© 2011 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. Chungking Mansions of Hong Kong, China.

Travel tips and tricks – Part 3

Hello and welcome…

This is part three of our top tips for travelling which we learnt whilst on our first five months away in Asia. Not long now until we head off to Los Angeles USA for some yoga teaching training workshops and exploration of Venice Beach. New travelling posts will start appearing in August. Here’s part 3 of 3! We hope you find something useful…

Whilst on our travels we heard tales of survival and health remedies from lots of fellow comrades and we wanted to share the hints, tips and advice that we now take for granted. Part 3 of 3!

Bus Journeys!
Throughout your travels you will travel overland using buses, as these are a great way to see the country and also save some pennies as they are normally cheaper than trains and definitely planes! Vietnam has a good value ticket that allows you to travel the whole length of this surprisingly long country. This open ticket allows you to choose from a selection of places along the way you might want to stop at and then jump back on and head to the next destination.

We went from north to south (Hanoi, (Hue – a few hours stop over waiting for the next bus), Hoi An, Nha Trang, Mui Ne, Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City) for $49 USD. You give them 24 hours notice and if the bus isn’t full then you can normally get a seat for the following day! The ticket is valid for three months.

From our experience in many places in South East Asia buy the cheapest ticket that you find. There may be two options for a slightly better “VIP”/”King of Buses” bus, but at most times you will buy a ticket and no matter the price from various sales offices you will be on the same bus as everyone else! Bus journeys that advertise breakfast included – Avoid!! Also your ticket does not guarantee you a seat, sometimes when the bus is oversold or they ram the bus with locals, you may end up sitting in the aisle on a plastic stool or your backpack!

We did not have any issues whilst travelling through Japan, China, Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos. Common sense will get you through most situations without too much fuss. Thailand, relatively well off in financial terms compared to some of the other countries, was the only place we had a problem. At Surat Thani, where you get a short bus journey to the port to access Koh Pha-Ngan, Ko Samui and To Tao islands, the bus drives suspiciously slowly and when we got to the port we realised that our backpacks in the underneath luggage hold had been tampered with.

Confrontation of the bus driver, assistant (thief) and port staff just made them all do a vanishing act and loose all memory of the English language. On the boat across to the islands we learnt of other peoples fate, £200 missing and a gold ring missing! Luckily our bags had padlocks and any valuables were in smaller backpacks which we kept with us at all times. A document wallet which goes around your waist keeps passports and money safe.

Exactly the same happened on the way back after we had visited the islands, same bus driver and two assistants this time. Be careful and don’t leave anything expensive in your main backpacks when they are separated from you.

Hiring a scooter.
Make sure that your insurance covers you for the power of the scooter as it can be less than 125cc only etc. Also make sure that you wear a helmet and follow all the rules of the road and local laws. Scooters are a great way to travel around the local area, although we did see lots of people in bandages and hobbling around so be careful.

The only issue that we had was during TET, Lunar New Year in Vietnam, when we got pulled over by the police. No speeding, helmets on heads and driving safely we proceeded to stop when instructed to. The bike was impounded with the reason that the UK licence was not appropriate and we should have a Vietnamese licence (all excuses under the sun come out)! We had to walk back to the hostel luckily only about 3km.

We soon learnt that three weeks before TET and two weeks afterwards the police stop lots of people and impound bikes to basically get beer money. Lots of people were driving around, we were just one of the unlucky ones. Frustrating at a $50 USD fine which we split $25 each with the owner of the bike!

Mosquito Net.
A simple one this but take your own net that can stretch over a double bed, lots of provided nets have holes and tears in which most mosquitoes will find!

Re-hydration… (Tip from Corinne Walker)
It is possible to make your own rehydration solution. Put four teaspoons of sugar and one teaspoon of salt in one litre of water. It is very easy to do and the ingredients are easily accessible from almost any guesthouse. (Good for a hangover cure too!)


Part 1 is here! Part 2 is here! Do you have any top tips? Comment below or drop us an email and we can add your suggestions to this post.

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