The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

WoWasis pioneers the use of travel-site GPS coordinates

Written By: herbrunbridge - Nov• 29•10

Like most non-Western nations, the countries of Southeast Asia have loads of street addresses that don’t mean much to non-residents. It’s common for numbering schemes to stop as a street name changes, then start up again a few blocks away. Often, addresses on one side of the street have nothing in relation to those on the other. Street names can change arbitrarily. From the back streets of Saigon to the country lanes of Hanoi, finding addresses can be a horror.

But not any more. WoWais makes it easy for you by giving you GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates for many hard-to-find spots. By utilizing a hand-held GPS device, you can walk, ride, or xiclo to any of a number of fascinating spots you might ordinarily miss, including historical temples and buildings, and difficult-to-find touring and trekking sites, like Wat Phu Champasak in Laos.

 We suggest you buy your GPS device in your own country, get familiar with it, and bring it to Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia. We cover just about all of them. 

When you visit many of the pages on our main WoWasis travel site, you’ll see that many of the venues we discuss will have coordinates listed in red at the bottom of the article. On the WoWasis blog, they’re listed in black.

GPS technology makes travel to out of the way spots in Asia a whole lot easier!


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  1. j,

    the GPS coordinates we list on our pages are gathered using a handlheld Garmin GPS that is specifically a GPS receiver. That is, it looks for and triangulates on the GPS (geostationary) satellites directly, and lists the location and number of satellites it sees, which gives a percentage error calculation. This is an earlier model Garmin, is quite accurate, and it works great all over the world.

    GPS in phones can work in one of two ways. If the phone has a real GPS receiver built in, it can see the GPS satellites directly and the app you see on the screen will be giving you real GPS locations. If the phone (the towers actually) is using the signals from the cell towers to triangulate the location of the phone between the towers, it can translate that calculation into GPS coordinates as the towers “know” where they are and where you are relative to the towers. If the phone can talk to the local towers (can talk on the frequency), then the latter method will work for the phone too.

    I don’t know if your iPhone is a multiband phone and will understand the frequency of the Vietnamese cell towers. I do know the Verizon enV I use works fine in Taipei but won’t work in Thailand (not multiband) — so even with the GPS app on my enV, it’s of no use to me in Thailand (except as camera and calculator), as the GPS app is tower-based, not satellite-based; I haven’t tried it in Vietnam.

    I’m assuming that your Garmin Nuvi GPS should work in Vietnam as is should be triangulating off satellites. I’d suggest shooting out an email to Garmin customer support to confirm. I’ve used the Nuvi GPS for navigating cars in the USA and have always assumed it is using satellites, just like the handheld we use when doing WoWasis GPS coordinates.

    Let us know how this works for you. The GPS coordinates we list on our pages should get you very close (to within a few meters) of the destinations that we list.

    Best of luck on your trip to Vietnam, and do be sure to read our Vietnam scams pages before you go!

  2. j says:

    Hi, I recently read your article about “Vietnam Oasis GPS …” found here:

    The article suggests that I buy a GPS in the U.S. and bring it to Vietnam. Then the article reads, “Our GPS venues will have coordinates listed in red at the bottom of the article. ”

    I’m currently have the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 with google maps. I also bought the Navigon App to use on these phones. I also have a Garmin Nuvi GPS. Will any of these devices work with what you are talking about? If so, can I get it here or do I have to get it in Vietnam? Also, what can I expect to pay for something like this?

    Thank you.

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