Travel as a woman in Asia

Travel as a woman in Asia

Ok, let’s get down to some girltalk. A few of you might recognize yourself in this and for some this might be new. I will get very private with you here so just bare with me (sensitive readers might find this a bit disturbing).

Before traveling to Vietnam I had heard stories of there being no regular toilets, no hygien whatsoever and so forth. But I didn’t imagine what a project it could be being a woman in Vietnam, or in Asia for that matter. Especially when it comes to “that ” time of the month.

Everything is so annoying and irritable and hard that period anyways, why would I a need another thing or two to add to that list?

My period started when I got on the airplane (always does for some reason), and lasted for the entire first week.

Very early I realized that I had to plan ahead to be able to cope with being a woman.
We traveled a lot by bus and by car or minivan during our stay in Vietnam and if you don’t ask, noone will inform you that your sleeperbus has no toilet. And the busride takes a minimum of 13 hours.

This particular busride I thought to myself that I had to go before even getting on the bus, but a bit stressed, I figured I’d go to the bathroom on the bus, since the last one had a relatively clean one. But there where no bathroom. And there was already a minicrisis in my underwear.

I could feel the panic rushing through. Last time this happened everything came pouring down my legs when I stood up. Long pants that time, shorts this time. Panic was knocking on the door.

Traveling in Vietnam and Asia usually means a lot of traveling around. And stopping at roadblocks or gasstations will give you an opportunity to sort what you need to get sorted. But do not expect to have it done the easy way.
Toilets in these countries are usually a hole in the ground or a toiletseat integrated with the ground. No flushmecanism, just a bucket of water or a hose at its best.

So you might not have a place to put sanitary waste, nor will you be able to fluch bloody tissuepaper or feel fresh for about 10-13 hours.

But it’s all part of the experience.

My solution to this was to always have antiseptic tissues in my bag that I could wipe myself clean with and use on my hands after using the bathroom. I stole toiletpaper from the bathrooms I went to that had paper (I even had this printed in my head after returning to Norway….quite disturbing). And I always had a little plastic bag that I could put waste in just in case. I don’t know how I would’ve survived without it.

If you are one of those that can’t step outside without having your hair in a perfect updo or putting makeup on you might have a hard time feeling pretty in Vietnam and/or Asia. It is humid, warm and the hair are is bad as it was when you woke up and your makeup will sweat of in minutes. So feeling sexy is not really an option if you’re not a model or just naturally perfect to begin with.

Here are some tips to improve your comfort:

  • Bring as many Anticeptic napkins as you can
  • Steal or “borrow” toilet paper wherever you can get a hold of it
  • Go when you need to go and not later
  • A pair of extra underwear might not be a bad idea
  • Smaller plastic bags in your handluggage is a hot tip for waste since there might not be wastebins
  • A minibottle of dryshampoo if you need your hair to be clean at all times

You might get some help from these tips, but it’s different for everybody. This is my experience. Hope it gave some insight on how to travel as a woman.