Most visitors to Asia (Bhutan, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, The Maldives) require a valid Tourist Visa, which may be obtained from your nearest consulate of that country. When you book your holiday in Asia with us, we will send you the relevant visa information you require for each country you are visiting.
Health & Insurance
In general, visit your local general practitioner for information and routine shots for foreign travel including vaccines for influenza, chickenpox (or varicella), typhoid, hepatitis-A, yellow fever, polio, malaria, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR), and diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT). Immunization against hepatitis, cholera, tetanus, rabies, typhoid and dengue may be in order. In addition to the others, vaccinations against Japanese B encephalitis, tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended in Myanmar.
We also recommend carrying mosquito repellents as malaria can be contracted very easily in several parts of South-East Asia.
We highly encourage you to purchase travel insurance for your trip.
What To Pack
As a rule of thumb, visitors need to keep in mind that many South-East Asians are conservative in their dressing. Western clothing is acceptable and is worn by many, but in modest fashion. However while visiting shrines and religious places, visitors are recommended not to wear shorts, mini-skirts, vests, tank tops etc. Your knees and shoulders must be covered.
The most convenient footwear to bring are sandals, flip-flops and comfortable walking shoes that can be taken off easily. Although it is acceptable to wear shoes when walking in the compound of the temple, you would be required to take them off before you enter the chapel where the main Buddha image is placed. Slip-on shoes or sandals are useful for visits to pagodas or people’s houses, as you’ll save time taking your shoes on and off.
One should also avoid t-shirts or tops with images of Buddha, which is considered highly disrespectful.
When observing modesty in dress, also keep in mind that modest behavior will also be appreciated as public displays of affection, even between spouses are considered in bad taste in much of the continent.
Packing for a trip to Asia can be a challenging task, and depends on where you plan to be visiting. Check with your Trip Coordinator if you have any doubts.
Out & About
It is always a good idea to enquire first with your tour guide about the dress codes (if any) of the places you will be visiting before you set out.
Except in some places, photography is generally allowed every where. Ask for permission before taking photographs of temples, objects, and people. People generally have no objection to be photographed, however if someone objects, a visitor should abstain right away. Entrance tickets of places of sightseeing in general cover charges for photography, recording and parking.
You have full liberty to visit monasteries, monuments and places that interest you – your journey isn’t a ‘guided’ tour that you must adhere to. It is advisable to discuss your likes and preferences with your trip coordinator or tour escort before you set out for the day.
Please carry a couple of bottles of water while sight-seeing. Be mindful of your time in the sun and apply sunscreen lotion, as the weather can get hot during the summer months.
Don’t give to street beggars, no matter how hard it might be to refuse. Criminal mafias who profit from their misery enslave most beggars. If you want to give, a registered charity is the best choice. Avoid buying souvenirs and gift items from ‘touts’ in and around monuments. In case you do like something, please ask your Local Guide to help you bargain and pay the right amount.
It is difficult to pin down the best time to visit Asia weather-wise because of the wide range of climatic factors.
Your Travel Consultant can provide you with more detailed weather information depending on the season and the specific destinations you choose to visit.
Besides US Dollar, British Pound and Euro, many other currencies can be exchanged but some smaller destination currencies may have difficulty. Refer to www.google .com/finance/converter for the most up to date exchange rates.
The best exchangeable currency is the US dollar, although the Euro is widely accepted. Some other currencies can also be exchanged but perhaps with some difficulty and mostly in bigger cities and tourist centres. Vietnam’s unofficial currency is the US$ Dollar. Carrying a suitable amount of petty change enough for tips, in markets and for transport is recommended– about 50 UK Pounds / 70 USD is quite sufficient.
Whenever changing money, check every note. Do not accept any ripped notes, notes with marks and notes that are old as these may not be accepted as payment elsewhere. Remember, you must present your passport whenever you change currency.
To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveler’s cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling. Remember, you must present your passport whenever you change currency or travelers checks.
Cash & Credit/Debt Cards
Direct payment of cash is most popular in South East Asia.
Small shops, restaurants and markets usually do not accept any other payment. Major credit cards (such as Visa, Master Card and to some extent American Express) are increasingly being used, especially in big cities and tourist places, but only in restaurants, hotels or big shopping malls with a transactional fee (3%-5%).
Carrying a suitable amount of petty change enough for tips, in markets and for food, drinks and shopping is recommended.
International transfers can be received via moneychangers affiliated with Money Transfer or Western Union. Please note that a hefty fee is often added to the transaction. To collect cash, you will need your passport and the name and reference number of the person who sent the funds.
Travelers’ checks are an easy method of carrying money around, and can be cashed at major banks (but not small banks in small towns).
Always keep a record of the checks’ serial numbers separate from your checks, along with the proof-of-purchase slips, and encashment vouchers. To replace lost travelers checks, you need the proof-of-purchase slip and the numbers of the missing checks (some places require a photocopy of the police report and a passport photo).
Travel adapters are a good idea to carry, especially if arriving from the USA/Canada/South America.
If you wish to have a cell phone at your disposal during the course of your trip then you can request your Trip Coordinator, driver, or tour escort to help you locate a mobile phone shop selling prepaid SIM cards. In addition you would have to purchase minutes for usage and the SIM card usually takes 24-48 hours to activate. You will need to carry a copy of your passport. It is advisable to purchase a SIM card on the first day of your arrival. Note: This service is not available in Myanmar.
Please keep in mind the power supply when thinking about bringing necessary adaptors for your electrical equipment.
Most hotels now have IDD phones in rooms and it is possible to send faxes from hotels and post offices. Be aware that most hotels charge considerable amounts for these services; please check with the hotel prior to arrival.
It may not always be possible to make international calls in remote areas. If you have worldwide coverage, you can bring your own mobile phone and use it to make domestic or international calls.
Check with your mobile phone provider for the costs before using it abroad; it may be expensive.
Here are some international access codes:
To the US, dial 001 + Code (without 0) + Telephone number
To the UK, dial 0044 + Code (without 0) + Telephone number
To CANADA, dial 001 + Code (without 0) + Telephone number
To AUSTRALIA, dial 0061 + Code (without 0) + Telephone number
Please be warned that apart from major tourist centers, internet connectivity in South-East Asia can be slow and hard to come by.
While larger cities will have internet kiosks, these don’t promise high speeds. Hotels will usually offer email facilities for a cost at a business center. Hotels will similarly offer the use of their telephone services for international calls at high rates.
More detailed information and advice is available in our electronic Asia Travel Guide that you will receive from us when you book your Enchanting-Asia holiday.