Since it was first discovered by the great explorers and adventurers of the 13th century, Asia has been like a magnet for travellers of all ages and nationalities. A trip through the Asian continent has become synonymous with exoticism, romantic landscapes, and first-class scenery. For the most part, travelling in Asian countries is extremely budget friendly, and the activities on offer suit all preferences, from adventure trips to romantic breaks or quiet beach retreats. However, travelling in Asia is not for the faint of heart, and finding yourself immersed in a totally different world can be a total shock to the system. In this article we list a few useful tips to make your journey through this fascinating continent worthwhile and more enjoyable.
Sampling new cuisines is one of the best things about travelling abroad. We do not need to extol the virtues of Asian cuisine, as thanks to its mesmerising flavours it is one of the most renowned at global level. The first thing that first-time visitors to Asia need to know is that eating out is inexpensive. Unlike in Europe or North America, eating out in Asia does not necessarily mean going to a restaurant, as food carts and food courts are virtually everywhere and offer delicious dishes at very affordable prices. However, it is always a good idea to ensure that food is cooked right before you and not left to sit in a pot during most of the day, especially if you are ordering meat or fish-based dishes. Because dairy products are not common in this region, it is better to avoid them as they might not be fresh or safe to eat.
Trains, rickety buses, VIP buses, rickshaws, ferries, and budget airlines all cover the depth and breadth of Asia. Travelling overland is safe in most countries, but it is important to get used to the idea that punctuality is not so important in this part of the world. Some bus routes might not even depart according to a schedule, but rather leave when enough passengers turn up. Be prepared to wait, and if you are not, it is a good idea to rent a car during your stay in Asia. If you choose this option, go for an international company, like National Car Hire, which will have better safety records.
There are some great accommodation deals to be had in Asia, and even if you are the type of traveller who tends to stay in hostels or guest houses, the low prices and great value will mean that from time to time, you can also afford a hotel stay. Check sites like Agoda for the latest deals at your chosen destination. Also, bear in mind the dates of popular festivals like the Chinese New Year, Ramadan, or the country’s national holidays, as high demand can make it next to impossible to find accommodation on the spot.
The weather in Asia can be described as extreme and unpredictable. Most of the continent lies within the tropics, so expect hot temperatures and humidity, along with extended rainy or monsoon seasons. However, mountain areas can be as cold as certain parts of Europe during the winter, so research your destination carefully and pack accordingly.