is safe to drink in Singapore but only drink bottled water in the other coutries. I would also avod salad stuff unless you are eating in a decent hotel.

After a year away from Singapore I am returning to Singapore on 25th September for a 3 week holiday just in time for the grand prix so I will be there when you are. I hope you have a great time and I hope this information has helped you.

Don't forget to have travel insurance!

Have fun
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Old 08.09.2009, 23:05
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Re: South East Asia travel: What to bring?

Get to a Thai paradise island before electricity and backpackers do:

http://www.kohjumonline.com/

(Taken from my bungalow balcony...)
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Old 08.09.2009, 23:10
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Re: South East Asia travel: What to bring?

Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia sounds a bit much for 2 weeks, i have to say, lot of travelling, not enough time to see the places..but as it is your first trip then sure, you should at least get some idea and can always go back later. Bring a good guide book and as others have said, don't pack much, you can buy absolutely everything and more there. PS go to the hawker centre in little india market in Singapore, they have the best Banana Prata.
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Old 08.09.2009, 23:24
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Re: South East Asia travel: What to bring?

I also forgot to mention if you like Hawker food try Newton Circus & La Pa Sat - Dishes approx 4-6 dollars a dish! Great for trying!
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Old 08.09.2009, 23:36
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Re: South East Asia travel: What to bring?

Yeah. Street food is great. Just make sure it's cooked fresh and in front of you and is popular with the locals too. Which leads me to buying something just in care you get Dehli belly (diarrhoea).
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Old 08.09.2009, 23:56
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Re: South East Asia travel: What to bring?

Hi,
I spent 2 years in Thailand and a year in Brunei, so may be able to offer some advice too.
As has been said, avoid taking many clothes since you can buy the right kind for the weather out there.
However, if you are a largish size (foot or clothing) you should bring some decent footwear (probably walking thongs, but also some lightweight walking boots) and shorts.
Highly recommend exploring northern Thailand - Elephant camps and hill tribes around Pai.
Chiang Mai very freindly and a great night market.
If you are staying anywhere for more than a few days I'd recommend not booking accommodation - better to find your own when you arrive. Always haggle (accom, taxis, anything else) - aim to agree on about half the asking price and you'll both be happy.
If you buy branded clothing in many places in SEA bear in mind that it is not always the same brand as the tag says!!
Good luck and enjoy.
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Old 09.09.2009, 10:21
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Re: South East Asia travel: What to bring?

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Hi,
However, if you are a largish size (foot or clothing) you should bring some decent footwear (probably walking thongs, but also some lightweight walking boots) and shorts.
.
Good point. And be prepared that even if you are size S in Europe, you would likely need size L or XL there. Ah I still remember the shop assistant in Bangkok: "Big madam, this way..." Oh, and careful with buying cosmetics there, everything, even the brands you know, is whitening. Even deodorants.
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Old 09.09.2009, 10:39
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Re: South East Asia travel: What to bring?

I always pack a box of Smecta on such trips. Every morning before breakfast we mix a sachet up with a small bottle of mineral water and that seems to protect against food poisoning. We've travelled to Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and throughout the Middle East without a single instance of food poisoning despite eating a lot of street food.
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Old 09.09.2009, 13:50
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Re: South East Asia travel: What to bring?

All that in two weeks ? take a comfy travel pillow cos thats all you are going to be doing..
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Old 09.09.2009, 13:56
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Re: South East Asia travel: What to bring?

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Thailand, Indonesia and Bali are very similar in weather conditions and temperature but all with a better sea breeze.
<cough>Clearly you know that Bali is an Island and also a province which is part of Indonesia ?</cough>

Is Bali the only place you visit in Indonesia ?
For sure you need more time to spend there...

Bali nowadays is very touristic place..., but if you like that , that's okay too...

Indonesia consists of more than 300 different Suku Bangsa (i.e. ethnics), more than 200 diff. languages, not mentioning the food .

So my first tip should be :
extend your trip in Indonesia...!

Ollie

Last edited by Ollie; 22.09.2009 at 16:23.
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Old 09.09.2009, 14:08
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Re: South East Asia travel: What to bring?

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I also forgot to mention if you like Hawker food try Newton Circus & La Pa Sat - Dishes approx 4-6 dollars a dish! Great for trying!
Lau Pau Sat yes, but Newton is a rip-off for tourists, don't bother. Singapore has so many cheaper, better places to eat ..
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