South East Asia: Useful (k)nowledge

This is I hope a continuation of some useful tips from the post on Backpacks and other stuff. This will hopefully give an idea of what we thought we needed, how much it was and what turned out to be useful and what didn’t. Who knows maybe it will help someone who is also planning to go on a similar trip.


  • Vaccines – before travelling to SE Asia we have visited Travel Nurse at the local GP and asked a lot of questions but after all; considering that we were planning to go to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia & Singapore she suggested the following: Tetanus, Polio, Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Typhoid.  We didn’t have to pay for any of these.

Would we take it again? – Definitely! Partially thanks to these we didn’t have any major health problems.

  • Malaria tablets – our Travel Nurse advice was to use either Malarone or Doxycycline and only for the time that we are in the region of high risk (which was mainly Laos for us). Tough choice but after a lot of debating we have decided to go with own brand Malarone. We found the cheapest one at ASDA at £1.25 a tablet. Why? A few main reasons:
    • Malarone has fewer side effects then Doxy and was designed specifically for Malaria, while Doxy is an antibiotic that works on Malaria;
    • We didn’t want to be on an antibiotic for that long and with Doxy, you have to take it for up to a month after you leave the high-risk area, Malarone for a week;
    • Malarone prevents but also kills the malaria parasites while they are still in the liver before they get into the bloodstream, which sounds good.

Would we take it again? – Well… would take Doxy probably. We took Malarone in Laos as recommended and had a number of hilarious side effects so severe that we had to see a doctor there and stop using it altogether. 

  • Insect repellent – right, so I’ve got sweet blood or so they say, i get bitten by insects a lot… and I mean a lot! So i’m going to buy the best DEET protection possible! I’m thinking about 50% DEET… for up to 10 hrs… should do.

Would we take it again? – Totally! But would go with a lower 30% DEET not more and spray it more often. 50% is very toxic, it melted my camera belt!!!



We’ve used Skyscanner & Kayak mainly and bought a ticket on Boxing Day from Travel Trolley. Obviously the cheapest flight was to Bangkok so we’ve got returned tickets for about £430 each. It costed us about £100 each to get return ticket so we did that but we shall see how things play out.

Would we do it again? – Yes! But do a good research to find the cheapest option! Travel Trolley was very helpful especially when we had to reschedule our flight to extend our stay in SE Asia from 3 to 5 months. We still had to pay extra £200 but booking completely new tickets would cost us over £400 extra.

Insurance – InsureAndGo


Choosing the right Backpackers Insurance took us literally ages!!!! We’ve actually read through the Ts & Cs of 3 chosen polices… ok Jake did. We’ve looked at the hazardous activities and what cover is provided for each, the amount of the cover for personal liability, medical and other expenses etc. Took us two months to decide but we’ve settle for the Backpacker Silver with the excess waiver for about £240 for just over 100 days. We can extend it if we will stay longer. Hopefully we won’t be testing how good the insurance is 🙂

Would we do it again? – Yes! They were helpful over the phone on couple of occasions when we were traveling, we have also filed a few claims afterwards, no questions, no calls and in about a month or two we have received all the money we claimed for (not a huge amount but still it worked out more or less what we have paid for the insurance to start with). 



We will probably book first few nights in Bangkok (probably on the Khao San Road) but nothing booked yet.

 Would we do it again? – No! Don’t ever live anywhere close to Khao San Road! It’s noisy, turisty and we got scammed there 🙂 We’ve used Agoda mainly (which is fantastic for finding places to stay in SE Asia but maybe not so much in other parts of the world), Booking (for all the other parts of the world) and Airbnb (mainly for States but also for everywhere in the world). Occasionally Trivago to compare the prices. 

Any other things?


Yes! We loved our Lonely Planet Southeast Asia on a Shoestring guide that I received as my leaving gift (do get the latest edition it’s worth it!). We’ve also used number of blogs for advice on specific places. The two that we used the most often are Travelfish and Nomadic Matt – plenty of good, valuable information! We will be using Lonely Planet for the USA road trip as well.

We’ve used all the way! We’ve tried Google Offline maps but they weren’t very reliable, worked all the time!

Plus at the end of the trip we’ve exported all the points on the map and created this lovely map of our journey.

If you would like to see what backpacks we used and what other gear we took with us, see the Backpacks and other stuff to find out more.

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