Southeast Asia Tour Guide (last updated 7 Sept 09)

Many bands have toured SE Asia these past few years (VIVISICK, FUCK ON THE BEACH, UNHOLY GRAVE, R.A.M.B.O (twice!), and VITAMIN X just to name a few off the top of our heads). Recent visits have included SCUM SYSTEM KILL (AU), REPOMAN (AU), 49 MORPHINES (KR), WAR ALL THE TIME (UK), STRAIGHTJACKET NATION, (AU), xMOTIVATIONx (HU), DIE YOUNG TX (US), NOT OK (AU), CLUSTER BOMB UNIT (DE), PACK (CH), SPARTAK (AU), OFF MINOR (US), MONEY IS GOD (JP), NOT OK (AU), MAGRUDERGRIND (US), CUT SICK (AU), 7 CROWNS (UK), CRUX (AU), AGENTS OF ABHORRENCE (AU), CONQUEST FOR DEATH (US/JP), GRAF ORLOCK (US), EUCALYPT (AU), BRUTAL TERRORISM (JP), FANZUI XIANGFA (CN), MONEY IS GOD (JP), 97-SHIKI (US), MILVAINS (IT), DYING IN MOTION (CH), MY DISCO (AU), VIALKA (FR), NEVER BUILT RUINS (CH/DE), MEANING (JP), UNABOMBER (ES), THE GEEKS (KR), FULL-CHIN (JP) , MR. STERILE ASSEMBLY (NZ), CURVE (JP), and DIPLEG (JP) and we are already expecting more in 2009 and beyond! Really, there's simply too many to mention and we don't want to clog up precious (cyber)space!

There are 5 main places to visit: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines. Most bands try to cover at least 3 or 4 of these places. To tour and play in all of the 5 main countries, 3 weeks to a month-long tour is advisable. Some bands cover Borneo as well.

In terms of how developed the punk scenes are over here, with the exception of Thailand (which is mostly metal and only a little punk/hardcore), all the other countries in SE Asia have a huge and thriving DIY hardcore-punk scene present. Still we wouldn't recommend skipping Thailand, 'cause Bangkok is awesome!

We don't get seasons here -- it's hot, wet or humid all year round so any time of the year is good to visit though most bands like to come during the middle of the year or near the end of the year. It is all up to you, of course! Do note that the weather here in SE Asia is warmer during the mid-year and cooler (rainy/monsoon season) during the months of November and December.

You can expect to play this many shows (on average) in each respective country:

Philippines : 3 to 5 (usual places being Lucena, Batangas, Bulacan, Manila)
Indonesia : 3 to 5 (usual places being Jakarta, Solo, Malang, Jogjakarta, Bandung)
Thailand : 1 to 2 (usual place being the city of Bangkok)
Peninsula Malaysia : 2 to 4 (usually Kuala Lumpur and Penang, also maybe Ipoh and Taiping)
Borneo : 1 to 3 (usually Kota Kinabalu or Keningau and Kuching)
Singapore : 1 to 2 (we are just an island so it's just Singapore)

Travelling between these countries is relatively cheap and easy with the choice of either buses (between Singapore and Peninsula Malaysia) and budget airlines (for example: Air Asia, Tiger Airways and Jetstar Asia) to and from the other countries.

**Cathay Pacific USA has this All Asia Pass deal which is pretty good for bands who want to tour SE Asia, and even includes destinations to Japan and Australia.



Buses are the default form of transport to and fro cities.

A bus from Penang to KL (one-way) costs RM35 (USD$10/€7). A bus from KL to JB/Singapore (one-way) costs RM24/RM35 (USD$7/€5 or USD$10/€7).

We'll use ourselves as a gauge (we eat relatively heartily) and when we go to Malaysia we spend between RM4 to RM6 (USD$1-USD$1.70/€0.70-€1.20) per meal. If you opt for the roti things they're relatively cheaper, RM4 will be good for you to go.

You will be able to crash with local kids or stay in studios EXCEPT for Penang AND Malacca, where you will have to stay at a guesthouse. It typically costs RM50/night (USD$14/€10) for a room with A/C and a double bed + single bed.


Travelling within each city in Indonesia is pretty cheap -- we're talking about cents here. However if we're talking inter-city you will have to take a bus or a train depending on the distance. Trains (business/executive) cost between Rp185,000 to Rp280,000 (USD$18 to USD$28/€12.50 to €19.50). But it also depends on the distance -- a bus from Bandung to Jakarta (or vice versa) costs about Rp50,000 (USD$5/€3.50). Don't expect to spend more than USD$33/€23 per trip though.

In Indonesia expect to spend between SGD$1 to SGD$4 (USD$0.70 to USD$3/€0.50 to €2) per meal. This is awesome cheap stuff.

None whatsoever. Kids are totally cool with you crashing w/ them, be it their rented houses or family homes.Singapore

Expect to spend between SGD$3 to SGD$6 (USD$2 to USD$4/€1.40 to €2.80) per meal.

A typical bus or subway ride from point A to point B won't cost you more than SGD$2 (USD$1.40/€1).

None whatsoever. You won't be crashing with any one of us per se but there are a couple of people who have the resources to live by themselves and you'd be able to crash with them.


60B (USD$1.70/€1.20) will be enough to give you a very hearty meal at a roadside stall/coffeeshop. If you are veg*n, YOU MUST NOT MISS May Kai Dee's. It's about double typical Thai fare (80B (USD$2.50/€1.80) and up) but still pretty cheap. Best stuff ever. Seriously.

Since you will only be playing in Bangkok you will not need to think about inter-city bus/train rides. It's dirt cheap (we're talking about mere cents here like in Indonesia -- averaging 5THB (USD$0.13/€0.09). The subway costs a bit more (10THB-30THB (USD$0.27-USD$0.75/€0.18-€0.52). You might need to take a cab to and from the airport though and that will probably set you back 250THB (USD$8/€6) per trip. There are also buses from certain tourist areas to the airport (but only operating at certain times) which costs 150THB (USD$4.40/€3) per person.

You will have to stay at a guesthouse here. They typically cost between 300THB to 700THB per night (USD$8 to USD$20.50/€6 to €14) for a room with a double bed, depending on the area and whether the room has A/C, a window, etc.


If you are veg*n like we are you will have to expect to pay a bit more for food as it's not so common over there. When we were there we averaged about 200PHP (USD$4/€3) per meal. If you eat meat expect it to go significantly lesser.

Very cheap as well. Jeepneys (one of their most common forms of transport), buses and the subway won't cost you more than 30PHP (USD$0.65/€0.45). Inter-city buses cost on average 300PHP (USD$6.50/€4.50).

None whatsoever. Kids are totally cool with you crashing w/ them, be it their rented houses or family homes.


Also very cheap here. Costs are similar to in Peninsula Malaysia.

Most kids still live with their parents so you'd have to check into a budget hotel/motel. It would cost similarly or slightly less than how it would cost in Peninsula Malaysia.

Mini-buses cost between RM9 (USD$2.50/€1.70) to RM58 (USD$16.50/€11.50) depending on where you intend to go in Borneo. There are also mini-buses to get around each area for RM4 (USD$1/€0.70) per head.

Day offs:
I think a reasonable estimate for each day off in Malaysia, Philippines, Borneo, Thailand and Indonesia would be SGD$5 (USD$3.50/€2.50). I'm being very generous here so there'd definitely be money left over.

$ingapore, probably the same amount but you'd probably use that all up. Once you are in the city it's very easy to navigate without transport, so if you're cool with walking we can do a lot of that in Singapore. Add more for if you intend to visit museums and such places of interest, as there are seldom very few such places with free entry here.

For tour shirts, it is recommended that all bands get their shirts printed in each respective country they will be touring in. This is to ensure that shirts sell for the usual prices kids expect at shows in their own countries, plus it is also one less burden for the bands themselves as lugging around 50 to 100 shirts on top of having to carry guitars, cymbals etc can be quite a hassle. Here are the prices that shirts are sold for in each country:

Singapore : SGD$10 to $12 (USD$7 to USD$8 / €5.50 to €6)
Peninsula Malaysia : RM20 to RM25 (USD$6 to USD$7 / €5 to €5.50)
Borneo : RM15 to RM35 (USD$4 to USD$10 / €3 to €7.50)***
Philippines : P300 (USD$6 / €5)
Indonesia : IDR28,000 to IDR46,700 (USD$3 to USD$4 / €2.50 to €3)
Thailand : 150THB to 200THB (USD$4 to USD$5.50 / €3 to €4.50)

***This is depending on where you play as there is some difference in scene development between towns in Borneo.

Here is a rough quotation for getting professionally screened shirts in Singapore:

50 to 70 shirts
1x color/print : about USD$5 / €4 per shirt
2 x color/print : about USD$6 / €5 per shirt
3 x color/print : about USD$7 / €5.50 per shirt

30 to 40 shirts
1 x color/print : about USD$6 / €5 per shirt
2 x color/print : about USD$7 / €5.50 per shirt
3 x color/print : about USD$8 / €6 per shirt

It would be cool to get your shirts printed either in Peninsula Malaysia or Singapore for both places (as both countries are located side by side), a batch printed in Philippines and a batch printed in Indonesia. As for Thailand, the number of shirts you sell could average between 5 to 15, depending on how many shows you play, so perhaps you could just pack a few shirts for the shows there.

That said, there are also kids in SE Asia who can do screenprinting -- DIY style of course. Rates are slightly cheaper; just ask!

Also, here's an average on how many shirts you might sell in each place:

Singapore/Peninsula Malaysia : 30 to 60 shirts (depending on how many shows)
Borneo : 20 to 40 shirts (depending on how many shows)
Philippines : 30 to 50 shirts (depending on how many shows)
Indonesia : 30 to 60 shirts (depending on how many shows)
Thailand : 5 to 20 shirts (depending on how many shows)

For other merch such as vinyl, tapes and CDs, here's a rough guide on what sells in each country:

Singapore : CDs, some Vinyl and some Tapes
Peninsula Malaysia : Tapes, CDs and some Vinyl
Borneo : Tapes, CD-Rs, some CDs and little Vinyl
Philippines : CDs, some Tapes and little Vinyl
Indonesia : Tapes, some CDs and little Vinyl
Thailand : Some CDs, little Vinyl and little Tapes

If you don't want to bring your own releases to sell on tour but still want to get your music out to the kids here, getting local SE Asia labels to re-release your music on CD, CD-R or tape format just for the tour is also not a problem. A pressing of between 100 to 300, depending on how many places you are playing, is advisable. We have got tons of awesome and reliable labels willing to put stuff out for bands wanting to tour; ask us and we will point you in the right direction.

If we are talking about food, let us assure you that vegan/vegetarian food is available here, though more common in certain countries/places as compared to others.

Thailand - Bangkok is a vegan paradise due to Buddhism being the main religion here. Tons of variety, from authentic Thai cuisines to simple roadside fare to western style delights. Really cheap too. And the fruit juices and Thai iced teas? Oh man!

Malaysia - Not so common to find vegetarian places here, though most Indian food places serve a bread dish known as roti, which is vegan. It is a staple diet for the Indian community. Request for dhal to go along with your roti, which is vegetable /lentil curry. However, if you happen to make it up to Penang, force the kids there to bring you to this place called Evergreen. Best vegan/vegetarian place in Malaysia by far with lots of variety.

Singapore - Vegan/vegetarian food is very easily found here. Good variety too.

Indonesia - Never fear, vegan/vegetarian food is here. Popular choices include lotek
(vegetables in peanut sauce which is sweet and spicy), tempe and tofu.

Philippines - As Filipinos eat a lot of meat (pork especially), it is difficult to stumble into just any random food court and expect to find something vegan/vegetarian. However, there are a handful of vegan establishments one can go to, with choices from Filipino to Chinese cuisine! Key places: Greens, Happy Veggie, Halo, Guan Yin Zhai, Bodhi. Don't worry, the pinoy kids know where they are and will gladly bring you there should you ask.

Borneo - Vegetarian restaurants available! Some come highly recommended by the local kids.

We will definitely try and pay the touring band if the show makes a profit but don't expect to cover flight tickets from all the shows here, and that's probably the downside of it. Shows in SE Asia do not pay as well as compared to ones done in the US, Europe and Japan, unfortunately due to a lot of factors and especially with us having a comparatively weaker currency. That said, all bands who come here basically pay for their own airfare. The promoters in each respective country will provide lodgings, food if possible, transport if necessary and of course, as mentioned above, good old DIY hospitality. Like all tours, what you can do is to bring tons of merch which will definitely help to offset some expenses.

It's going to be one hell of an adventure! Food here is awesome and cheap! Punks are warm and friendly! And we promise you an Experience (that's right, with a capital E) with tons of crazy kids that will really appreciate the show(s). In 3rd-world countries like Indonesia and the Philippines, you will literally get hundreds and even thousands of crazy punks attending the show(s), we kid you not!

Contact us, and we'll make it happen, together! Please feel free to also contact us if you have more questions, etc by either messaging us here or emailing us at : iheart7x0x7 (at) gmail (dot) com

References all the routes flown by Discount Airlines worldwide : http://www.airninja.com

Other great resources for flights : UltimateFares.com, Yahoo! Travel and LetMeBook.com (great personalized travel resource, check it out!)

More coming soon.

If anyone has additional info which you think should be added here, let us know too.
And hope to see you all real soon!

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