Tips we accumulated during our time in Asia
- Book local flights (check this list for the country you are traveling to or from) – many aggregators do not include the cheaper local airlines, but skyscanner does a better job than kayak internationally
- Pay for baggage prior to arrival at airport – peach plus for example (note all costs prior to selecting the best flight)
- Get a JR pass prior to arrival in the country (Japan)
- Weigh travel options based on itinerary – there are often several buses/trains/planes to main tourist destinations
- Cash can only be exchanged inside actual banks and in travel hubs in some areas. Either exchange during working business hours in an airport, train stations, etc. or get money out of the ATM at 7 eleven. Most ATM machines will not work – but 7 eleven ATMs do – only sure way to get money out in many areas.
- Eat dinner by 8 or 9pm as most places close by 10pm and some even earlier.
- If you have any dietary restrictions at a minimum learn how to articulate this in the local language. For instance “no meat” if you are a vegetarian.
- Pick up on communication styles and tonality to interact appropriately with the locals. Japanese/Korean tend to be quite polite and passive, respect plays a large role in their culture, while Chinese yell/raise their voice quite regularly. As a visitor it is best to adjust accordingly in an effort to effectively communicate across language barriers. They use their hands in very specific ways (never pointing) and bow their head slightly when asking for things or offering thanks. No need to copy exactly, but be aware and do your best to respect the local culture.
- Get a subway/bus map early on and take a picture (in case you lose it). Mark on the map your destinations and become familiar with the routes/times of operation (some lines will shut down at 10pm, while others stay open until 11pm or 12am).
At your hostel/hotel:
Determine what’s included…
– do they have free wifi? If so get the password first thing when you arrive (take a picture)
– do they offer anything complimentary – soap, shampoo, coffee, breakfast, towels? If not, can you buy or rent for a good rate?
– is there a kitchen? do they have laundry facilities or a service?
– do they recommend any tours – offer cooking classes – bikes? can they book things for you?