Currency Exhange:


In all Asian cities, you can exchange money when you arrive at the airport, which is usually a good idea. One exception to this would be Bali. If you don't have to exchange, at the airport, I'd recommend that you exchange it, at the hotel or any of the money exchanges in the street. They give a much better rate of exchange, than what the airport currency exchange people do. However, if you do need money to get from the airport, I recommend you just change a little bit for what you need and you can do the rest outside of the airport facility. Remember, a passport is needed to cash Traveler's Checks. Also, carry small units for street vendors, who often cannot or wont break large bills.

As far as traveling through any of the other Asian countries, you will always find money exchange facilities at banks, private institutions, as well as some ATM machines. ATM machines usually give wholesale rates, if you get the rate in your local currency.

 

Vaccinations:


The question arises whether a person should be vaccinated against malaria and other types of diseases when you are traveling through Asia. From my experience, and statistics show, malaria is not a problem in Bali, Thailand or India, and generally people do not choose to get vaccinated. However, as this is a very individual choice, I would recommend that if you are worried or concerned about this issue, that you obviously make a choice to get vaccinated. Read up on what the State Department has written about these particular areas, which you can find on the Internet, and make your choice accordingly.

From a personal perspective, I have never taken any vaccinations. I am more concerned about water borne pathogens and eating unwashed fruit, than I am about mosquitoe borne diseases. However, as this is very definitely a very personal health issue, you should choose according to that which will give you the most peace of mind.

Taxi and Traffic:


Of general concern to most people is how does one get around these different cities, say a big city like Bangkok. In every city, there are metered taxis who are reliable, honest and are licensed through the local city government or state government. In Bangkok, for example, the local metered taxis are the best way to travel around. For those who are more daring, you can also sit on the back of a motorcycle or scooter taxis which are cheaper than the taxies. There are also motorized carts or rickshaw carts that also are available. It's a similar situation for Bali and for India.

We have contacts with local taxi companies in Deli and Bangkok and for Bali, which can help arrange for local tours or for day shopping excursions, which we can put together/confirm before you leave.

Traffic is another area of concern for some people when they travel to Asian cities. Bangkok has a reputation for being a very polluted and heavy traffic city. It is a heavy traffic city, no doubt, however, it is not too much more serious than you would find in a major metropolitan city of the United States. At certain times of the day, waiting lines could be a little longer, and at other times during the day, traffic flows with a certain amount of regularity and ease. The trick when you visit Asian countries, is to put aside the rush syndrome and get into patience, slowness and accept whatever comes your way.

A little trick that I learned is that if you are going to take a stopover package in Bangkok, you might want to take a stopover package on a weekend when traffic is a little lighter, as some of the local residents go out of the city, so traffic is a little easier.

Crime:   

 
From most statistics I have read and from my experience in traveling in Asia, crime has never, ever been a factor, nor has it been a major concern to any traveler. Obviously you get the odd criminal act such as I saw in Bali recently where a Japanese woman had a bag stolen, snatched off her shoulder. However, this was someone from Java, not a Balinese person, as it was later explained to me, many of the people from Java coming over to Bali are causing an increase in the crime rate.(Bali is really safe)

Generally speaking, such occurrences are few and far between, and most travelers should take the normal precautions of staying in well-lighted areas at night, not leaving valuables unattended, not staying out too late at night, and not frequenting areas of the city that your hotel, tour operator, guide or other resource information suggests that you do not visit.

It is a matter of using simple common sense, and remember such acts can happen anytime and anywhere and cannot be blamed on any particular country and/or people as crime in the United States is no different than crime in any other part of the world.

 

U.S Embassies:


For any emergency information, I have included the telephone number and addresses of local U.S. embassies in Bali, Thailand and India, which can be contacted in the case of a lost passport or any other type of emergency situation.

U.S. Embassy Thailand: 66 2 205 4000 Bangkok
U.S. Embassy Indonesia: 62-21 344 2211 Java
U.S. Embassy India : 11-419 8000 Delhi