Overlanding Across South East Asia – 5 tips

When I first hit Southeast Asia, I was traveling on a very small budget which meant that flying between countries was simply not an option. Thankfully, because this area of the world is visited so much by travelers and tourists from around the world, there is a great infrastructure here when it comes to busses and trains which you can take right the way through the region.

If you are traveling on a budget and you are looking to overland your way throughout Southeast Asia, here are some tips which I picked up on the way with I think may help you.

Group Travel

There are some extremely long journeys throughout Southeast Asia and they can be pretty unbearable. In order therefore, to make them that little bit more fun, try to do so in a group of like-minded people so that you can be more accommodating of each other and so that you can get locked in some good conversation to pass the time. There is nothing worse than being stuck on a bus for 17 hours with someone who you don’t get on with so try and fix that issue before you leave.

Hop On Hop Off

There are many of these hop on hop off services throughout Southeast Asia and if you use them, you get the flexibility to take a break when things get too much. Make plans to do the whole journey of course, but give yourself that option to jump off for a night before resuming your journey.

Planning Ahead

Just because you are overloading does not mean that you absolutely have to spend 22 hours on a bus and if you plan well, you can make plenty of stops in between destinations so that you can break your journey up into more manageable chunks. Let me tell you that there is absolutely no romance in a long bus journey and if you can avoid it then I would suggest that you do your best to do so.


I used to hate seeing people in airports with pillows around their necks, thinking that they were somehow pampered travelers. I soon changed my tune about this when I arrived in Southeast Asia however and I was sat on uncomfortable busses for long periods of time. The less you sleep, the more frustrated you will become with pretty much everything, not a good feeling when you are on a bus. With this in mind then I would definitely suggest that you grab yourself a travel pillow and make sure that your journey is as comfortable as it can possibly be.

Careful With Fluids

It is of course important that you keep your fluids up when you travel, especially if you are stuck on a sweaty bus for a long time. With this being said, try to be careful how much fluid you take on as many buses either have no toilet facilities, or pretty poor ones and the last thing you want to do is be desperate for the bathroom whilst you are on the bus. Speak to the driver to find out if there will be toilet stops and then plan your intake accordingly.

I hope these tips help you out!

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