Before your travels
Check the visa requirements for your country in the countries you are traveling to.
Start your travels in big cities.
Check if an AirAsia ASEAN Pass fits your travels (This allows you to take 10/20 flights for 160/290 USD within 30/60 days).
South East Asia on a Shoestring from Lonely Planet is worth its price.
Check in advance which vaccines you need.
Take a small medicine kit with you.
Hostels and guesthouses offer washing services everywhere. Take clothes for a week and travel light.
Get a credit card without foreign fee.
Have some cash (EUR or USD) with you for emergencies.
Take a couple of locks with you.
Don´t bring toiletries. Instead, get them at a local supermarket on your first day.
Carry a copy of your passport with you.
Have a copy of your passport, ID´s, credit cards and other important documents in a cloud.
Book a multi-stop flight or travel in circles to make the most of your trip.
Get some information at WikiTravel on how to get from the airport to the center. They have complete guides about this matter.
Take a small backpack for day trips.
During your travels
If you are traveling in low season, don´t book accommodation in advance. Simply write down a couple of addresses beforehand and check them out once you are there.
Draft a sketch of the route you want to travel.
Start at the most expensive destinations (Singapore or Malaysia). This will help you balancing your budget better.
Don´t spend much time in big cities. – 2 or 3 nights in Bangkok or Singapore should be enough.
Avoid drinking every day. South East Asia is full of travelers drinking the whole time; try not to be one of them.
Get a PADI certificate in Koh Tao or Koh Phi Phi or El Nido.
Don´t worry too much about street food.
In cities like Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur you should act like a local when you are getting a cab. Simply get in the car and don´t ask “how much”. If the taxi does not start the taximeter, just tell the driver that you will take another cab.
Drink at least two bottles of water a day.
Drink the tap water in Singapore. It´s free and clean.
Wanna go partying in Singapore? Go on Wednesdays, many clubs have free entrance and even free drinks for the girls.
Drink natural juices every day. You will miss that back home!.
Book your bus tickets at least a couple of days in advance. Especially if you are traveling in high season.
Compare tour prices. It will help you save some money after a couple of months.
South East Asia is extremely safe! However, avoid being alone and under alcohol influence in dark places.
Respect the culture! Don´t go to temples in tank tops and short skirts, save those for the beach parties.
Hostels in big cities are great places to meet people if you are traveling alone.
Save money and time by taking overnight buses.
Use the slow boat to travel from Thailand to Laos by land. It is worth the long journey.
Book your accommodation based on two aspects: Cleanness and location.
Leave your passport and credit cards in the safe back at the hotel ALL the time.
DON’T get a motorbike if you have never driven one before. There is a stupidly big chance that you will have at least a small accident and pay money you will need later.
Be careful if you are taking drugs. Most South East Asian countries have very severe sentences for drug traffickers and consumers. (Especially young uninformed travelers)
Get an underwater camera.
Bring a travel adapter.
Don´t abuse the power of bargain. What for you is simply a latte in the morning is for them a meal for their families.
Watch the sunrise in Bagan, Angkor Wat or Borobudur. It will be worth the early wake up.
Go to at least one big party at the beach. (The Full Moon Party is very crowded and well liked).
Try new food. It´s the only way to know if you like it or not.
Take local transportation instead of pre organized trips. You will support the local economy.
It´s not a crime to eat Western food during your travels.
Do many outdoor activities – Climb, swim, wander more.
And again… Report home continuously! You don’t want your mom posting your photo on Facebook claiming that her son has been missing for a couple of weeks.