Travel guide for Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here, but I’ve been to Thailand. I went last November. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life so far and I knew as soon as I arrived that I’d want to revisit Southeast Asia. The culture, pace, lifestyle, landscape, people were absolutely amazing.

Fast forward a year and I’m heading back to Southeast Asia with my friend Chris Lea for almost a month. A few friends have asked me what I’ve been doing to prepare for this big trip so I thought I’d write up some notes here.

  • First off, go to your local immunization clinic and get immunized. You’ll most likely get Typhoid, Tetanus, Hepatitis A/B and flu vaccines. Additionally, they’ll probably give you an antibiotic in case you eat something that “doesn’t agree with you” and malaria medication. In addition to these medications, I suggest you get a small first aid kit and some basic pain medication for those bucket induced hangovers. 
  • Make a color copy of your passport and give it to a friend or family member. Additionally, scan a copy and send it to yourself in an email as a PDF.
  • Register with the State Department that you’ll be overseas along with where you’ll be.
  • Call all of your credit card companies and tell them that you’re going to be out of the country, which countries you’ll be visiting and when you’re leaving/coming back. I went ahead and put fraud prevention on one of mine, which covers all of my cards against identify theft, including my bank accounts.
  • If you own an iPhone get the Pwnage tool and jailbreak/unlock your iPhone. It’s extremely important that you use the Pwnage tool as the QuickPwn doesn’t unlock the SIM card. In addition to this, I’ve installed a VoIP client, which will get me 1.8 cent phone calls back to the US from WiFi access points.
  • When you pack make sure to put a copy of your passport and your driver’s license in one bag and your passport in another. Additionally, split up your credit cards in this manner. Do NOT keep all of your identification and forms of payment in a SINGLE place.
  • Buy a key lock. All of the places I stayed at in Thailand last time had lockers in a secure closet/room. You could either use your own lock or one of theirs. I highly suggest you use your own.
  • This time around I’m leaving the camera to my companion, who is a professional photographer. If you’re not so lucky I highly  recommend the Cannon XTi or similar. In addition, I’d get a decent lens (I used the Canon 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens with great success last time) and an external hard drive that lets you rip photos directly from the camera’s card to the hard drive (e.g. DigiMate II).
  • If you’re going to be truly backpacking then I suggest a light sleeping bag, small travel pillow and a towel.
  • An absolute if you’re going to be island hopping is an LED headlamp.

Overall, Thailand is a great place to visit. It’s insanely cheap, easy to get around and the people there are very welcoming and accommodating.