Asia & Middle East
This section covers the whole of Asia including the Indian Subcontinent (India, Sri Lanka. Myanmar & Pakistan) as well as South East Asia (China, Thaliland, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia etc.) This section also covers the Middle east, of which Egypt, Jordan and Isreal are the most popular destinations.
India is certainly one of the most interesting countries to visit and generally is relatively safe. We would suggest travellers focus on minimising the chances of getting sick and not getting squashed on the roads! There are certain areas in India which may not be safe to visit, for example Assam, West Bengal and parts of Kashmir near the Pakistan border.
India | Trains by Billy Lowther
Trains are a great way to get around India, south India especially. The system is a bit odd and confusing. The best options are apps called Ixigo, IRTC and make my trip to book trains however often there are no seats left and you get waitlisted - this is what happened to us most of the time. Alternatively you can book trains through travel agents on streets or the final way is to turn up to the station on the day or day before and buy a ticket. Although the app says it's full they never actually are !
India | Goa ATM’s (around Vagator area)
On the weekends the ATM's are not restocked with cash and they all run out very quickly as very few places take card, so take money out before the weekend otherwise you'll be stuck until Tuesday!
Sri lanka | Colombo scam
Walking past the hospital a well dressed man came rushing up to us asking if we spoke English, when we said yes he told us his daughter was having an asthma attack in school and had to use some expensive medicine as inhalers did not work, then showed us a piece of paper that looked like a percription and told us that his card was not working in the atm and would it be possible to borrow the money and give it back to us later, we exchanged numbers but later he never picked up or replied to any messages. He was dressed like a businessman in a suit and nice shoes so we thought he was genuine.
Vietnam | General points
Just had 2 great weeks in Vietnam. Although a bit wet - late October so end of the rainy season I say alot going from Ho Chi Min (although all the locals still call it Saigon) to Hanoi. Here are some general points
Vietnam | Hostel in Hoi An
The Backhome Hostel in Hoi An is superb. It's one of the very best hostels I have stayed in. It has lots of rooms, singles, doubles and loads of dormitories. The hostel is spacious with large bar and dining area. Room and bathrooms are clean, modern and airy.
Myanmar | Travel in South Myanmar
See here for useful advise on hostels, beaches and travel in South Myanmar from Bertie Lawson of Sampan Travel. www.sampantravel.com. Also advice on crossing from Thailand
If you are looking for mid-range to budget places, off the top of my head, in Kawthaung: Penguin Hostel, Honey Bear, Garden Hotel
For Myeik: Ein Daw Phyu, Grand Jade (both of these a bit spenny), and White Pearl.
Myanmar | Hostels in Ngapali
The only hostel I coudl find in Ngapali with a dormitory was the We stay @Chillax House. Its opposite the smart Sandoway resort. Bunk bed in dorm for $13, private rooms for around $30. Guesthourse May 18 also looked good and clean but no dorm and rooms for $30. Another option is the Family Resort 1 & 2 - on the northern beach (much nicer than main beach) north of Lin tha village. The Family Resort 2 is cheaper, on the road but has rooms for $22 & v close bike ride to Family Resort 1 which is on the beach & has more expensive rooms + restaurant. email; email@example.com
Myanmar | General Points
Myanmar is much less busy than Thailand, Vietnam etc. Its very safe - the areas in conflict such as Rakhine are out of bounds to foriegners. The people are delightful and due to the Rakhine conflict tourist numbers are down so the locals are delighted to see travellers. Some general points
Myanmar | Train from Kalaw to Inle Lake
The train from Kalaw to Shwe Nyaung (for Inle Lake) is a cheap, slow and wonderful way to travel. The train is old, never does more that 40 mph and provides a great way to see everyday Burmsee life. In Upper class, which has huge comfortable swivel seats, the journey costs about $ 0.80 and will take about 3 to 3.5 hours.
Indonesia - Bali | Bali -
Mount Batur- sunrise tour is fab. Most people go from UBUD on a commerical programme. However we went through a local person who lived at the bottom of the volcano. FAB. On hostel world type in ' Kintimini' one hostel appears. My review will be on their somewhere. Lovely family hostel - take taxi from UBUD or somewhere afternoon before. Husband and wife, he will take you up the volcano the following morning at 3am. He does a back route so you wont see all the tourists. If you ask him to book your Gili T for the following day he organises your boat and gives you dicount. HIGHLY recommend.
Laos | Laos Border
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE DOLLARS prior to bus departure !!! I believe its $30 but check
Thai Islands | Biking
Many people took out bikes for the day- make sure you take pictures of the bike before you go as they often charge you huge amounts of money for something that existed before you took it.
Thailand | Safety at Full Moon Party
Full Moon Party is so fun but worth knowing how to keep safe as it can be very full on. In order to make sure you are staying in the best hostel (this matters as its where you will ‘pre’ and often you go to the party with people you have met in the hostel) it's best to pick a date and book the hostel about 2/3months in advance as the best ones go quickly.
Cambodia | Cambodian Islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem
No ATMs on the islands so bring enough cash. They are beautiful and well worth a visit
Vietnam | E-visa - Vietnam
Crossing the border from Cambodia into Vietnam with an Evisa, can cause problems if you haven’t filled in the form carefully. Worked well for us and is cheaper
Israel | Getting around
Buses, sherut and transfer to Jordan advice. The Moovit App for getting around Israel is very good.
1 comments | Click here to view
Kazakhstan | Intend to stay longer in Almaty than Astana
We had a full week in Astana. Too long for backpacking. Only needed a couple of days. Spend more time in the south. People are friendlier!
Kazakhstan | Safe and easy travel
We've found Kazakhstan to be a very safe place to travel. It's also really easy to get around. Last year the 30 day visa was lifted so you can visit Kazakhstan from the UK for 30 days without a visa.
Myanmar | Trekking
Trekking from Kalaw to Inle Lake - 2 or 3 day option. Excellent way to see the wonderful counryside.
Nepal | Border
Border crossing from India to Burma. A bus from Varanasi to Kathmandu can be a good option. Be careful exchanging money at the border to check you get the correct rate.
Iran | Cash
Must bring cash into the country
India | E -Visa
Keeping your boarding Card
Sri Lanka - India | Flying out of Sri Lanka into India
When flying out of Sri Lanka into India you need some proof that you will be leaving india
Vietnam | Visa scams
Do not apply for visa on arrival- thousands of scams, go through embassy well in advance.
Sri Lanka | Great eat in Mirrisa
Dewminis roti shop - best restaurant in all of Sri Lanka based in Mirrisa. Run by a local family and so cheap. Amazing rice and curry. Make sure to ask people where it is as its a bit off the beaten track!
Sri Lanka | Trains from Kandy to Ella
This train ride lasts 7hrs but is one of the best experiences of the trip. (You can do a 3hr one from Nuwara Eliya to Ella) The views are sensational, plus the train is uber cheap. (Although buses are the cheapest)
Sri Lanka | Aruguam bay - best time to visit: June to August
Do not got in off season. It's amazing in the summer (June, July August etc.) but is a complete ghost town for the rest of the year. We visited in March and all you could hear was the noise of drilling and building works in preparation for high season. Definitely a fun and great surfers paradise in summer. If visiting in February go to Mirrisa on the south coast- it is amazing and so beautiful!!! Don't bother with Unawatuna as its very touristy and expensive!
Sri Lanka | Sigiria- hill country
Must go to the hill country including Sigiria, Ella and Kandy. Sigiria Rock is very good to climb however it is expensive but probably worth it. Do not touch any monkeys or snakes or take photos as you will be charged s crazy amount of money! Sisira natural lodge was a good place to stay- cheap and reasonable. Eat in local restaurants run by families- they are the cheapest and the best. Pradeep restaurant in sigiria is amazing. Ella is beautiful but s little touristy. Fun bars and restaurants just be willing to spend a bit more! Kandy is a pretty city but no need to spend longer then two days! Visit helgas folly and don't bother with the temple of the tooth if you haven't got time. Way to touristy and full of Chinese!!
Sri lanka | Colombo
Dont bother staying in Colombo for longer then 24 hours. There is very little to see and it is very expensive! Get out of there Asap. If you have an early flight when departing from Colombo stay in Negombo as it is much closer to the airport and cheaper.
Japan | Airport arrival - Tokyo Haneda to Tokyo City
The quickest and easiest way is to go by Monorail and then by Metro to Tokyo central station, cost approx £3.50
Cambodia | Formula milk scam
Do not buy formula, a child will approach you with a baby saying she doesn't want money just wants milk.
Thailand/Cambodia | Visa scam
Go to bus terminal to buy bus ticket to Cambodia to avoid a visa scam
Thailand | Airport taxi
I suggest you use metered taxis at airport to avoid paying 3 x as much
Malaysia | Bag snatch in Penang
Do not carry your passport around with you if you can avoid it! Also advice on how to get an Emergency Travel Document - if your passport is stolen
India | Metro - Arrival Delhi Airport to city centre
The new metro is a very good way of getting into the city centre. Its safe, not crowded, efficient and clean. From the International airport it costs Rupees 120 ( £1.50/ $ 2.30) to New Delhi station - next to the New Delhi railway station. Posted by Charlie McGrath
India | Good hotel in Jaipur,Rajasthan
The Pearl Palace Hotel is highly recommended. Whilst not in the budget price bracket its good value, a room without bathroom is rupees 350, about $7 and twin with bathroom is 750 ($13). Really friendly, excellent roof top restaurant & safe.
Thailand | Luggage underneath Buses
Rucksacks on buses in Thailand - recommend use of cable ties to deter thieves
Vietnam | Transport offers
Taxis can easily scam you in Vietnam by setting the meter to run 10x the normal speed and offers from men on motorbikes for cheap transport may seem appealing, do not accept!
Vietnam | Bag snatching and theft
These are just a few things to be aware of to make sure you are less of a target of theft
Mongolia | The Gobi Desert and Lake Hovsgol.
Cambodia | Great Accomodation
The perfect accomodation for travellers in Siem Reap
Thailand | Thailand/Cambodia border scam
Thailand/Cambodian border scam by Sam Yarnold - post by Charlie McGrath
When crossing the border between Thailand and Cambodia I came across a number of scams,travel agents trying to get money for a service that is not required! Do read the article.
2 comments | Click here to view
India | Delhi Airport - Taxi driver cons travellers to go ghastly hotel
This happened to a friend, Monica Vrbkova & her boyfriend Martin. They had prebooked hotel but when they gave hotel name to taxi driver he claimed it had just closed and suggested an alternative which was awful. The driver was clearly getting commission from hotel.
China | Airport Taxi Scam
Shanghai Airport Taxi Scam. I got ripped off, lost £75 - please don't get caught, read my article
For Travel Safety tips relevant to you, click below;
|Tue 02 May 23||Virtual||8||left|
|Thu 13 Jul 23||London||9||left|
|Thu 24 Aug 23||London||10||left|
|Thu 12 Oct 23||Virtual||10||left|
24 Mar, 2023
Peru: Demonstrations continue
Australia; Heavy rains in S & SE
Thailand: Elections by May
Brazil: Heavy rains in NE
South Africa: Extensive power cuts
15 Mar, 2023
Do check with the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office as the picture changes the whole time. Entry requirement...
01 Jan, 2022
Virtual Gap Year Travel and Safety Course
Our courses have been created as we understand the need for safety training for those planning a gap year travelling and our virtual course gives...