Touring Southeast Asia is sure must-do at least once in this lifetime. Unique wildlife, numerous temples, volcanoes, vivid cultures and fascinating food — you can’t help but ponder what other phenomenon it hides.
So are you planning that go on an adventure, but not sure if you can pull it off? Take note of the tips below on doing backpacking in Southeast Asia.
Stay like a local.
Southeast Asia is one of the places in the world that is highly rich in culture. Don’t pass up the chance to fully experience this: live like one of the locals! Get to know the life of the city dwellers and experience what their everyday life is like. Immerse yourself in the local communities and their tribal cultures, like the Iban community in Borneo, the Akha community in Laos and the Giay from Vietnam.
Eat from the streets.
This goes to your favor as backpacking usually runs on a budget. Home to one of the tastiest cuisines, Southeast Asia offers a variety of dishes that are sweet, spicy, salty, sour, and something else. Check out the local places’ night markets for noodles, steamed dumplings, and even fried dumplings. (Want to know more? We’ve compiled a list for you!)
Plan around the weather.
Southeast Asia countries are mostly tropical and you wouldn’t want to be stuck backpacking through it during the monsoon seasons. Eliminate the hassle of muddy shoes and worrying about your safety by checking out Southeast Asia’s myriad of microclimates before visiting. (Check out our travel calendar for some tips!)
Party more but drink less.
When it comes to partying, expenses tend to go a bit high. This is true anywhere in the world. It might be great to experience the Southeast Asian nightlife, but it might get heavy on the wallet. Instead of going out clubbing, a better alternative would be trying an exotic tourist spot in the place to live, laugh and dance with newly found friends. With Southeast Asia having heaps of fascinating locations, your itinerary would be filled in no time.
Learn to love the great outdoors.
The beauty of Southeast Asia is in the wild and in nature, and truly appreciating this is impossible if you’re not one to spend time outdoors. Develop an active lifestyle and experience hiking, swimming and spelunking in the part of the world that has a lot of these to offer.
Learn a few local phrases.
The best thing about traveling is the connections that you make and the relationships you build. Get locals to warm up to you more by exerting effort to speak in their mother tongue. With the power of technology nowadays, you can search it up online easily. Or even better, ask your guide to teach you! Not only can you get along with them more easily if you know some slang, but it can also be helpful in emergency situations.
Southeast Asia might be the home to captivating sights and fascinating food, but many tourists suffer an upset stomach due to a new diet, dehydration from flight, stress, and lack of sleep from all the travel. Make sure that you get a pre-trip vaccination to illnesses prone in the Southeast Asia for that hassle-free backpacking journey.
Prepare for the trip.
Trips across these multi-terraneous countries would take a lot of leg work, so make sure you’re in shape for it! Do cardio, work on your stamina and build up your endurance for visiting mountain provinces like Indonesia’s Mount Brono and Malaysia’s Mount Kinabalu.
Don’t be afraid.
Going backpacking in Southeast Asia might be frightening to some who are used to having planned out trips and staying in hotels, but don’t be afraid. This experience itself will teach you more than what you’ve learned from books, films and documentaries. You get to meet different people from various walks of life that is most certainly priceless and invaluable as you go on in life.
Take a minute.
Take the scenery in, it’s one of those priceless moments that you can never fully recapture.
As you hustle and bustle through the cities and villages of Southeast Asia, don’t forget to stop, breathe and take it all in. These captivating wonderments are naturally made, so what you see right before your eyes at that point in time may not be the same as the next time you see them. You can never truly recapture a moment, so always treasure the destinations you set to journey in.
As you go on in this trip, you will discover things about yourself you might not know you had it in you. Backpacking makes you responsible for yourself and you’d be surprised how capable you are when you’re on an adventure of a lifetime.