Several vaccinations are advised
before traveling to Southeast Asia; consult your GP or travel clinic six to eight weeks before departure to ensure you have time to complete all the series of injections. Malaria is present here
, so you will need to bring anti-malarial medication. Wearing long sleeves and trousers is also advised, as well as insect repellent. This also protects against dengue fever. Remember, malaria can develop up to a year after exposure, so keep an eye on any symptoms.
Citronella is the favoured repellent for many travelers.
However, this should be avoided as it attracts hornets – giant wasps with an extraordinarily painful sting.
Tap water is unsafe to drink
– also be wary of ice in drinks and unpeeled fruit and vegetables.
Don't eat bushmeat such as monkeys or bats
as these are often carriers of diseases – as well as being inadvisable for environmental reasons.
Leeches are present in the lowland jungles.
These are more unpleasant than dangerous, but you can buy “leech socks” which are effective at stopping them, and keep your trousers tucked into your socks or boots.
Borneo and Sumatra are incredibly hot and humid,
so keep well hydrated at all times.
Bring a basic first aid kit and medication for sickness and diarrhoea
if planning to trek or cycle in remote regions.
If you need to be hospitalised, travel to the mainland may be necessary,
so be sure you have comprehensive travel insurance which covers medical evacuation, along with any other activities you may be doing, such as high-altitude hikes, windsurfing or diving.
Forest fires in Western Sumatra and Kalimantan cause serious air pollution which is getting more and more dangerous each year;
2015's fires have been described as a "crime against humanity
". Travelers with respiratory problems should exercise precautions, and all travelers are advised to check with their vacation company on the severity of the smog in the region they are traveling to - pollution also spreads into Sabah and Sarawak. You should ask if face masks are available when in the worst affected areas.