How to avoid getting sick in Southeast Asia

5 tips on how to avoid getting sick in Southeast Asia

Before sharing my top 5 tips on how to avoid getting sick in Southeast Asia

First-time travelers’ concerns about traveling Southeast Asia will be eating spicy food, staying with many different people in the dorms, getting mugged, motorbike accidents, or getting sick. But the most common problem for first-time travelers in Southeast Asia is to get sick. There is nothing worse than getting sick on your travel. You are far from your home, your family, and your friends. When you get sick, you are not only becoming physically weak but also you will suffer from homesick and loneliness. But don’t worry! As I stay longer in Southeast Asia, I learned simple but effective travel hacks not to get sick in Southeast Asia. Here are my Top 5 tips on how to avoid getting sick in Southeast Asia for you.

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Top 5 tips on how to avoid getting sick in Southeast Asia

Koh Rong Samloem - Koh Rong - Cambodia - Southeast Asia - 5 tips on how to avoid getting sick in Southeast Asia

1.Take your soap or hand sanitizer

Unfortunately, there aren’t many places that have soap in the toilet in Southeast Asia. After using the bathroom (especially after your”big business”), you will need to clean your hands. So it’s a must to bring your own soap or antiseptic liquid to clean your hands! So that you won’t have to worry about getting sick from not washing your hands on your Southeast Asia trip!

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2. Avoid raw food! Eat fried food or warm food!

No raw food!

In warm countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries, it’s best to avoid raw food like fresh salad or raw fish. It sounds very logical but so many people put themselves into a trap of eating raw seafood or fresh salad because they sound very healthy and people want to eat healthy food on their travel and ended up getting sick while traveling Southeast Asia! But I’m telling you not to eat raw food!

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Somtam - Thai food - Thailand - Southeast Asia - 5 tips on how to avoid getting sick in Southeast Asia
Somtam is an exception. Somtam is a papaya salad. It is a typical Thai dish that is seasoned with fish sauce, lime, and spicy chilly. It is so fresh that you are unlikely to get sick from eating Somtam. But maybe you should have to say “No spicy!” if you can’t handle spicy food!

Most countries in Southeast Asia, the water could be contaminated or the vegetables could go bad earlier because of the hot temperature. Instead of taking raw food, order something fried or boiled! Then you get hardly ever sick because the food is well-cooked, you don’t have to worry the food have gone bad or not.

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Eat either fried or warm food

Pad Thai - Thai food - Thailand - Southeast Asia - 5 tips on how to avoid getting sick in Southeast Asia
Pad Thai is a typical stir-fried food that is perfectly safe to eat in Thailand. Maybe this is why foreign travelers love Pad Thai!

Instead of eating raw food like salad, you’d better eat fried food or warm food in Southeast Asia. Warm food in 38 degrees temperature? It sounds insane to eat warm food in hot countries like Thailand and Cambodia, right? But the thing is that people in Southeast tend to put vegetables and other food ingredients outside except for meat, so there is a slight chance of getting sick from uncooked food. So it’s logical to eat well-cooked food in Southeast Asia! Make sense, right? 

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Choose a place to eat wisely!

Street food

I’m a big fan of street food in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asian street food is simply amazing! They are much cheaper than touristy restaurants and delicious! But I should give you an advice how to avoid getting sick in Southeast Asia while enjoying street food.

Find a street food stand where many people are eating since busy places are more likely to use fresh ingredients. And try to eat at a place where a chef cooks right in front of you as you order food. Then, the food is freshly-made for just for you after your order, not the ones that sit on the food stand for ages in a hot and humid weather.

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3. Don’t forget to take Electrolyte with a lot of water


Electrolyte? When I first heard other travelers taking Electrolyte back in November 2015 at Wat Phra Doi Suthep, I had no idea what it was. They told me that they are feeling much better after taking Electrolyte in a hot and humid place like Thailand!

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Taking electrolyte is a must!

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After a few months, when I lived in Koh Tao for two months, I realized the importance of Electrolyte since I sweated so much living on an island. It was really hot and I sweated so much. I felt exhausted so easily and I had a headache. I didn’t know why. One of my friends told me I was dehydrated so I should drink lots of water with Electrolyte. I saw many people who had light symptoms of a cold or just being dehydrated take Electrolyte, and people see an instant fix in their condition. So I definitely recommend taking Electrolyte with lots water when you plan to travel to Southeast Asia. It’s a must to survive in a tropical weather, and avoid getting sick in Southeast Asia!

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4. Be careful with A/C

People, especially from Northern European or western European countries like Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, are shocked by the heat and the humidity of Southeast Asia. And then they made a choice to stay in a room with Air Conditioner. It sounds fine…? But actually not. I saw so many people getting sick after sleeping in the room of 20 something degrees Celcius and then walking around the streets like 30 something degrees during the day. So I advise you to wear something warm or ask a reception to get you extra blankets while sleeping if you don’t want to catch a cold!

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5. Don’t forget to put mosquito repellent!

Dengue fever and Malaria?!

Have you heard about Dengue fever? Then what about Malaria? I’m pretty sure that you’ve heard about Dengue fever or Malaria if you prepare your trip to Southeast Asia. I don’t want to scare you but I’ve met a few travelers in Southeast Asia who suffered from Dengue fever and Malaria. It’s bad. You spend money seeing a doctor. You have to stay in bed for at least a few days on your travel. Also, there’s nothing that you really can’t do about it except for taking medicine, drinking enough water and resting. It really sucks to get sick on your travel!

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Take mosquito repellent wherever you go

So here is my last advice on how to avoid getting sick in Southeast Asia. I know you are busy traveling and sometimes you forget to take your mosquito repellent with you, but please do bring your mosquito repellent if you really don’t want any chance to catch Dengue fever and Malaria. It’s also good to wear long sleeves and long pants if you go on hiking to the jungle. It’s better to be safe than to get sick, right?

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I hope my top 5 tips how to avoid getting sick in Southeast Asia help you prepare traveling in Southeast Asia safe! If you have traveled to Southeast Asia already, then do you have special tips on how to avoid getting sick in Southeast Asia? Please share it with us in the comments! Sharing is caring! 😉

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