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Thread: touring asia

  1. #1
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    touring asia

    im 15, and i have 2 more years of highschool, right when i get out of high school, i want to go on a longggg tour through asia for as long as i can, and just because im a kid, doesnt mean that i just made this up with my friends last week, ive been planing on going about a couple of years of ago, and i still want to now, i have heard a lot from my family saying, "hope u dont die" and saying its very unsafe for me to go there, im part mexican, indian, white, but i look mainly white, does anyone know about how safe it is over there in general, because i dont want to get shot, i also want to start out in the summer at the northern part of china and/or south korea, and work my way down to laos so by the time i get to the warmer countrys, it will be winter, so i wont have to be in a humid super hot place, but mainly i want to know if its safe over there for me to just peddle on through

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    China, vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have the reputation of being fairly safe destinations. The main problems you may face are more administrative (e.g. there are still many places where it is illegal to be for a foreigner in China)... it won't help that you did not reach legal age by that time.

    What are your main concerns? What are the concerns of your familly?

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    Quote Originally Posted by errolprowse
    im 15, and i have 2 more years of highschool, right when i get out of high school, i want to go on a longggg tour through asia for as long as i can, and just because im a kid, doesnt mean that i just made this up with my friends last week...
    Yes it does.


    Just kidding. People in other countries don't usually go around shooting foreigners. But you will have legal issues if you aren't 18.

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    I've biked in SE Asia (twice), and I felt pretty safe everywhere. Northern Thailand was one of my very best trips, and the winter is definitely the time to go there (or to Laos). Bad luck can happen anywhere in the world, but east and southeast Asia don't have a reputation for danger. Sounds like you've thought about it in a logical and intelligent manner in terms of climate and seasons.

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    alright, i dont think age will be an issue, i will have to wait three months after i get out of high school, in that time i will get everything prepared, save up the final amount of money if there is, and by the time i get there, i will be eighteen, oh and about the danger stuff, my dad and friends say that, most people over there dont like americans, so i was just checking with people that actually have experince than my family and people that never even stepped foot over there, thanks

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    I'm an american and I've been over there and have gotten along with everyone. Most people hate the government of the US, but seem to be very kind to US citizens.

    Just don't fall in love with the first girl that you meet. And you will meet girls. Lots of girls.

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    Asia is one of the few places where there is little antipathy towards americans or more justly, as eastbaybob said, the US government. Not a big problem in my opinion... just don't carry a big flag that would attract the very very very very few angry ones.

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    that encourages me and takes that fear away, thanks

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    that encourages me and takes that fear away, thanks

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    i'm from china. people are quite friendly to foreigners here.


    http://bbs.chinabike.tv
    my bike forum. welcome to leave your message there:)

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    thats good to know

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    While I don't want to discourage you from pursuing a dream, perhaps you should start off doing some bike touring in the US first. With no language barriers, culture shock, and a much shorter distance from home, you can get some good experience in managing your affairs while on a tour without much risk. Maybe a jaunt through Mexico so you can get some experience with third world conditions.

    I would be less worried about personal safety than I would that you might get robbed (tourists are often targeted), get sick (hygeine is sometimes lacking in the third world), or get into legal trouble (know the laws before you go!). Trying to arrange for medical care, flights home, or legal help from the other side of the world can be very difficult. On the other hand, most people in the world are kind hearted and will go out of their way to help out a poor schmuck that has gotten in a bind.

    Travelling on your own (I presume) on the other side of the world can be a bit daunting for anyone. Have you considered finding a commercial tour company and taking an organised tour? It might be a good introduction and would help alleviate your family's concerns. With some experience in the region, you would be better prepared to plan your next trip.

    If you do intend to go it alone, you might start now to investigate what are the requirements for travelling through China and where you can, and cannot go. You might also want to investigate visa policies for China and the other countries you want to visit to make sure that you can get permission to stay for the length of time you want to be there.

    www.mrpumpy.net might be a good resource for southern Asia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    I would be less worried about personal safety than I would that you might get robbed (tourists are often targeted), get sick (hygeine is sometimes lacking in the third world), or get into legal trouble (know the laws before you go!). Trying to arrange for medical care, flights home, or legal help from the other side of the world can be very difficult. On the other hand, most people in the world are kind hearted and will go out of their way to help out a poor schmuck that has gotten in a bind.
    This really sounds unnecessarily frightening. I'm curious if you have any first-hand experience cycling in Asia? I've biked in over 30 countries, and my touring in the Golden Triangle area of Thailand was one of the easiest and most enjoyable of all. Another trip to Malaysia was pretty easy, too. The only time I've ever gotten sick enough on tour that I needed to seek medical help was in North America (not sure if I contracted my illness in the US or Canada), and the only time I was ever in physical danger was in Europe. Bad things can happen to you anywhere, and I really think that where errolprowse is talking about going is safer than much of the world.

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    I think you're well ahead of the curve right now. You're planning for a trip in two years to some foreign place, I just don't see what could go wrong with proper planning.

    Because you're not leaving for a couple of years I would start now to learn a bit of chinese, maybe a bit of Thai which can be used there and in Laos. And you don't need to know it fluently, just enough to ask for food, and to find a hotel. If your high school doesn't offer chinese, find a chinese person to help you out, they're all over the place now. I got a CD program from the public library and burned copies of the CD's. A bit of language will really help out as once you get out in the sticks English isn't widely spoken.

    Now that you got the language out of the way, its time for trip planning. Here are some good sites for cycling journals: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com http://www.swb.de/personal/elch/e_tours.html http://www.raph.nl/ there are probably more, but those are on my favorites list.

    County information is all over the place. I like to read www.lonelyplanet.com the Thorntree is a good board for information on the various countries and they also have a good section for bike touring, better than this one in that it is more international in scope.

    As far as going on an organized tour, skip that, nothing but a rip off. You're going to Asia, you can make it on $15.00 a day no problem, why pay some company $100.00+ a day to do the same thing.

    I think mental prepairdness will be the toughest thing for you. Asia, its not like home, everyone is going to speaking some foreign language, and looking at you, and the food will smell different and there will be **** everywhere, it ain't like home. It's not even like Chinatown. I think by reading and learning that you can sort of prepare yourself, but you don't know how you'll react until you get there. This is where a bit of the language is going to help. Maybe what else would help is to find someone on the internet that you could hook up with at your starting point, a girl would be preferable, a spend a few days getting over jet lag hanging out with a chinese chick, that would be fantastic.

    When I look back on my mostly failed life, I think what would I have done different. And what I would have done is gotten a degree in International Relations, and married a flight attendant from China Airlines. And after reading your post, I think what you're doing is 100% perfect, and you're going to a place that is fantastic. I wish you nothing but the best of luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eastbaybob
    Because you're not leaving for a couple of years I would start now to learn a bit of chinese.
    I think this is the best piece of advice so far. This would make your trip much more enjoyable and is a skill that would follow you for the rest of your life. I am strugling to learn chinese right now and now that I am older and wish I would have put the effort when my learning abilities were at their peak. When I went to China two years ago, I was only able to engage in small talks and order very basic things... fortunately my partner is Chinese and we were able to enjoy our stay much better thanks to her ability to speak mandarin... We met more people, went for a few beers with some of them and learned about nice places to visit and cool things to do.

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    As someone currently living in Taiwan (close enough ... right?) and biking around everyday, I can say that mental preparedness is one thing, but experience is a much better teacher. Buy a book on touring, hang out at your LBS and learn to take apart a bike and put it back together. As far as Chinese goes, it will get you part of the way, but because its tonal, you would benefit greatly from finding a Mandarin teacher in your area. Without correct tonal pronunciation (there are 5 tones) you won't be intelligible in the least to the average Joe.

    Definitely go on as many tours as you can while still at home, and get as much gear as you will need there. Roads and cities in Asia are made for bicycles, as they are the primary means of transportation for almost all of the populace. While most are motor-driven now, its still two-wheeled.

    Between countries, your costs are going to run primarily on Visa's. Get everything arranged there FAR in advance. You don't want to be sitting at a border paying out the nose, or, worse yet, being rejected.

    Safety isn't an issue. Do you plan on going fully self-supported (camping?) or jumping from one hostel / hotel to the next? Watch out for people trying to give you stuff, or messing with your bags. More than one foreigner has gotten into trouble for drugs planted on their person (though this usually only happens in airports).

    At the end of the day, a cheerful attitude, a big dumb grin and some sign language will get you further than you would imagine.

    Best of luck.

  17. #17
    ROM 6:23 flipped4bikes's Avatar
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    Go to downtheroad.org

    That's about as definitive as it gets for travelling through Asia...not to sound like a codger, but aren't you a little young to attempt this?

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    I remember daydreaming about my trip to South East Asia when I was 15 in high school. I soaked a lot of time looking through lonely planet travel guides, and convinced my best buddy to go with me for half a year after we graduated. We both learned so much, and shared some amazing experiences. For us, it was far better to go on our own without a tour company, and we ended up doing thing and going places that we never had planned. I guess it made a lasting impact on both of us, my friend returned to Asia 6 more times, and I have been touring the world ever since. Bonne Route!

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    Between countries, your costs are going to run primarily on Visa's. Get everything arranged there FAR in advance. You don't want to be sitting at a border paying out the nose, or, worse yet, being rejected.
    This may have given the mistaken impression that crossing any border in Asia is always a big deal. Not so. I would agree that you should research it in advance and make arrangements as necessary. However, in many cases, you can simply show up at a border and enter. For example, when I was in Chiang Kong, (northern ) Thailand on the Mekong river on the border with Laos in early 2003, it had recently become possible to enter Houei Xay, Laos (across the river) without obtaining a visa in advance.

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    Cycling in Asia is quite safe. Cyclists for the most part get good receptions from most everyone in Southeast Asia, as well as in China. As mentioned in some previous replies, your biggest headaches will be governments . . crossing borders and staying out of restricted areas in some countries. Crossing the borders in Southeast Asia is getting easier, many issuing visas on the border. But it is always subject to changes of governments.

    Since your trip is in the future, you have lots of time to research your desitinations and talk to riders who have been there.

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    I do agree with meteparozzi that getting through some borders can be a pain... the problems come when the border guards are looking for a little "consideration" for their time and efforts, and getting around that can be hard work... whilst other times they can be very easy... it's just so variable so you're best being aware of the chance of it going wrong. As far as the people in Asia being friendly, I would definately agree.. it's too easy for some people to distrust those from another culture.

    A lot of research and experience will go a long way to helping you fulfil your dream... so read up on those countries you want to go to, go on some long tours, and build up to that dream of touring asia... and all that effort will pay off with your tour being a dream instead of a nightmare.

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    [QUOTE=meteparozzi](there are 5 tones) [QUOTE]

    I'm just curious... what's the fifth one? I always thought there was only 4 tones in Mandarin...

  23. #23
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    start making friends now. nothing beats having a friend or two (or more) in the countries you're going to. you'll get much deeper into the culture, maybe get to stay with them , etc. it's also good in the sense that you're not just a traveling "vagabond" (from the perspective of customs officials and police, etc), but someone with connections in the country, going to visit friends. and if you should have any problems (getting sick, etc.) having someone who can make a phone call or two is a great asset.

    here's a good link to start with. doing a search will land you many more.

    http://www.its-myworld.com/open/penpals.asp

    you can both post your own message and read hundreds of others.

    as far as your safety issues are concerned, cr@p happens everywhere in the world. where you're headed is about as safe as anywhere, as long as you use a little common sense. and as someone noted, although tourists are often targeted for their money, such theives and pickpockets generally congregate in "tourist" areas, looking for careless people with big bucks. you're not likely to find yourself in such places very often, if ever.
    i think that the scaredest i've ever been on my bike was coming into new york city at around 2 in the morning. i got lost someplace (bronx? brooklyn??) and rode around for what seemed hours, too afraid to stop and ask for directions or even take a look at my map because people were tearing apart cars right on the street. (i had just turned 18 the day before) i finally stopped someplace in manhattan at around 4 a.m.

    i'm sure you'll have a great trip

  24. #24
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meteparozzi
    As someone currently living in Taiwan (close enough ... right?) and biking around everyday, I can say that mental preparedness is one thing, but experience is a much better teacher. Buy a book on touring, hang out at your LBS and learn to take apart a bike and put it back together. As far as Chinese goes, it will get you part of the way, but because its tonal, you would benefit greatly from finding a Mandarin teacher in your area. Without correct tonal pronunciation (there are 5 tones) you won't be intelligible in the least to the average Joe.

    Definitely go on as many tours as you can while still at home, and get as much gear as you will need there. Roads and cities in Asia are made for bicycles, as they are the primary means of transportation for almost all of the populace. While most are motor-driven now, its still two-wheeled.

    Between countries, your costs are going to run primarily on Visa's. Get everything arranged there FAR in advance. You don't want to be sitting at a border paying out the nose, or, worse yet, being rejected.

    Safety isn't an issue. Do you plan on going fully self-supported (camping?) or jumping from one hostel / hotel to the next? Watch out for people trying to give you stuff, or messing with your bags. More than one foreigner has gotten into trouble for drugs planted on their person (though this usually only happens in airports).

    At the end of the day, a cheerful attitude, a big dumb grin and some sign language will get you further than you would imagine.

    Best of luck.
    Actually, most of the Chinese Buffets in the US are staffed by either Mandarin or Cantonese speakers in my experience. How's that for cool, a valid reason to go to an all you can eat buffet! Most of the staff here in my town know I'm learning Mandarin myself and are very helpful! They don't even laugh at me when I mangle the language horribly or accidentally misspeak and what I'm trying to say doesn't even remotely match what came out of my mouth! I think the funniest mistake I ever made in Mandarin was when I accidentally told a waitress that her ancestors flew up her nose or some such! I don't even remember what I was trying to say, but that's what came out!
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

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  25. #25
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Ok, I know this isn't as thread about language gaffes, but I have a friend with excellent English, except for the one time she wanted to tell me that she had applied hand cream and expressed that by saying, "It's ok, I already creamed myself."

    I then almost creamed myself from laughter.

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