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Southeast Asia Guide
Food and drink
Fruit is cheap to buy from market stalls and traders who ride around on motorbikes and bicycles. Most restaurants and cafes sell a fruit salad or platter with a great selection of nutritious fruit for a cheap price. Many street vendors will juice fruit for you. Surprisingly packaged fruit juice in supermarkets is surpsingly expensive, as it breakfast cereal.
Cosmetics and toiltary products are brands you'll know from home, and are generally much cheaper. In strong Muslim countries tampons are often not available, so girls are advised to stock up. Although, western stores such as Tesco are around, where you might be able to find products from home.
Public transport is always the cheapest option to get around. But some services are limited, or don't follow less-popular tourist routes. But private companies always serve these routes, but with more expensive fares. To save the most money
Mini-bus - All countries offer mini-bus transport between major and popular destinations. They are normally run by private companies, which means the cost is slightly higher than public transport, but you will probably get a door-to-door service. These small buses are often more difficult to sleep on and are not so good for very long journeys.Luggage normally goes in the back. Drivers stop every few hours for a break. Tips: Ask the driver if he can drop you near your guesthouse or desired destination. Many will drop you there or as close as they can.
Public transport bus - The cheapest way to travel around. Almost all services are AC. Buses go between major destinations and popular tourists spots. Most towns have bus stations outside of the town, often several kilometers, and in cities many kilometers. Cities also often have several different bus stations. Ask the driver or ticket agent where the bus will drop you. There are almost always local mini-buses ferrying people around for a small fare. Larger buses are generally more comfortable the mini-buses and you should be able to get some sleep. Luggage normally gets stored underneath the bus, sometimes on the roof. Theft of luggage can be a problem, so when the bus stops get off and keep your eyes open. Travel agents always sell bus tickets, but they add commission. You can save money by buying from the bus company direct. Tips: If the locals all sit down one side of the bus join them, the other side will be in the sun.
- Trains - Some countries in southeast Asia have trains, such as Malaysia and Thailand. They are good services and are generally quicker and more comfortable than buses. Most trains offer a very cheap class, with hard seats, and at least a couple of more expensive classes with padded seats and often AC. Train stations are often outside of towns and city centers, so look out for local buses and tuk-tuks when you get off. Tips: Book tickets from railway stations as travel agents add a commission for doing so. Most trains have vendors selling snacks and drinks. Keep you eye on you luggage.
- Scooters - Always keep your driving license on you. You should ideally have a International Driving Permit, which is required in most countries. Driving without a license is likely to attract a small fine (300Baht in Thailand).
Transport money saving tips
Use public transport - it's the cheapest way to travel and most services offer AC.
Book the tickets yourself - travel agents almost always charge commission.
Avoid taxis - most bus and train stations have mini-bus services running around the area. Taxi drivers might tell you otherwise, but check around first.
Rent scooters - if you intend to visit a lot of places in a few days renting a scooter can save you money, and time, when compared to lots of small bus rides; this is especially true for couples.