Whatever anyone tells you before you go, there are just some things you will only ever learn (and might not want to experience again!) from travelling around Asia yourself…
1) 7-Eleven supermarket is an absolute gem! And their toasties are an amazing cheap lunch!
2) No form of travel or transport is ever just one journey – it’s usually about 7 car changes and 3 boats – and you’ll probably have to walk a bit through the sea, unless it’s between the bigger islands. And nothing is ever on time or organised (if there is a time on your ticket, just ignore it!)
3) Never, ever have drinks with ice (or let the ice melt in your drink) or free ‘drinking water’ which is given to you, unless you want to spend days on end in your hotel bed!
4) Nothing is ever free! Be prepared to be ripped off EVERYWHERE. But everything is so cheap that sometimes it’s okay!
5) It’s definitely okay to have Pad Thai for breakfast (and then lunch and dinner too)
6) Public transport is pretty awful – yes, it does work out slightly cheaper to do the 20 hour bus journeys or take an overnight sleeper train (and is a great authentic experience!) – but most of the time internal flights and international Asian flights are not that much more, saves a whole day or two of travelling and is a lot less hassle!
7) The beaches are the most beautiful and unspoilt in the world!
8) From a glance in your purse or wallet, you’ll think you’ve become a millionaire overnight! But you’ll spend most of your time working out how much everything is in your own currency (the exchange rates are so different in each country, it can get really confusing!)
9) Having said that, the Thai people are a lovely race and make you feel welcome wherever you go! They seem to enjoy the increase in tourism in their country and love to practise their English!
10) You can definitely leave things till the very last minute – there’ll always be a boat or a hostel or a tour the next morning, even if it’s midnight.
11) Public toilets are the absolute worst – never even expect toilet paper and if you have running water, let alone soap, you’re lucky!
12) It’s one of the best and cheapest places to try out lots of things – including scuba diving, snorkelling and full body massages!
13) Always, always barter (go in at about 50%) and if it doesn’t work, just walk away and wait for them to come after you…even though afterwards you’ll realise you were bargaining over 50p
14) It’s okay to have Macdonalds every so often (you will eventually get sick of rice, noodles and spring rolls)
15) And most importantly, it’ll probably be one of the best and most memorable travel experiences you’ll ever have!