Transportation

AirAsia is a great regional airline that provides cheap flights throughout Southeast Asia. A ticket to almost anywhere in the region can be bought up to two days in advance and usually costs under $100. They have many promotions too, so don’t be surprised if you end up paying less than $50 for your ticket!

Elong.net is another great site for air tickets within China. They have the best prices. However, if you pay with a non-Chinese credit card you’ll need to send them copies of your card, passport, and other documents. The prices they offer on their site change constantly and are not confirmed until they receive all that documentation!

Besides flying, there are numerous busses running within and between countries. Tickets can usually be bought at a guest house or tour agent and at the bus station for local busses. Trains are another option.

Renting or buying a motorcycle is possible in most countries. A license is not required but your passport is, so if you damage a rented bike you’ll either pay (an inflated fee) for repairs or forfeit your passport. Keep in mind that if you are in an accident involving a local it will usually be registered as your fault (This generally means that you’ll have to pay. I met one foreign man who hit a motorcycle in Cambodia, killing the driver and severely injuring the passenger neither of whom were wearing helmets. It took this man several days of negotiations and $20,000 in payoffs to clear himself) In Cambodia, it’s very common for guilty local drivers to flee the scene of an accident because they don’t want to pay off the victims family. I’ve been warned (by Cambodians) to stay away from accidents involving locals because foreigners may be blamed for “causing” the accident because we are presumed to have $.

Hitchhiking in South East Asia may be less common than in Europe but many locals will happily let you join them in their car. Most of my hitchhiking experience was with a guy but I did hitch on my own a few times in Thailand and in Japan and all my experiences were very positive. The beauty of hitching is that the act of getting to another place becomes an interesting, memorable experience of its own and allows us to meet local people and witness local life from new angles.

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