Safety Tips for Travelling in Southeast Asia


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Southeast Asia is an amazing part of the world to travel. From the bustling street food markets of Malaysia to the quiet jungles of Laos to the colonial charm of Vietnam and the gilded temples of Thailand, there is so much to discover here. The sunshine is hot, the beaches are sandy, the food is cheap, varied and incredibly flavourful and each country has an abundance of history and culture to learn about.

When you are exploring Southeast Asia, there are a few hazards and dangers that you will need to be aware of. This region of the world isn’t particularly dangerous, but it is important to be informed before you go so that you can avoid a negative experience. Here are some of the safety tips you should know when visiting Southeast Asia:

1. Be Aware of Scams

You’ll soon realise that as a Westerner, you are sometimes viewed as a walking cash machine by the locals – who might try a number of scams to attempt to rip you off. If you are unaware of these scams and what the price really should be, you will be an easy target and you will find yourself parting with a lot more money than you would like to.


There are too many different scams to list here, so I recommend searching online for “Most common scams in (Your Southeast Asia destination)” Once you aware of how the typical scams work (such as the Gem Shop Scam in Bangkok or the Broken Motorbike Scam in Vietnam), you will be aware when someone is trying to pull one over on you.

2. Stay on Top of the News

Political turmoil can pop up in different parts of Southeast Asia, such as the recent protests in Bangkok. These protests and demonstrations do not target foreigners, but you don’t want to be caught up in the middle of them as they can turn violent.

When determining your travel itinerary, you should do some research into the political climate of those particular countries. If you discover that riots or protests are taking place in one of your desired destinations you might want to change your travel plans. If you are not sure, look for a travel or expat blogger who lives in the destination and email them to ask what the situation is really like there.

3. Monkey Business

Monkeys are not an uncommon sight in Southeast Asia, whether in the temples of Malaysia, the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, Cambodia or on the beaches of Thailand. It’s a lot of fun to watch these furry creatures swing from the trees and groom each other, but remember that they are wild animals and they can bite – so give them some distance.


Watch out for your possessions – since these monkeys have become more accustomed to being around people, they are bold enough to snatch food or shiny things from your hands.

4. Bangkok Belly Blues

Fragrant curry fried rice, hot and steaming Pad Thai noodles, Vietnamese Pho noodle soup – street food in Southeast Asia is awesome. Don’t skip out on it because you are afraid of getting ill, as you will miss out on one of the best aspects of travelling this region.

It is true that street food stalls can have lower hygiene standards, but you can avoid illness by choosing dishes that are freshly cooked in front of you and served steaming hot.


Avoid any food that looks like it has been sitting out in the sun for a long time. Also, look for the busiest stalls – they will have a high turnover and will be serving fresher food.

Keep some traveller’s diarrhoea tablets with you in your luggage so that if your stomach does start to feel off, you can take them right away.

5. Get Your Vaccinations

Keeping yourself safe and healthy while travelling Southeast Asia also includes getting the vaccinations that you need. These will include Typhoid, Yellow Fever and Japanese Encephalitis, as well as Measles, Mumps and Rubella and Hepatitis A and B if you haven’t already gotten these as a child.

Getting these vaccinations at home in Europe, Canada or the USA will be expensive. If it is possible, you might want to consider getting them when you arrive in Bangkok. Here is a link explaining how to do it.


These are just a few of the important safety tips that you should be aware of when you are travelling in Southeast Asia. This region has its hazards, but when you know what to watch out for and you take the right steps to protect yourself you can enjoy a safe and fun adventure in beautiful Southeast Asia.

About the Author: Kelly Dunning

A Canadian freelance writer with a love of art, culture, literature and adventure, Kelly loves exploring foreign lands and expressing her experiences through the power of the written word. She and her English boyfriend Lee run, packed full with guides, stories and inspiration for those who dream of travel. They have been location independent and travelling the world digital-nomad style since 2011, with no address, no car and no fixed schedule.


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