Three Travel Risks in Southeast Asia that You Should Know

Southeast Asia is pretty much a safe place to travel. There are so many independent travellers from different countries travelling around Southeast Asia and a lot of them never had a major hassle on their travels. I traveled on my own in Southeast Asia for five weeks before I went to China, India and Nepal last 2009 and never experienced any awful things on the road. I’m now back on the road and spent almost two months in Vietnam and Laos and never had any problems at all.

But there are certain cases when the unexpected happens. I had a couple of accidents when I was in China and never had the money back then to pay for hospitalization. It was terrible. That’s why on this trip I purchased a cheap travel insurance before I left my home. Better be safe than sorry, right?

I bought the cheapest one that I found and it covers medical bills and hospitalization, even repatriation in case there’s a need to immediately go back home. I could not give you an exact suggestion on what kind of coverage to choose from because it depends with your budget and your personal needs. I didn’t bought the one that would cover my electronics, I just opted to have medical coverage.

I suggest you shop around and talk to different insurance companies and choose whichever gives more value to your money.

Anyway, here are some travel annoyances/risks that you should know before you head on to Southeast Asia.

Malaria: Most Southeast Asian cities are free from mosquito transmitted diseases such as Malaria and Dengue. But if you trek deeper in the lush tropical jungles of Southeast Asia, it may be a different case. Some tourists take malaria pills and they also bring mosquito repellent lotion with high deet content to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

Mosquito bite

Road Accidents: Accidents do happen and sometimes it’s due to our carelessness. Motorbike accidents are very common in different parts of Southeast Asia. I’ve seen a lot of it when I was in Koh Phangan and when I asked the nurse about it, she said that a lot of those drivers were drunk when they’re driving.

Three Travel Risks in Southeast Asia that You Should Know

Theft: As much as I hate to say this, theft does exist in paradise, especially in a very touristy place. My friend lost her bag in Nha Trang. Her bag was in the bike’s basket case and it was snatched by a guy riding a motorbike. I saw the same thing happened in Luang Prabang when I was there last month. Passport would probably be the last thing that I want to lose. I suggest you keep a photocopy of your passport in your hostel and keep a scanned copy too in your email. Always report this kind of incident to the police and who knows, you might get your bag back within the day.

travel budget

These are just some of the travel annoyances that I’ve noticed in my travels in Southeast Asia. I’m sure there’s a lot more.

How about you? What are the travel annoyances/risks that you have noticed in your travels in Southeast Asia?

Photo Credits: Mosquitoes by dr_relling/ Motorbikes by Frameless World/


  1. Great advice. I was almost in a car accident when I was in Thailand. I was traveling in a van on the way somewhere and a car cut us off. Our van came to a screeching halt and was shook up afterwards. Very scary. I also make sure to take anti-malarial drugs with me when I travel. It’s better to be safe when it comes to that.

    • been in a couple of accidents too on may last backpacking trip that’s why now i signed up for an insurance…

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