Health Tips and Advice
Inoculation Certificate & Hepatitis
You are not required of any inoculation certificate to enter any of the countries we currently offer trips to. The places our tours take you to are generally safe from a health point of view. Our top concern is hepatitis A & B regardless of the country you travel to. We do not recommend shots for tetanus and rabies. However, we do suggest that you visit a travel clinic or your family doctor or the websites of the U.S. CDC and Health Canada for more information.
Travellers going to Tibet, Zhongdian (Shangri-la) and Kashgar are strongly advised to visit their family doctor a few weeks before the trip to discuss if it is necessary to go on acetazolamide/Diamox believed to be effective for altitude sickness. The altitudes of the above locations range from 3,300 metres (10,824 feet) to 4,700 metres (15,416 feet) above sea level.
Try to avoid uncooked food. Even the food you eat is clean, you may still experience stomach upsets or diarrhea due to ingredients your stomach is not used to.
Tap water is not safe to drink except in Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. Ask for bottled or boiled water when eating in restaurants in other countries.
When buying bottled water from street vendors, especially at tourist sites, make sure the cap is properly sealed because some vendors may be selling tap water in recycled bottles.
Toilet Paper & Hand Sanitizer
Always carry with you a roll of toilet paper and a bottle of hand sanitizer containing more than 60% of alcohol, no matter where you go. Many of the toilets have no toilet paper, soap, and paper towels to dry hands. Some of our guests even have soap and a cloth towel in their day pack, which is a very smart thing to do.
Many Buddhist temples in Thailand and Myanmar require the visitor to remove shoes and socks before entering. Since the grounds can be very dirty, we recommend that you bring along some wet wipes or towels to wipe your feet.
Stomach Upset and Food Poisoning
Westerners visiting poor countries such as Myanmar and Cambodia are extremely prone to gastrointestinal troubles. Every precaution should be taken to safeguard your health. Good practices include keeping your hands clean, avoiding contact between your mouth and hands as much as possible, staying away from raw food and street-side food stalls. If you have to rub your eyes, try to use the back of your hand. Remember that even seemingly clean restaurants can get you violently sick often due to water contamination, which is a major problem in countries such as Myanmar and Cambodia. So when eating in a restaurant, only order freshly cooked hot food. Beverages you order should be properly sealed by original manufacturers. Do not ask for ice and try to avoid using glasses or cups provided by the restaurants – it’s safer to drink direct from the bottle or can.
Many of our guests travelling to these countries carry antibiotics. We strongly recommend that you speak to your doctor for the type of antibiotics you should bring as the choice of antibiotics can vary depending on the destination.
Some over-the-counter drugs, such as Lomotil or Imodium, can treat the symptoms of diarrhea. These drugs decrease the frequency and urgency of needing to use the bathroom and thus make it easier for you to ride on a bus or airplane.
Some believe Florastor prevents diarrhea and reduces symptoms for acute infectious diarrhea if taken as recommended. Florastor is a specific form of yeast also known as Brewer’s Yeast, Hansen CBS 5926, Levure de Boulangerie, and Probiotic. Florastor has been used as a probiotic, or “friendly bacteria”, to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the stomach and intestines. It is often sold as a herbal supplement. As there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds, it is crucial that you buy such products from reliable sources to minimize the risk of contamination.