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Thread: Essentials for India & Thailand

  1. #1
    Initiate Richard Drew's Avatar
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    Hi,

    My stepson is off travelling through Dubai, India, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand in just over a week. He's semi-organised clothing, money and medical treatment wise but not having done it before there's a few bits he hadn't thought of...

    I'm planning on buting him an Aquapure bottle, a small first-aid kit and a mosquito net (he's taking a small tent for some of the time). Is there anything else essential I need to get him?

    Thanks,

    Richard

  2. #2
    ‹bermensch Cara-Lyn:  Stealth Sloth's Avatar
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    sterile kit too - contains scalpels, needles, canulas etc. To be handed to doctor / hospital should he need treatment in any dodgy-ish area. (Although cynical me thinks that in certain places, docs would pocket the nice shiny clean stuff, and carry on regardless with what they have already!)
    Little things like universal sink/bath plugs are handy too, and a travel adaptor if he has a phone charger or anything he needs to plug in.

  3. #3
    Ultra King Ninja Marmot's Avatar
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    Richard - take along any medication he MAY need - you can pre-arrange preventative stuff like anti-biotics etc with the GP. If he IS carrying any POMs, he should take along a letter from the GP saying what they are, the dosage and what they are for. Any girls with him should take some anti-thrush gear, too.

    Stuff like Zovirax and plenty of immodium and rehydration sachets will be very useful. Don't assume that commonly-available first-aid stuff will be available anywhere else so ensure the kit is medium sized as the 'small' ones have hardly anything in; and add stuff like Steri-strips in - far safer than foreign sutures.

  4. #4
    Widdler
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    Before I went off on a little jolly to Central America I found the nomad website useful and would recommend their Medical Kits and Mozzie nets. They seem to have all sorts of useful stuff I didn't even know I needed - beware it's very easy to get carried away...

    In terms of mozzie nets I went for the box shape as they tend to be the most versatile and spacious. Also people seemed to get very excited about gaffa tape and its many uses so that might be worth considering.

    My favourite gadget while I was away was my solio i-pod charger (a solar charger/power pack)which can also be used for phones and cameras with the right adapters.

    Here are a couple of cut and paste links...
    http://www.solio.com

    http://www.nomadtravel.co.uk/store/customer/home.php

  5. #5
    ‹bermensch Terra Nova's Avatar
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    He needs plenty of mental strength and he has to be prepared for a massive CULTURE SHOCK when he hits India. No matter what advice i had from Indian friends and how much I thought I was prepared to take a culture shock, when I got to India it blew me away, it was extremely shocking. If he is going on any long train journeys then it would be good if he teamed up with someone whilst there. Second class sleeper on your own for 36 hours is a shocking experience. First class sleeper is more expensive (but still incredibly cheap by our standards) and if I were to go back I would do first class all the way.

    I take it he has some anti-malarial tablets and is already taking them?

  6. #6
    Initiate Richard Drew's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great advice so far!

    Yes - got the anti-malarial treatment and will start taking it once he gets to Dubai, so that its effective for when he goes onto India.

  7. #7
    Ultra King Ninja Marmot's Avatar
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    Use bottled water ONLY for washing salads and peel all fruit. Don't assume that 'washed' food has been washed in what is safe water for you.
    ... and tooth-brushing. Spitting the water out afterwards instead does NOT work. That way madness lies....

    India - do NOT eat anything from a road-side snack vendor - the Indians who don't live over there permanently don't do that one.

  8. #8
    Widdler Rose Bud's Avatar
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    Part 1

    A simple pack of stuff we always take on such journeys are as follows.

    A sterile first aid kit which is sealed (off the shelf one) and a daily first aid kit, mostly covered above.

    Apart from the obvious we include, gaffa tape which removes the invisible barbles from treading on coral or jelly fish. Just stick in on and pull it off, THEN put on antiseptic etc. It also fixes bust bags and mozzie nets to ceilings. So always wear sandles in the sea until you know what is under the water.

    Foot care products, he will be wearing sandles all the time and if your feet get messed up you are knackered. So look after them well with cleansing ointment and nail files etc. If they crack you are trouble from serious infection off the streets in India. Be warned.

    Rehydration sachets are vital, he WILL get sick and will need to get his salts back in him. TOP TIP when these sachets run out, tell him to keep drinking cans of flat coke with a teaspoon of salt in it. It does exactly the same thing. It will take a week to recover. Diocalm and immodium (vital).

    A few packs of face/hand wipes are great for when you eat out or eat fruit, to clean your face and hands afterwards. Plus the loo and anything else you may have to touch which is nasty.

    A few drops from a small bottle of lavender in the kits helps with sleeping, minor stings and to improve the travelling smells.

    Buy bottled water from reasonable places (common sense) and make sure they are sealed. Thailand is much better than India for this. Do NOT eat salad or anything washed in local water. Fruit you can peel is good and hot food cooked on the spot is okay. But nothing kept warm.

    At some truck/bus stops we just use the loo, clean our hands with wipes, eat biscuits, cakes and fruit if everything looks a bit tepid and drink bottled water or cans

    Sink plug, plastic door wedge (security), a small smoke alarm (vital), ear pugs (he'll need them in hostels), an elasticated washing line (very useful), some concentrated soap in a bottle (important to keep undies clean), a silk sleeping sheet (vital to stop bed bugs), impregnated mozzie net (small one will do), a good sun hat and a Buff/Matt, a couple of strong but small padlocks (combination better than a key.

  9. #9
    Widdler Rose Bud's Avatar
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    Part 2

    Factor 30 plus suncream. And use it around his neck and feet, areas which don't normally see that much sun.

    I don't think he's going anywhere in the rainy season, but if he is a small umbrella is much better than a cape in that humidity. (Watch what floats down the water near your feet!)

    When booking accomodation check the room out first and always check for a route down from the balcony for emergency. Never go higher than 2 floors. We take silk hammocks with us and they are strong enough to use as a rope to escape in such cases. That and a sarong or two, which he'll pick up as he goes.

    A small compass is very useful especially when wandering around huge markets and narrow streets. Just an idea of where your accomodation is can save the vulnerability of darkness in a unfamiliar place.

    A headtorch will last forever and very useful when packing up in the middle of the night/early morning to catch the bus or train. Or arriving at a dark port at night.

    If accomodation has a security box, use it. But wrap your items in a locked small bag or wallet, as things will still dissapear if it is easy.

    Always split the money he carries with him into several places and always have 100$ in small notes somewhere private and safe. Shoe, hat or trouser belt. (A freind of ours lost everything in one go being robbed on a beach in Thailand and had to beg on the favours of the police for over a week to get off the island back to the bank!)

    Scan every bit of paperwork and email to himself on his account so if he loses anything, such as passport, a simple download will confirm most things for the authorities.

    Use on line banking to transfer money between a debit card and account. So if you lose the debit card, there is only a small amount on it.

    Have a small bag to carry across his chest with the vital things in it, camera, water, wallet etc. That way you don't make it obvious where all your money is taking the rucksack on and off all the time and the crafty one will try to slash it, or remove it from you.

    Never leave your stuff alone when having a beer or whatever. The art of distraction is finely tuned at tourist hotspots. We keep the chest bag on all the time and hook our legs through the rucksack strap on the floor.

    There's no need to be neurotic, just 'aware'. The scam artists only go in for the dummies who are oblivious to their surroundings.

    In Asia NEVER lose your temper! It is bad form and you lose 'face'. Calm polite conversation is respected and important. If the accomodation booking has been cancelled on you, be polite and beg their assistance. The balls of the feet are very offensive and don't touch the head of anyone. Give monks in orange respect and allow them space when on water taxis etc. Girls should not touch them at all. Deemed very offensive.

    If you are with women who don't cover up and treat the local social customs with respect, it will be expected she is a prostitute. Especially in Dubai. She will be hassled, groped and touched and you will end up getting in a fight. Simply recommend they cover their arms, upper legs and possibly head. That's just the way it is.

    Also if you get asked if she is your wife, you will be doing her a great favour if you say 'yes'. Otherwise they will start hassling and bargaining for her. My sister did this as a joke in a bar in Dubai and they locals didn't take kindly to it when they were about to leave, (three camels and a goat I think!) ending up in a huge bar fight with the rest of the travellers.


  10. #10
    Widdler Rose Bud's Avatar
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    Part 3

    When arriving at Bangkok airport, get a group of 3 or 4 people and share a taxi from the taxi rank outside the front of the airport. It is as cheap as the bus to Khao San Rd and you get there long before the bus, so you may be luckier with the accomodation.

    The better accomodation is at the police station end of Khao San. The best one we found in the area is behind the temple on the OTHER side of the main road from the Police station. (Wild Orchid Villa -- 8 Soi Chanasongkarm, Pra Athit Road, Bangkok e-mail address:- wild_orchid_villa@hotmail.com)

    Yes you will get culture shock. India is a big shock and the first few days with the beggars and street people, will turn your stomach. You will get used to it and learn to walk 'with purpose'. In India there will ALWAYS be someone in your face, just watching, nothing else.

    Thailand is much more used to tourists and most people do the established Chang Mai route, with jungle trekking and rafting. It is pretty malaria free unless you go well off the beaten track to Laos or really deep into the jungle. The same for India really, but I would take professional advice from someone who knows where you are travelling well.

    The way to tell the 'ladyboys' from the ladies who come on to you, and they are beautiful, (everyone is shocked!) is to look at the adams apple. Chances are they will have a high neck top on, to hide it. If it is prominent, its a boy!

    Sorry this has turned into an epic. My only final comments I would make, is that we find when we are in someone elses country is to learn a handful of the basic words and customs. 'hello', 'thankyou' and 'goodbye' 'have a nice day' and then use them. It usually stops the people that hassle you in their tracks as you appear to be much more street wise. Just enough time to walk past them. Don't get angry with them just smile and say 'no budget, no budget' and walk past. They seem to understand that, rather than 'piss off', which offends and angers them. (They live here and HAVE to do this every day to survive, you are just a rich tourist who can afford to go anywhere in the world.) A bit of tipping goes a long way.

    If the law gets involved remember YOU are the forigner and you WILL not be believed. Keep calm and respectful.

    Travel is a fantastic way to open the mind and experience other viewpoints and values. It makes you question your attitudes and appreciate your home. I'm sure he will have a fantastic time, my only advice would be to stay 'aware' at all times. If he is turning it into one long trip from bar to bar, country to country it would be a missed opportunity in life and no amount of advice will be of any help.

    And very finally. I really don't know if the Aquapure bottle will be any use to him. If he is using the well beaten track with a group or with freinds, he will be well catered for. Water is only a few pence. If he is going into the wilds then I doubt if it would be enough.

    Enjoy the trip, it sounds great!

  11. #11
    ‹bermensch Terra Nova's Avatar
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    Wow!!! I think Rose Bud deserves a "tip" for that lot!

    I don't know how long your lad will be in India but he will learn very quickly. I was paranoid at first, and it added to a deep feeling of vulnerability - and an awful realisation of how filthy stinking rich I was in comparison. I will never allow anyone to slag the NHS now! I got through it. If he can get through India the rest will seem like a breeze.

    I agree with Rose a bar-to-bar, country-to-country trip will be a missed opportunity. There is no better way to see, and be at one with, a country than to trek it. Theres some spectacular stuff in Inida - the Himalayas are there!

    Anyway, you will be OD'd on advice now!!! Good luck!!

  12. #12
    Mini Goon
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    Remind your son not to forget his tooth brush.

  13. #13
    Initiate Richard Drew's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice

    Richard

  14. #14
    Widdler
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    Hand Sanitizer Must don't forget

  15. #15
    Dubai and India is one of the best place to travel.

  16. #16
    Widdler
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    There are many beautiful places in India, specially Himachal Pradesh

  17. #17
    Widdler
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    You need to consider buying an international travel insurance for the worst case. One of my friends went to Taiwan last month and he got a terrible car accident. One leg was broken as he had to go to the local hospital. The fee was around 2000$ but thanks to the insurance, he just had to pay a small amount of money.
    You should learn about the local people too, there are many scammers and robbers in India street, so pls be careful.

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