A lot of people ask me why I decided to go to Southeast Asia and New Zealand so I thought I’d write a quick post on how I chose those countries.
I will be travelling alone for a while (except for two weeks in Myanmar), so I went for countries known to be safe for solo women travellers. Southeast Asia has a very good reputation and apparently Laos has a fairly low crime rate. This is compared to India or South America for instance where I would not have felt as comfortable and reassured.
I’ve already visited Malaysia and Singapore and I even spent a short week in Indonesia (although admittedly I wouldn’t really say that I’ve “been” there, it was for a conference), and those trips triggered an urge to discover more of that region: great infrastructures, low prices and a lot to offer (jungles, beaches, wildlife, temples, mountains…). I aimed for less tourist-packed areas (Laos and Myanmar) and since the Angkor khmer ruins in Cambodia are a must-see I couldn’t stand the idea of not spending at least a few days there.
After that, flying to New Zealand from Bangkok is easy and cheap. Since I’ve always wanted to go, I suppose this turned out to be the perfect occasion.
Travelling to tropical countries for a (more or less) long period requires preparation, especially when it comes to medical precautions. Different people make different decisions on vaccines and anti-malarial treatments, this here is my take on the subject, based on my (small) experience: I decided to be on the safe side.
I’m not going to be exposed to malaria for that long (about six weeks), so I decided to take preventive medication which you can only take for at most three months in a row. The drug may have strong side effects but I tolerated it well last time so I just got the same. It is highly recommended for Laos, and not absolutely necessary for Myanmar (unless I travel to more remote areas, which I might). However, some resistance of the parasite to anti-malarial drugs has been reported in Laos. And given the other diseases spread by mosquitoes in that region (dengue fever, zika, …), additional protection is absolutely necessary.
I purchased mosquito-repellent to soak my clothes in, and it stays efficient even after several washes. I also got this repellent to directly spray onto my (uncovered) skin. I’m not exactly thrilled about exposing myself to all sorts of chemicals but it’s probably better than one of those tropical illnesses.
I got two vaccines today: a compulsory booster (in France: diphtheria, tetanos and polio) as well as the one against typhoid (unfortunately this last one is only effective for three years so this is the second time I had to get it). Another recommended vaccine for this area is the anti-Hepatitis A, a nasty, non-deadly but very common viral disease. Since I already got a shot in 2012, I’m still immune. These drugs are expensive, for instance the anti-malaria treatment for six weeks is about 60€ and the typhoid shot is 50€.
Finally, it’s always good to bring some paracetamol and medicine to take in case of nasty digestive problems, as well as antiseptics.
But hey, don’t worry, I’ll be fine 🙂
I just became a real techie by buying a very modern smartphone (a nice change from my previous Samsung flip phone), which I hope to use to post regular blog posts while I’m away.
The nice thing is that I can transfer photos from my camera to my phone via wifi, and then post them using the WordPress Android app. Very modern indeed …
Right, so it’s time for me to explore various WordPress templates!