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Tips for Your First Trip to Asia

Tips for your first trip to Asia with four images in background

Asia is a unique country that offers experiences for those who are wanting rich cultural encounters, thrilling adventure, natural phenomenon, and local culinary delights. But without more delay below you can find some of my Tips for Your First trip to Asia.

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Pick your route

If you are from Europe (like I am) be sure when visiting Asia not to visit only one country or destination like Bali or just Singapore, be sure to connect a couple of destinations because who knows when you will be back. Yes, it depends on how long you are willing and can stay in Asia, but this is just a recommendation that I went with when traveling there.

Girl posing with monkey lying next to her in Ubud
Girl posing at entrance to Marina bay Sands in Singapore

Check the weather

This is probably the most important tip that I can give you when visiting Asia, especially places like Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the main reason is that there is a monsoon season where it rains the whole time, and the weather is really bad, and at the end of the day, it will ruin the long-awaited vacation that you were planning.

Check it you need Visa

Make sure to check if you need a Visa! If you do not have a Visa but you have booked a flight, they won’t let you in and everything is lost. Since I’m from Croatia, Visas were not necessary for Malaysia, Indonesia, or Singapore, but please keep in mind that your passport has to be valid for more than 6 months until the expiration date to travel to such distant destinations.

Example – The expiration date from the passport is 01.2021, but you are wanted to travel there on 12.2020, you will not be able because that is a month before it expires, so be sure to renew your passport before.

Girl looking at Tegenungan waterfall Bali

Travel light

I have managed to survive the whole three weeks with a 10-kg suitcase and a backpack. It mostly consisted of light dresses and flip-flops and a couple of shirts and trousers. Because you are going on long trip washing clothes will become a must, so be sure to check if your hotel, resort or villas are equipped with everything needed.

Don't worry about exchanging money

I hear a lot of people saying “I need to change money before I get to Singapore, or Bali or Malaysia”, but my response is: Do not worry, you can’t carry and should not carry all of your cash in your pockets or backpack, because there is a lot of pickpocketers just waiting for that.

Yes, if you withdraw money from the ATMs they will make provision for it, but the provision is so small that you won’t even feel it, and also in most places, you can pay by credit card and it won’t take any provision from it.

Girl standing in front of entrance at Central market in Kuala Lumpur
Girl posing next to statue at Ubud

Enjoy the street food

If you are from Europe, you are most likely used to eating in restaurants or at home. Well, in Asia you can forget about that, you will see most of the people eat at the streets all the time, and you need to embrace it if you want to feel the full cultural experience of Asia. Keep in mind that the food is amazing and a little bit spicy in comparison to European food.

People cooking food at street market in Kuala Lumpur

Drink bottled water

In most destinations in Asia the water from the pipe is not recommended to be drunk, so always carry bottled water with you. 

Be sure to buy it in a shop and not some stand because I have seen a couple of times that water from the stands is a piped water that is just put inside a bottled and closed. In my opinion, the best solution is a reusable water bottle to carry everywhere.

Download Waze and save your destinations

If you are renting a motorbike in Bali or renting a car in Singapore or Malaysia, be sure to download Waze, and there is a couple of reasons why. 

Waze is the app that most Asian countries use rather than Google Maps, also if you save your destinations in Waze, it can be used offline which is an extremely useful thing if you are a tourist from Europe, America, or anywhere else.

Motorbike standing next to rice field at Bali

Buy a Sim Card

It does not matter what country you are visiting, but be sure to buy a SIM card immediately at the airport since it is the safest bet and you can easily get lost if you do not have a WIFI near you. In most of the destinations that I have visited in Asia, the prices are pretty cheap (around 10 Euro for 6GB).

Keep your money and your luggage close

Most Asian countries enforce the death penalty for smuggling drugs, so be sure to keep your luggage close to you in the airport or taxi. 

Also if you haven’t traveled before at such a big distance be sure not to act like a tourist and try to blend in with the locals and communicate with them, because most of them are living from tourism and like tourists.

Girl posing while looking at city at Singapore
Girl standing in front of Petronas twin towers in Kuala Lumpur

Dress code

Some Asian countries are still very traditional and have specific dress codes when it comes to women, so just check before you are visiting the country. Bali, Singapore, and Malaysia are not of them so if you are visiting any of those countries you can wear whatever you like.

Buy an Adaptor

If you are from Europe or the USA you are used to traveling around Europe or the USA and not worrying about power or charging your phone or laptop, well Asia is a little bit different. Be sure to buy a world Plug adaptor and you won’t have to worry about power ever again. 

Go with an open mind

You will smell and see a lot of things that you are not used to. Do not be surprised if you see a naked man lying on the middle of the street or a cow just strolling around a middle of a busy road, Asia has everything, so keep an open mind as much as you can, if you can.

Arrival and departure cards

Since I have never been to Asia before and I was traveling from Athens to Singapore (13 exhausting long hours) around 2 hours before we were supposed to land the flight attended gave me an Arrival card. It is a card that you have to fill up with your information that you will hand to the customs officer once you land, the same thing will happen once you depart, so keep a couple of pens in your backpack.

Information to include: How long are your staying for, Where are you staying at, Where are you going after that destination, What is the purpose of the trip, and etc.

Girl sitting on stairs at entrance to Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur

Check if you need injections and bring probiotics

Be sure to check with your doctor if you need to take an injection for the country that you are visiting. I have visited Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia and I have not taken any injections, but it depends from person to person. Bring some probiotics if you are not used to spicy and Asian cuisine because it can ruin your trip very quickly.

Get insurance

It is highly recommended to have travel insurance if you visiting any distant destinations such as Morocco, Bali, Singapore, Malaysia, or anywhere that isn’t your “native” continent. 

I recommend World Nomads, mostly because I always ensure myself with them when I’m traveling, and they have been very helpful every time I had any issues on my trips.

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Tips for your first trip to Asia with four images in background

Hello! I’m Sara, a Croatian native. I’ve traveled all over the world and have knocked out some amazing cities and countries off my bucket list.

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