11 tips for backpacking Southeast Asia

Last update:2017-11-21 15:43:01

Taken from the Rough Guide to Southeast Asia on a Budget, these are our top 11 tips for backpacking Southeast Asia.

With its tempting mix of volcanoes, rainforest, rice fields, beaches and coral reefs, Southeast Asia is one of the most stimulating and accessible regions for independent travel in the world. You can spend the day exploring thousand-year-old Hindu ruins and the night at a rave on the beach; attend a Buddhist alms-giving ceremony at dawn and go whitewater rafting in the afternoon; chill out in a bamboo beach hut one week and hike through the jungle looking for orang-utans the next.

In short, there is enough here to keep anyone hooked for months. Here’s our advice for getting the most out of backpacking Southeast Asia for the first time.

  1. Plan around the weather
    Southeast Asia sits entirely within the tropics and so is broadly characterized by a hot and humid climate that varies little throughout the year, except during the two annual monsoons. Bear in mind, however, that each country has myriad microclimates; for more detail see our “when to go” pages for Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
  2. Get off the beaten track
    Though Southeast Asia has long been on the travellers’ trail, it doesn’t take too much to get off the beaten track – whether it’s to discover that perfect beach or to delve into the lush surrounds of the rainforest. Think about visiting the overlooked city of Battambangin Cambodia, taking the railroad less travelled in Thailand or exploring Myanmar’s unspoiled southern coast.
  3. Try the street food
    This is the home of the world’s tastiest cuisines, and the really good news is that the cheapest is often the best, with markets and roadside hawkers unbeatable places to try the many local specialities. Night markets, in particular, are great for tasting different dishes at extremely low prices – sizzling woks full of frying noodles, swirling clouds of spice-infused smoke and rows of glistening fried insects all make for an unforgettable gastronomic experience.
  4. Budget carefully – but have the odd splurge
    Your daily budget in Southeast Asia depends on where you’re travelling and how comfortable you want to be. You can survive on as little as $20 a day in some countries, but for this money you’ll be sleeping in very basic accommodation, eating at simple food stalls, and travelling on local non-a/c buses. Think about where paying a little more will really enrich your trip.
  5. Learn from the locals
    Tribal culture is a highlight of many visits to less explored areas, and among the most approachable communities are the tribal groups around Sa Pa in Vietnam, the Torjan of Sulawesi in Indonesia, known for their intriguing architecture and ghoulish burial rituals, and the ethnic minority villages surrounding Hsipaw in Myanmar.
  6. Embrace the great outdoors
    Up for getting active? There’s plenty to keep you busy. You can tackle world-class surf at G-land in Indonesia, take a mountain-bike tour of Vietnam’s far north or discover your own lonely bays and mysterious lagoons on a sea-kayak tour of Krabi in Thailand. And that’s just for starters…
  7. Make time for temples
    Southeast Asia’s myriad temple complexes are some of the region’s best-known attractions. The Hindu Khmers left a string of magnificent monuments, the most impressive of which can be seen at Angkor in Cambodia, while the Buddhists’ most impressive legacies include the colossal ninth-century stupa of Borobudur in Indonesia and the temple-strewn plain of Bagan in Myanmar.
  8. Get high
    No, not that kind of high. Every visitor should make an effort to climb one of the spectacular mountains, whether getting up before dawn to watch the sun rise from Indonesia’s Mount Bromo or embarking on the two-day trek to scale Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia.
  9. Hit the beach
    The beaches here are some of the finest in the world, and you’ll find the cream of the crop in Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia, all of which boast postcard-pretty, white-sand bays, complete with azure waters and wooden beach shacks dotted along their palm-fringed shores. The clear tropical waters also offer supreme diving opportunities for novices and seasoned divers alike.
  10. Take local transport
    Local transport across Southeast Asia is uniformly good value compared to public transport in the West, and is often one of the highlights of a trip, not least because of the chance to fraternize with local travellers. Overland transport between neighbouring countries is also fairly straightforward so long as you have the right paperwork and are prepared to be patient.
  11. Stay healthy
    The vast majority of travellers to Southeast Asia suffer nothing more than an upset stomach, so long as they observe basic precautions about food and water hygiene, and research pre-trip vaccination and malaria prophylactic requirements – but it’s still vital to arrange health insurance before you leave home. Some of the illnesses you can pick up may also not show themselves immediately, so if you become ill within a year of returning home, tell your doctor where you have been.

    For a complete guide to backpacking Southeast Asia, check out The Rough Guide to Southeast Asia on a Budget. Compare flights, book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

Source: Internet

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  1. Best airline to fly with: AirAsia – They’re my personal favorite budget airline to fly with and fly to the most destinations. You will pay for checked luggage so make sure to purchase it when you book your ticket or you will be charged 4x the price when checking in.
  2. Buses are your best friend – Traveling by bus is the way to go in SE Asia if you want to save money. But if you’re tight on time, fly. Always splurge and go for the VIP buses. They’re never that more much and it will be a way better experience.
  3. Laos Kip is very difficult to exchange – If you’re heading to Laos you’ll have no problem getting their local currency but good luck getting rid of it when you’re out of the country. Exchange it before you leave or at the border if crossing by land.
  4. Take local transport – It’s not as bad as you’d expect, it’s cheap and it always makes for an adventure.
  5. Travel throughout the night – Yay for night buses! Vietnam has the best buses for overnight travel because they’re sleeper buses so you can actually lay down. By traveling at night you’ll save on accommodation and have more time to do things during the day!
  6. Get used to haggling – If you don’t haggle you will be over paying for everything. Some things you can’t haggle for (like food), but use your skills while at markets, shops and with transportation. Start low, you can usually tell by the look on the locals face if you’ve gone too low. And don’t be afraid to walk away, most will give in and accept your offer. If they don’t then you’re probably being unrealistic.
  7. Always go for the local beer – It’s cheap and often really good!
  8. Uber and Grab – Grab is the equivalent of Uber, but the Asian version (you can ride on the back of a scooter for cheaper than a car). I recommend these the most for the Philippines.
  9. Bring sunscreen from home – It is ridiculously expensive in SE Asia. It’s one of the few things I recommend bringing that are worth using the extra space in your bag for.
  10. Avoid package tours – Though some are great, they’re always more expensive than doing it yourself. That being said, don’t skip on all. I used tours for trekking in Myanmar, Sapa, and Halong Bay.

Source: Internet

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Packing Tips for Southeast Asia Travel

Last update:2017-10-17 13:27:48

When you travel southeast Asia you want to make sure you have the proper clothes for heat and culture reasons.

  1. Ladies, pack a scarf to easily cover up – This is essential when visiting temples. It’s too hot to always be covered, but you’ll need your shoulders, chest, and knees to be covered when visiting temples. This is a great post on a fabulous piece for your travels.

  2. Pack proper shoes – Treks in SE Asia are quite common, so don’t write them off just yet. With that being said, make sure you have proper shoes. And no those cute no grip Nike’s won’t do the trick (I tried and sprained my ankle!). You’ll also want shoes to easily slip on and off at temples.

  3. Don’t pack too much, clothes are cheap! – Clothes are super cheap and easy to find at markets. Most are pretty cute too. But if you are heavier clothes may be more difficult to find because their sizes are so small!

  4. You better have Imodium – At some point you’ll need it. Especially for long bus rides after eating questionable meat. Or for day trips on boats when bathrooms are not accessible.

  5. Pack appropriate clothes – Please respect the locals and not only pack skinny tanks, short shorts, and belly tops. It’s fine to wear shorts and tanks, and certain places are more open than others, but this is not your home. So dress according to their standards, not yours.

  6. Do not even think about traveling without travel insurance – If you’re not convinced you need it then read these horror stories. And if you need help deciding, here’s a guide that details what to look for.

  7. Whatever you need to sleep on night buses – You’ll probably take at least one during your trip. Have something you can pop to make sure you get as best a sleep you can.

Source: Internet

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Tricks for Layover and Sleeping at the Airport

Last update:2016-11-23 13:04:52

Okay so it's your first time backpacking, but having a lovely sleep over at the airport is like being Tom Cruise in mission impossible. How are you going to secure your luggage and all the belongings while having a nice night of sleep or going to the bathroom? Many of the travelers have the fear of getting their luggage stolen while letting their guards down at the airport. However, here are some tips we can give you. It might not prevent you from getting you luggage stolen, and out apologies that we can't hold any responsibility for it. But we can assure that you can find the right people to trust in the airports to help you safely and comfortably survive the night alone, and perhaps even making some new friends along the way!

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Backpacker's Tool Pack: Customized Off-Line Map

Last update:2016-11-23 12:47:42

On the rare occasion you've found out that you have a good length vacation, when thinking about flying out of the country for a quick escape
What would you do next?

Some people visit travel forums such as Tripadvisor for inspirations; some people use keywords to google travel journeys; others refer to the itinerary of the travel agents. All of this work and channels are for the first and foremost important step of traveling: choosing a destination.
As for me who's busy but always bored enough to think about where I'd go on the next trip, of course there's a bucket list ready for different types of vacations I get at work. Then? It's off to plan a virtual map of my travel itinerary!

Therefore, this article will mainly be about me sharing some of my favorite map tools when planning a backpacking get away. It's my effort of initiation for our readers to join the discussion and share their favorite tools and tips. We also hope other map creating fans can share their tips. The items introduced below will be in the trip planning order and the time where you'd use it.

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