A Guide to Electronic Post Offices (EPO*) in Asia

Part 1/4, updated September 22nd, 1998

Maintained by
Dag Tjemsland (see Contact-page for email-address)



* EPO = abbr. for Electronic Post Office, a physical location where customers can connect to Internet and send/receive e-mail. EPO is the replacement for GPO (General Post Office) and their Poste Restante service, which was the way of communication for people on the move in the old world.


Free e-mail
(or symbolically priced)

One of the more important aspects for any long-term traveller is to be able to communicate with contacts back home or around the world. In the past, you either made a very costly phone-call (if there where international lines available), or used Poste Restante. Everyone with just a little bit of travel experience know how unpractical this last option is. Use of telefax is becomming increasingly popular, but this is still only the second-best solution. The most time-efficient and practical method which gives the best value for money is electronic mail. That is, if you know how and where to hook up to Internet. Therefore this guide is given to you for free, so more people can discover how easy and quick it is to communicate with the world left behind, if so is the wish. For information on how to connect with a mobile computer, look up:

Technical tips

(If you're an experienced e-mailer already, please jump to the last paragraph.)

These are the various ways to connect:

  1. Use local address and programs
  2. Telnet you own mail account
  3. WWW-based services
  4. Personalized setup for local e-mail programs like Eudora, Netscape

Pros & cons:

1. This option is the only available at locations which can't offer direct Internet access. You simply borrow the local EPO's setup, address and programs included. You have to distribute the address to your contacts. The least desireable solution, your address changes from place to place, and transmission may take time.
2. Remote access to your UNIX account and e-mail programs like Pine. A very flexible solutions, almost any computer with network facilites can do telnet, even the oldest ones. You have direct access to your own e-mail, adresses etc. But with a slow line, operation can be a patience test with long typing delays.
3. Utilization of a (mostly) free e-mail account via WWW-client like Netscape Navigator or MS IE. Almost the same control over your own incoming and outgoing mail, addresses etc. as telnet. But presupposes up-to-date computers at the local EPO.
4. It is possible to use local programs like Eudora, Netscape Messenger etc. by launching these programs from you personalised setup-files on a floppy disk you carry around. But this is a bit tricky and risky. You never know what programs are available at the local EPO, and floppies are very vulnerable.

Some extra tips:

Internet access can be achieved by dialup connection to abroad (socalled UUCP mail transfers). This is of course very costly, but the only option for countries without their own ISP (like Burma & Laos). A final reflection: It looks like the cost level in a country is diametrically opposed to what you pay to be wired. Therefore, be prepared to be quite ripped off in countries like India and Thailand.

Guide conventions

If prices are given for an amount of time online/offline, the period of time is minimum charge. Phone/fax numbers are written like (+86) 10 6833-616/1-5. (+86) is country code plus international code, 10 is area code, local numbers are 68336161 to 68336165. Prices are always in local currency, for a currency calculator, try An asterix (*) signifies information has been confirmed, either by personal visit, or by staff at the EPO. Places that somehow aren't open to everone (like guests only), is not a proper EPO, and is not included. Exceptions are made where no other are available. This guide is designed for printout as well (ca 11 pages), hopefully it will be one of your most valuable travel documents, along with your passport and insurance policy!

The only way this guide will stay useful for fellow travellers, is to keep it updated! The only way to keep it updated is to send me comments and tips on places you have been and facilities you have used. If you don't want to be included in the credit-list, tell me so. Please don't hesitate, and have a travel of you life!

Sources: Lonely Planet, Wired Magazine, Cyber Cafe Guide, EDH, Cybercafe Search Engine, Curious Cat Travel Books Cyber Cafe Guide, Internet Café Guide.
Credits: Anders Blichfeldt, Kendall Golladay, Rich Garella, Mark Lioi, Ulysses Menezes, George Moore, David Nguyen, Garrett N. Ray, David Salvadori, Mike Thair, Marty Wilson.