Top 10 Asia – things we would not miss.

with 20 Comments

In three days time we will celebrate twenty months on the road, on a journey across Asia without a date of return (yet). And feeling overly empowered by the experience, we have decided to enrich the popular section of “top things to do” with our best travel advices for the continent. Here are our top 10 Asia experiences, the things we would not miss no matter what.

India_Hitchhiking Goods Carrier

1. Drinking Water

We have said this before. Do not stay thirsty. Dehydration can have serious consequences. Water comes in all sorts of shapes, streams, lakes, seas, rivers, fountains, rains, taps and plastic bottles, etc. Most guidebooks will recommend you never to drink from the first seven of them. But believe us, if you are up in the hills without anything to drink, you will most probably be able to find the fantastic seven rather the plastic one. If you feel uneasy about the source consider boiling, filtering and purifying, and only then drinking it. It’s surprisingly simple to stay alive (when it comes to water, at least).

In China, water comes in hot thermos. Add a pinch of tea leaves to make it tasty.

2. A walk a day…

Keeps taxi drivers away. Not that we want them to stay jobless, but when we hear complains of travellers who are “attacked” by gangs of tuk tuk and taxi owners thirsty for a little business, we can only share one trick with them: smile, point to your feet and keep walking. Beware, that you will probably face back pain (heavy weight on your back), feet pain (if you walk more than a mile), sweat (remember this can cause dehydration. So see point number 1) and from time to time you may encounter angry dogs as you take your daily walk. If you are not ready for all this fun, resort to the smiliest tuk tuk driver and reach safely your destination.

A chinese hitchhiker

3. Shopping malls

They are great places to cool down after a long walk our of town. Toilets are usually spotless (and come with hand-drying machines and all!). Generally, the place feels cleaner than you, but nobody dares telling you off.

4. Shower

Taking on an Indian saying, we try to remind ourselves everyday that “shower is essential, from the cradle to the grave”. Speaking from experience, Boris has divided shower in three main categories: shower that you take on a personal initiative, shower that you take urged by your partner, and the one that is imposed upon you by a stranger who happens to sit next to you for long enough. On Marta’s side, we can see shower from a different perspective: shower you want to take more than once a day (when you are invited to a posh home and it looks like a spa), bath or shower that you would take every day (rivers, lakes tropical rain shower and bucket showers when it’s hot like hell) and the one that is always last on the list of “things to do today” (winter bucket shower, shower in the absence of water source, soap-less shower).

Issyk Kul_Salty lake_Mud copy

Note to travellers: if you need to decide between shower and dehydration, please follow the advices in number 1 and drink that water.

5. Speaking to strangers

Keeping silent is only advisable during meditation times. Other than that, please do not stay lonely, most people are friendly, good and hospitable, and most of the times happy to talk to you, regardless of whether you understand them or not. Nod, smile, and forget your phrasebook, it won’t help. With a bit of luck you will end up in the nearest bar having a beer (Except for Iran, where that will be tea with sugar or underground drinks, there are no licensed bars over there).

sq 4. Zewe Welcome comittee_hair examination_SQUARE

6. Coconuts

They are rich in fatty acids and a good healthy choice. Did you know that coconut water is a natural isotonic beverage? It has most of the good properties of sports drinks, like the electrolytes, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and even sodium and potassium. Although it misses Omega3 and B12, and it only contains negligeble traces of vegetable protein, it is nevertheless in overall good for your body and mind and it classifies as a superfood, according to some . But the best of all is that…it fall from trees!

Thailand_Ko Samui_Coconut affair

In case of emergencies, Polinesian doctors used to treat head injuries with coconut, to the point that there is evidence they used coconut shell to replace fragments of broken skull, sown, by the way, with coconut thread using a shark tooth (which is not coconut-made and non-vegan, but sounds cool to robinsons). Boris claims he has read this in a Thor Heyerdahl book, belive it or not, don’t try it at home (unless necessary).

7. Feeding stray animals

Not only because it is good karma, but because it is good. They are many, they are hungry and it is not their fault. 

Note: do not follow this indication if your see a big board warning you “do not feed the monkeys” or “do not feed the trolls”… there might be local and particular reasons for that. Ask around.


8. Swimming

If you can… and whenever you have the chance. It’s a great way to deal with the negative issues related in point number 4.

Travel Friends_Mickey copy

9. Sleep well

There is nothing better after a long day of sight-seeing in Asia than a good sleep. Go to bed early, for in most countries they wake early too and you won’t be spared the noise. If you are tired, find a shadow; if it’s dark, pinch your tent; if you re frightened look for shelter (or find a hostel) and in any case sleep well. Remember that any time is nap time! A practical study suggests that proper rest is associated with a drastic decrease in nail-biting. And it also helps with diabetes, heart issues, anxiety, libido and concentration, amongst a million of other benefits.

Beware that “when you’re overtired, you’re more likely to trip, or fall off a ladder, or cut yourself while chopping vegetables,” says Dr. A. Mindell, PhD, a professor at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and author of Sleep Deprived No More.

Top 10 Asia-sleep-Laos
Any place is good to take a nap.

10… Anyone else, top 10 Asia?

Ops, after writing number 9, we can only think of sleep. So we will let you choose yourself what the tenth unmissable thing to do in Asia should be. Or actually, you can leave us your full top 10 Asia in the comments. In any case, remember, that life is simple and so is travel.

Good night!

4.8 Georgia_Hippodrom

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Boris, Marta and Burma roam the world at a speed of a snail. Two humans and one cat that found their way to India overland.

20 Responses

  1. abhisek das
    | Reply

    Hey guys …first of all after a long time i really enjoyed reading a real life journey which surpasses all the barriers and adversaties natural in travelling. I dream of going abroad or mostly think of crossing tge border of India and pakistan in front of everyone during evening parade at wagha border and sometimes think of making train line across the border of india,pakistan,afganusthan,iran,iraq and then to your countries. Here deeds by you guys really make me feel that i am not that away from my dream at night,desire in the day and imagination when i read stories woven by you resolute gritty passionate human beings

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hey Abshiek! Beware of dreams…they come true! And yours is a risky one, albeit a beautiful one, of crossing borders in a better world. Wherever your feet take you, westwards or eastwards or anywhere else, happy travels! May our paths cross some day (maybe in Pakistan :))

    | Reply

    Greetings, I read your complete story and got really excited by your expidition of 511 days to India. I am a resident of Jaiour, Rajasthan and I would like to invite you to my place once for a meal or to sit down together and discuss about your experience. If you are still in India and have any plan of coming to Jaipur, let me know and be my guest.

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hey Avjot! Thanks for writing! We wanted to avoid Rajastan under the scorching sun of summer… as you can see we believe that dehydration is not fun and we are definitelly not used yet to the weather there…but jokes apart, we would love to visit Rajastan (Marta was there in 2009 and speaks wonders), maybe even this time. Will let you know if we go that way. All the best!

  3. ashwani
    | Reply

    Wow, you people have great spirit to travell across the world, without using plane or taxi, i wonder that what is the motivation behind such a voyage which demand so much efforts, i can guess only it must be curiosity to know the unknown or something else…..?????

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hi Ashwani! Thanks for writing! The motivation for the travel comes from dreams, for a wish to see what is beyond each corner, and a will to fill the map in our walls with real stories from actual places…maybe that and more. To travel by land, to hitchhike, was simply the best way we knew to move slowly. There are many others, and a million ways to travel :) Happy travels!

  4. Jamela Khan
    | Reply

    Hello, Just loved reading of your travels. If you had any ‘bad’ times you either omitted them or made light of them. Great spirit the two of you have.
    I loved you story and photos of Isfahan…a place I have always longed to visit ( I live in the Caribbean with complete freedom to be and wear whatever I please but I will easily adapt to local norms). The write up on the enameling workshop reminded me of a visit to a Chinese workshop for Cloisonné.
    With warmest best wishes and an invitation if ever you decide to visit Trinidad and Tobago….maybe on your way to the Rupununi in Guyana.

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hello Jamela! Thank you for the lovely message. Isfahan is amazing and all craft makers workshops my favourite places (Marta’s). One day, maybe, we will make it all the way to Trinidad and Tobago…the roads should turn waves for that though :) Best wishes!

  5. Jaipal singh
    | Reply

    Hey I don’t want to miss any story of yours they are real & great, they tell us about the other cultures,places ,peoples & so many other things.
    Will you be traveling to northern India,if any part of Punjab do let me know.

  6. Abhishek sharma
    | Reply

    Simply loved the sprit you guys have. India is a beautiful place hope you enjoy it to the fullest. Also you’re invited to the north eastern part of the country.

    Regards from Assam ( guwahati)

  7. Jossin
    | Reply

    Hi Burma, Marta and Boris, amazing guys you are..! Any plans of visiting kerala ( ? Please let me know..
    And, keep rocking..:))

  8. Arvind
    | Reply

    Boris and Marta,
    Lovely to have come across your travel lives! Your walk of life is truly inspirational, considering we (myself and my girl) also plan to explore at least a few parts of world before we die! Could you please shed some light on how you deal with food, language and finances while you cross borders? Also, is there a pre-plan when you set out? If there isn’t one, how do you decide ‘I’ve seen enough of this place. Time to move to the next one!’. Cheers and long live your travel spirits! \(^_^)/

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hi Arvind! Thanks for writing! If you plan to explore, you will, that’s how it goes. We have a post about practicalities, specially finances, that may shed some light to your questions, and if you want to know more you can write us an email, we will respond as good as we can.

      For the itineraries, we set a rough plan, made of dreams, wishes, places that catch our eye, recommendations and whatever lies on the road between one place and the next. Sometimes we follow it, sometimes we let a truck take us well beyond the place we thought we would end. And we usually never have enough of one place, but visa restrictions and the will to visit friends or places usually makes us continue. In Turkmenistan we spent 5 days and in Sikkim two months in a single village, so as you can see, it all depends :)

      Happy travels!

  9. Rutavi Mehta
    | Reply

    Hi Beautiful Couple of World,

    Well I refered to you guys this way as I always wanted my counter part to be as crazy as you both are. Giving in mind , I m solo Indian traveler sometime restrictions fail me.Wish I find my partner just like you to achieve something so crazy.. I read about you guys on Logical Indian and was wanting to know that I do travel blogger interviews on …Here is the sample Do you think we can do another short interview with you guys :)

    Happy travels !

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hi Rutavi! Thanks so much for the beautiful words! We were both lonely (solo) travellers once…and it took us quite some years to find a third companion on the way. But travelling on your own has its own sort of magic, don’t you think?

      We are most happy to collaborate with you on the interview. If you culd give us a few days margin, and send us the questions by email, we will come back to you asap :)

      You can write us to [email protected]

      And let’s keep in touch!


  10. deepak
    | Reply

    Hello, Just loved reading of your travels. I am traveler from India exploring the remote places and nature loves of South India mostly. If you have any plans to visit chennai or kerala it would be my pleasure to meet you. Your an real inspiration for People like me, as we have to fight hard from the emotional parental pressures for every travel.

    With lots of love wishing to see lots of new tweets and post:) :):)


  11. Gopalakrishnan Venugopalan
    | Reply

    Boris and Marta,
    All the wishes and thanks for the blog.Your pictures are simply amazing.Hope it is from a DSLR.Can share the details of that gear?

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hi Gopal! Thanks for writing!

      We have a Nikon D5000, bought in 2009, that has travelled way too much in our backpacks and is not at its best, but still carries on.

      It broke two times along the way and by now it has no autofocus, no light measurement, and a falling battery, and a fake Chinese charger…but it holds on to us like a dear friend :)

      We have two lenses too, a fixed Nikkor 35, and a Sigma zoom 70-300, although we barely use the second one. I love my fixed lens above all. Just wish I had a wide angle for landscapes though…but that will be for another travel, another time :)

      Hope this answers your questions, and explains the slight lack of focus in some of the shots… hehe

      All the best!

  12. Subhash
    | Reply

    Hi there,

    Amazing!!! no words!! seriously wanted to catchup with you people if you still in india :) I am sure there will be many things we can share and discuss, and consider this as an invite to stay at my home for a night or 2 to explore my place too :)
    will write more about me to your email address :)

    Kudos to you people!!!! i am impressed :)


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