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How can a wheelchair-bound college student travel Asia with her American friend? Ideas?

1 Comment 29 January 2014

Question by yilingonly: How can a wheelchair-bound college student travel Asia with her American friend? Ideas?
Hi! I am a 20-year-old from Asia who has not known the limitlessness of life until I met Tif, an outdoor American girl who brought me on bike rides and donkey rides. I have never travelled without my parents but would like to do so within the next year. Any suggestions?

Several issues include: wheelchair accessibility, accessible bathroom, backpacking tools, light-weight mobility equipments, options for transportation, cost? We have considered Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, China, and the Philippines… but we don’t know if it is too difficult for us.

Also, what can we do to get sponsors and people to help? We’re thinking of putting together an inspirational program and both of us can speak to inspire the local people. Please suggest!!!

Best answer:

Answer by sonny_too_much
I am an American male in good health and I find getting around in most Asian cities a real challenge, Not only do they not have handicapped accessible public bath rooms. they do not even have bath rooms.
There are very few places that you will find a sidewalk in the sense that we think of a sidewalk. If it is a sidewalk, there are vendors set up on it and people driving trucks on it.
The major cities of China do not fit this pattern. You can get around Beijing, Shenyang, Shenzhen very well. But public transport is not accessible. Forget about trying Bangkok or Manila.
But if you have enough grit , you can do anything. It really depends on your mind set.
Try it and love the adventure !

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  1. Pipsqueak says:

    As you posted this in the Thailand section, and I live in Thailand, I would concur with the last answer. Thailand would be a real challenge in a wheelchair – as few buildings are accessible and almost no pavements/sidewalks.

    You would be restricted to major hotels in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and would need to hire a minivan and driver for getting even short distances. While people are very friendly and cooperative, the lack of infrastructure would be very frustrating.

    However, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong – and, to a lesser extent, Macau – as well as Chongqing, Nanjing and Wuhan would be a much better bet. (Sidewalks exist, some buildings have acces ramps etc.).


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