How to travel cheap and organized? How to prepare for Asia trip? Thailand vol.1
Hello and welcome to the first of my series about my Gap Year!
It comes the time when you need to take a year off from your ‘serious’ life. Go deep into the unknown and challenge yourself!
I did it from September 2017 till July 2018. So, from a month in the mountains in Bulgaria to Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand and ended in Poland.
So, let’s start with the preparation and organization.
How to travel cheap and organized?
1.Look at SkyScanner frequently and 2/3 months earlier to get a cheap flight to you current destination. I bought mine to Bangkok 3 months earlier for a bit less than 300 euro from Sofia – Bangkok – one way. In Asia, I would recommend AirAsia, it is like Wizzair here in Europe. Many cheap tickets for a couple of dollars.
2.Although I had a suitcase included, I traveled only with my 30l backpack. You don’t need much in Southeast Asia. Even, I could travel with less
3.You need to get some vaccines, although they are not mandatory, it’s a good idea to have them. I did hepatitis A & B and Typhoid Fever, but check it by yourself with your doctor in your local city (country).
4.Buy secret pocket, where you can keep safely your passport and money. The left picture above is my secret pocket. The other black thing is a very handy 10l backpack, which I used for a second hand luggage
5.Check when is the end of the rainy season in Thailand for example. At this time is less touristic, lower prices and still good weather. For Thailand Middle of October is great. It was raining heavily, but for a short amount of time. It was getting dry and nice very fast.
6.Get an international driving license. Honestly in Asia they don’t care about it, but it’s good to have it.
7.Find a hosts in Couchsurfing. In the low season you can find very cheap 3/4 star hotels, but if you are traveling alone, Couchsurfing or Hostels are better option due to better communication with people 😉
8.Check better offers online for cruises, not on the streets or markets.
9.My main luggage includes:
Tech stuff: Laptop, gopro, power bank, hair clipper.
Clothes: A tiny long pants, which could be shorts too, one jacket for rain, 3 t-shirts,bathing suit, sneakers and flip flops,few pairs of underwear and socks.
Cosmetics and medicines- Sun cream, very important – spray for mosquitoes. I would recommend from lemon grass, it is very effective and less chemical. You can buy it in Thailand very cheap.
TIP Drink Probiotics 1 month before going to Asia, this would help you get used to the new bacteria better. Also Enterol (for stomach problems) is a good idea.Consult with your doctor what could be the best for you.
10.Visa for Thailand is relatively easy, do it at home in the embassy and you will save time on the airport!TIP It’s good to have an address handy where you are going to stay. It could be hostel,airbnb address or whatever.
11.It is a good idea to know how to ride a scooter. In Thailand and in general in Asia is very common to ride a scooter and if you are two, it is very convenient. I couldn’t ride, but I learnt there 🙂 It is an amazing experience. Don’t panic the traffic is crazy, but it is quite fun and doable :)Somehow they take care about you. The cost for a scooter is around 6$ per day. They will want your passport as a deposit, I know it’s not great, but I did it at least 15 times and nothing bad happened. Anyway is a good idea to have your passport scanned of course.
12. Have your ID, passport scanned and send to your email and have them in a flash drive, together with important documents. Be prepared to loose everything and still to be good. Have this flash drive with passport and money in your secret pocket, also a cloud backup is a good idea. In Asia is safe, but it doesn’t hurt to be extra safe.
13. Eat at the local restaurants.People say street food is great, but I personally tried to avoid it.
14.Put a few $ in your Viber account – you can make low cost calls across the world and save literally hundreds of dollars if you want to make phone calls.
Let’s summarize how to travel cheap:
Cheap flights, no suitcase – it is comfier and you don’t pay for luggage. You really don’t need much in Southeast Asia. Now when I think about it I even could have less 😀 Couchsurfing – free, hang out with locals, show you some local tips, where to eat cheap and good, not overpaying for fancy and I can say sometimes even not tasty.
Still be prepared for some stomach problems in Asia, just the bacteria there is different, then our here. They also would have problems here. After the first week everything gets better. Last but not least, don’t buy things you don’t need.
Have a bank account card with $ (the conversion rate is better with $ in Asia) and also cash $ is always a good idea.
Welcome to Bangkok!
The city of tuk-tuk, pad-thai,beer-pong,happy-massage and crazy traffic.
Once you land in Thailand you will notice how everyone is kind to you and do a nice nod gesture to you as a welcome and a good buy. When I bought a sim card on the airport the girl welcomed me like this. From Suvarnabhumi Airport is a subway to the city-center and it is quite cheap as everything in Thailand.
There was a cultural shock, I can’t deny it! Everything was different. Very humid, hot,crazy traffic. After a day or two you get used to. The people’s behavior is different in the most positive way, very kind and smiling. The picture above is the famous thai tuk-tuk. It’s good for avoiding the traffic,but faster is the scooter taxi and the subway which in Thailand is above the ground. However Tip 1 is to negotiate for the price for mostly everything!
Fried insects? mmmiami
The electricity revolution
One of the first things which I visited in Bangkok was a local weekend market. It was craazy! 🙂 On this market I faced the thai massage for the first time and I was surprised how cheap it was (you should tip them always). After 20h of travel by plane, was an amazing massage.
Let’s jump into the cultural specialties in Bangkok. To be precise – Wat Pho and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha
That place is very touristic, not as the Palace, which after I went there and I wouldn’t describe it as “must see”.In Wat Pho, you can see many interesting and typicial cultural buildings for Asia, if you are for the first time you will be amazed. One thing that you should do there,it is massage. There is an academy teaching massage techniques and the quality is higher than on the streets.
The next place worth a visit is Baiyoke Tower II. Nice place to see whole Bangkok. TIP get the ticket including a drink on the roof bar – it is around 20$
That’s view is from the bar
That’s view is from the top where you are going automatically in a circle and you can see every sight of Bangkok.
Dinner at the ricer cruise is a must visit in my opinion. For a fair amount. Around 30$ you get walk by a boat, buffet dinner with amazing food + 1 drink, a concert and a traditional show with the amazing surrounding of the temples and the palace along the river. The cruise is called River Star Princes
That’s The Palace
If you would like to relax after a long day sightseeing in the heat and humid Lumphini park is a great option to relax.
Also there are many cardio training with a music in the evening, if you want to give a try!
If you want to have a party – Khao San Road is for you, it is a good place to have a walk as well. There you can find cheap beer, ping pong shows and everything what you need for your night life!
There are thousands of things to do in Bangkok, but I personally couldn’t stand there more than 5/6 days. I will finish my story here. The next part will be about Chiang Mai where I went to an elephant sanctuary and many islands worth a visit and a dive! Stay tuned, the story has just begun 🙂