In QGIS 2.18.7 I want to change the projection of my shapefiles into a form that preserves distances for the sake of analysis. But when I do this from WGS84 to "WGS84 UTM zone 48N" or "south asia equidistant conic" I get very small measurements of distance for known features. For example 1km real world features are about 6cm using the measuring tool.
As suggested in other posts I have tried changing the project projection and resaving shapefiles in new projections but I still keep getting the same tiny feature representations. I have also tried turning 'on the fly' CRS transformations off
How can I preserve the real world distances on my map?