Be aware: Travel health risks in Asia for you and your kids

Traveling to out-of-the-way places is a fantastic way to educate your children about different cultures, and bond with them as well. However, there are many dangers when you’re travelling in foreign countries. Aside from strange insects and exotic food, you may have to put up with unsanitary conditions.
Here are some off-the-beaten-track destinations you can visit in Asia along with facts you should know about the potential dangers you may encounter when travelling. Be sure to check out the useful tips and advice on protecting yourself and your kids for an enjoyable and safe travel.
Ha Long Bay is a popular tourist destination in Vietnam, known for the hundreds of limestone islands topped with dense vegetation that dot the bay (which made it a World Heritage site), beaches, and fishing villages. If you can, choose to go in November, when it isn’t so humid and tropical storms are not yet in evidence.
The best way to experience it is on a cruise, but you have to be careful about choosing the right one. You can get an overnight cruise tour for as little as $60 a person, but safety will not be as taken care of as compared to high-end day tour or mid-range overnight cruise. If you can go for the latter types of tour, just to be on the safe side.
These cruise tours will take you to some of the top attractions in the area, including stops at Hang Thien Cung and Hang Dau Go caves, and many includes an hour or so of kayaking.
Safety tips:
  • If you are pregnant, you should postpone your trip. Zika is endemic in Vietnam, so the risks are low, but it would be safer not to go.
  • Make sure you have all the routine vaccinations for you and your children before your trip, as well as vaccines for Hepatitis A, typhoid, rabies, and Japanese encephalitis.
  • Beware of jellyfishes if you plan to go swimming, which are abundant in the area.
  • Strong currents can develop without warning. Do not allow your children to swim without supervision, have them wear life vests, and stay close to the boat at all times.
  • Pack light; you may have to hop on several boats to get to yours.
  • Bring lots of mosquito repellent and apply liberally every two hours.

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Thailand- Tiger Cave Temple (Krabi)

The Tiger Cave Temple or "Wat Tam Seua" is one of the most sacred places in the Krabi province.
Legend has it that a monk that went to meditate in the cave observed tigers roaming around it. You can still see what might be tiger paw prints on the walls of the temple.  A golden Buddha sits at the summit of the temple, but you have to climb 1,237 steps to get there.
Some of the stair risers are a foot or more high, so you have to be pretty fit to get there. The view at the summit is spectacular, however, so it is worth the effort. You can see most of Krabi from there on a clear day, and many of the surrounding temples as well. You can also make at stop at 184 steps to see where the monks live.
Safety tips:
  • Monkeys abound in the lower areas, and many will make off with your hat or smart phone if you give them half a chance. They may look cute, but they bite. DO NOT FEED OR TEASE THEM. Keep away from them, and hang on to your valuables.
  • You have to keep your shoulders and knees covered when you visit. Wear light comfortable clothing and sturdy shoes, and bring bottled water for the climb.
  • If you are pregnant, better postpone your trip. As in Vietnam, Zika is also endemic in Thailand. While risks might be low it is still better to err on the side of caution.
  • Ensure that you have all the routine vaccinations for you and the entire family. Make sure that you include vaccines for Hepatitis A, typhoid, rabies, and Japanese encephalitis.

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Banteay Srei is one of the temples in Angkor, and is one of the most well-preserved and beautiful sites to visit in the area.
Dedicated to Shiva, the stone carvings are very intricate and finely made from red sandstone. The carvings include women with lotus flowers, and depictions of the Ramayana.  
For the artistically inclined, the temple provides hours of study and admiration.  For most tourists, it is a delightful and well-appointed stop, It is part of a typical half-day tour that may also include the Cambodia Landmine Museum and Banteay Samre.
You may also arrange for a homestay in the area to give you time to explore.
Safety tips:
  • The best way to go around Angkor to see the temples is by hiring a tuk-tuk driver for the day. Cambodia is very hot, and while many people use bikes, it is not recommended for tourists not used to the climate.
  • Pack at least a liter of drinking water for each person.
  • Travel light; you will be doing a lot of walking.
  • Wear modest clothing.
  • Pregnant women better postpone the trip as Zika is also endemic in Cambodia. Better be safe even though the risks might be low.
  • Get all the routine vaccinations and better to have vaccines for Hepatitis A, typhoid, rabies, and Japanese encephalitis as well.
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Historically, the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace is a fascination.
While none of the main buildings are intact, the walls, moats, and entrance gates give you a good idea of what it looked like when it was the heart of the Edo Castle’s defenses(honmaru).  
You can imagine to your heart’s content while roaming the lawns and Japanese style garden constructed in lieu of the buildings of the ninomaru (secondary circle or defense).
Edo Castle was where the Tokugawa shoguns lived from 1603 to 1867. You can see portraits of all the emperors in the Imperial Palace sanctuary.
Safety tips:
  • There is usually a long line to get into the Imperial Palace, so make sure you’re not in a hurry. It is closed on the emperor’s birthday.
  • You cannot eat, drink or smoke inside. Don’t litter.
  • You can bring a camera, but not selfie sticks, tripods, or drones.
  • In case of an earthquake, stay indoors.
  • Do not walk alone in the streets, especially at night and if you are obviously a foreign woman. You may be the target of unwanted, or even violent, attention.
  • Carry communication cards with you in case of emergencies; many people do not understand English.
  • Have all the routine vaccinations for you and the entire family. Include vaccines for Hepatitis A, rabies, and Japanese encephalitis as well.

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Myanmar (formerly Burma) - Su Taung Pyai Pagoda 

The Buddhist Temple Su Taung Pyai (which means “wish granting”) Pagoda is a great way to get a sunset view of Mandalay, the former capital of the Myanmar dynasty and the second biggest city in the country. It is quite a steep climb from the South Entrance at 760 feet, involving 1,729 steps.
However, it is a covered walkway, and you can make frequent stops along the way to buy snacks or souvenirs, or to check the many shires and Buddha statues. You may also eschew most of the climb altogether by asking a taxi driver to drive you to nearly the top, where you can ride an escalator to the top. You may encounter several monks, many of whom are friendly.
Safety tips:
  • You may not wear shoes inside the temple. You may leave your shoes outside, where someone will keep them safe for you. You may wear socks if you wish.
  • It is relatively safe in Mandalay, but some areas in Myanmar are closed to tourists. Avoid Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States.
  • Dress modestly, as Myanmar is quite conservative.
  • It is polite to hand over and receive money with the right hand.
  • Do not take photos of any political event or demonstration; ethnic unrest is still a big issue, and you do not want to be caught in the middle.
  • Use insect repellent if you are going outdoors.
  • Drink only bottled water, and eat only in places that are well patronized to make sure there is a good turnover of food.
  • Avoid raw vegetables and dairy products unless they are clearly marked as pasteurized.
  • Be careful walking along and crossing the street, especially at night. There are frequent holes in the pavements you can trip on, and drivers frequently travel without their lights on.
  • Myanmar is not disabled friendly.
  • Avoid public displays of affection; homosexuality is illegal in Myanmar, although it is tolerated in most parts of the country, especially in Yangon.
  • Avoid dogs, monkeys, and other animals. Beware of snakes.
  • Make sure you have all the routine vaccinations for you and your children before your trip, as well as vaccines for Hepatitis A, rabies, typhoid, and malaria.

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Author’s Bio: Stacey Marone is a freelance writer for . She is fascinated with traveling, exploring new cultures, languages and people. Her hobby is to gather interesting facts and stories and she gladly shares them with everybody.

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