The Halfway Mark- What We've Learned So Far

by Ally Stevens

This Savvi blog post is featured from Ally's blog SpreadSomeSun.  Her tips are spot on and oh-so Savvi - Enjoy!

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Four weeks in and we've already learned so much! Here's a little list of what our time spent in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam has taught us.

Accomodation

  • Staying in a $3/night guest house can be humbling and a good way to save money (don't expect to have many amenities though)
  • Try to stay in places with free breakfast, it's super convenient and can cut your costs and time
  • None of the showers in Asia have curtains, the shower and toilet are basically in one big room
  • The front desk staff is normally extremely helpful and will answer all your questions and help you book tours/transportation
  • Try to pack the night before if you're leaving early in the morning so you don't wake up your roomies
  • Don't expect your laundry to come back the same color or size it was when you gave it to them (don't bring anything you aren't willing to part with)
  • If it's raining, your laundry will take significantly longer and potentially come back damp
  • There is no easier way to meet friends than in a hostel

Food

  • The majority of the time, the restaurants with plastic chairs and tin tables have the best, most authentic food
  • Research the native food prior and then order all of the different local specialities at each meal
  • Stepping out of your comfort zone is good... I never thought I liked Asian food but now I love it!
  • You don't need to go to the top restaurant on trip advisor for good food
  • When you look up places prior, don't expect them to be there, apparently restaurant turnover is big over here too!
  • Look for a spot with a lot of locals
  • Beware ordering western food because you may end up getting a pizza with carrots and baby corn on it or nachos with ketchup instead of salsa

Travel

  • Sometimes no plan is good! Our favorite days have been just riding around on motorbikes taking in the beautiful scenery and stopping when we please
  • Always carry around toilet paper
  • et accustomed to weird smells
  • Clothes aren't dirty until they smell bad
  • Don't let rain change your plans (plastic ponchos are very useful)
  • Overnight buses are terrifying but effective
  • Be a defensive walker when crossing the streets but walk with a purpose, don't hesitate, the motorbikes will weave around you
  • Apparently you don't need outlet converters in Asia, we haven't used ours once
  • You'll get the best price if you bargain
  • The locals love when you try speak their language
  • You might get a weird rash or a stomach virus but carry on, it happens to everyone
  • Take care of your cuts
  • Always add 2-3 hours to your expected travel time (don't be surprised when you stop a million times to pick people up or hangout at a gas station for an hour)
  • Traffic laws (or any laws really) don't seem to exist much over here
  • Know when to dress appropriately (shoulders/knees covered)
  • Border crossings can be extremely sketchy and nerve wracking, just make sure to be aware of your surroundings
  • No matter what, you can always make friends with other travelers
  • Learn to laugh it off, more times than not, things won't go as planned but that's not always a bad thing!
  • Have no expectations
  • Don't over research/plan- booking as you go allows for much more flexibility
  • You can have the most fun just waking around without a plan
  • Everywhere has wifi, no need to buy a sim
  • Chill days are valuable too, you need time to recoup
  • You never know what you're gonna get with a $2 massage
  • Different becomes your new normal
  • Even with a language barrier, every human understands a smile

I can't wait to see what the next 4 weeks will bring! Sending love to everyone back in the US xo