Everything You Need to Know to Go Backpacking in South East Asia

Historic temples, unique meals, vibrant cities, and seashores that resemble one thing like paradise. South East Asia is likely one of the most enjoyable locations in the world. And it’s turn out to be a much-loved, well-travelled place for backpackers. In a method, it’s a rite of passage for anyone who considers themselves to be a cultured globetrotter. It’s worlds away from the western lifestyle, and you’ll really feel such as you’re miles off the crushed path as soon as you get here.

For many who want to discover new nations, study new languages, or volunteer to assist native communities, it’s the right destination. A place for fun, outside adventures, and self-discovery. But away from the comforts of house, it may be a frightening expertise. Here’s the whole lot you want to know before you journey.

Why South East Asia?

There are such a lot of reasons to travel to South East Asia. Listed here are simply a few of the distinctive highlights:

  • Meet new individuals – South East Asians are recognised as a few of the friendliest individuals in the world. Wherever you go, you’ll be welcomed with open arms. Plus, with such a high quantity of backpackers and solo travellers, it is going to be straightforward to make buddies alongside the best way.
  • Straightforward to get round – booking travel is definitely very straightforward in most nations in South East Asia. Tourism is the primary business, so flights, trains, boats and lodging shall be straightforward to organise. Tours are additionally out there for many well-known sights and points of interest.
  • Accountable travel – have you ever all the time needed to travel, however in a responsible and sustainable approach? South East Asia is house to multiple volunteering tours and alternatives, giving backpackers an opportunity to give back and scale back their footprint as they take in new experiences.
  • Different landscapes – should you’re unsure whether South East Asia backpacking is for you, you’ll be happy to know that there’s one thing for everyone right here. From bustling and trendy cities corresponding to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi, Singapore and Manila to laidback beaches and hidden islands, there are so many places waiting to be discovered.
  • Nature and wildlife – some of the unique points of interest of South East Asia is access to nature and wildlife. From the elephant sanctuaries in Laos to the monkey and orangutan reserves in Thailand, there are so many superb animal experiences to be had.

Greatest Locations to Visit

It’s inconceivable to build a one-size matches all itinerary when backpacking in South East Asia, as a result of there are too many places to select from. For this reason solo travel is so well-liked right here, because it permits individuals a bit more flexibility with their schedule. Listed here are just a handful of probably the most superb locations to inspire your journey…

Koh Phangan, Thailand

A shocking island off the southeast coast, and a massively common vacation spot for young backpackers wanting to meet new individuals. The monthly Full Moon Social gathering attracts travellers from each corner of the globe, and the backpacker crowd can typically be seen hanging out at Dawn Seashore. The group of Chalok Lum is welcoming of vacationers, and there’s an ideal elephant sanctuary and marine park close by.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Still fondly often known as ‘Saigon’ to many, this well-known metropolis played a pivotal position in the Vietnam Warfare. In the present day, it’s a spot of magical history, lovely colonial structure, and excellent road food. Residence to the world-famous Banh Mi sandwich, and a number of the most vital historic points of interest in Asia, it’s among the best destinations to travel to.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Discover this charming capital situated in the north, famed for its rich tradition of South East Asian, Chinese language and French influences. There are various temples here value exploring, in addition to the famous Dong Xuan Market.

Luang Prabang, Laos

Set in northern Laos, this area is among the greenest and most lovely areas in South East Asia. Luang Prabang is at the confluence of the Mekong River and Nam Khan River, and is topped with breath-taking mountains and valleys adorned with temples. Don’t miss the Wat Mai temple, which was once house to the leader of Laotian Buddhism. There are additionally many places where travellers can see and volunteer with elephants right here.


The paradise island of Borneo is likely one of the dreamiest locations in the world. Situated on the Malay Archipelago, this area is residence to infinite coastlines of golden seashores, lush rainforests and ample wildlife reminiscent of tigers, bears and orangutans. Borneo is as off the crushed monitor as you will get, promising an unforgettable experience with lovely natural landscapes.

orangutan borneo

Greatest Time to Go to

There’s really no dangerous time to discover the nations of South East Asia. This destination is great all yr spherical, nevertheless it’s necessary to perceive how the seasons work earlier than you travel. Throughout South East Asia, there’s a monsoon interval. Because of this the primary seasons are the wet season and the dry season – not just spring, summer time, autumn and winter.

The moist season runs from June to September. During this time, the local weather may be scorching and sticky, with elevated probability of rainfall. However until the world is impacted by main storms, days are principally sunny with a number of brief showers. A water-proof jacket will come in useful when you’re climbing, but you need to nonetheless pack shorts and t-shirts and other summer time clothes gadgets for the heat.

The dry season usually runs from October to Might, and is the busiest time for backpackers. With less humidity, it’s rather more snug for outside pursuits, and consistent sunshine creates the right seashore climate. Nevertheless, this is additionally the costliest time of yr to journey and a number of the widespread areas can get very crowded.

Accommodation / The place to Keep

Discovering accommodation in South East Asia is straightforward. As it’s such a renowned vacation spot for backpackers, there are hostels in each town or city. This can be the most cost effective method to travel and solo backpackers will get a chance to meet new individuals while sharing rooms. Hostels have a tendency to come in totally different types too, with some which are easy and budget-friendly and others which are ultra-modern and even close to luxurious.

For those who choose a bit extra privateness, you will be able to discover motels to go well with every price range range, as well as lovely seashore villas (together with ones that even have their own personal pool). Giant lodge chains tend to cost comparable charges to inns in the UK, Europe or North America. However unbiased boutiques will cost a lot much less for a similar degree of luxurious and facilities.


Normally, individuals in South East Asia are very friendly and gained’t be easily offended should you make a mistake. They’re huge on smiles, snort quite a bit, and can do their greatest to assist you out should you ask a question. However it’s all the time good to know a number of pointers before you journey. As some of the religiously numerous locations in the world, it’s essential for travellers to study totally different spiritual customs.

You will see quite a lot of temples, church buildings and places of worship, and each may have their very own conventions about gown code and etiquette. There could also be different rules to bear in thoughts too. As an example, some Buddhist monks are forbidden to touch ladies, so you might not get a very heat reception in the event you attempt to take a selfie with a monk. Be respectful of others, and all the time ask earlier than taking their photograph.

Generally, nations in South East Asia might be conservative when it comes to their wardrobe, so make sure to gown appropriately wherever you go. If in doubt, ask an area or somebody at your lodge / hostel to find out extra.


Totally different Methods to Travel

Interested in going to South East Asia, but unsure of one of the simplest ways to move around? Reserving your first flight over is the simplest half, however how do you get from one destination to the subsequent? Listed here are some methods you’ll be able to journey:

  • Flying – when getting from country to country, the simplest means is to fly. Airports are properly related in South East Asia, and regardless of it being much less developed than the western world, airport are extraordinarily trendy and cozy.
  • Trains – public transport is extraordinarily reasonably priced in South East Asia, making practice journey one of many least expensive methods to get from A to B. Travelling by practice can also be very protected, clean, efficient, and comparatively environmentally-friendly. There are additionally some epic rail journeys with splendid views of the countryside.
  • Tours – should you don’t need to fear about booking travel tickets, one of the crucial handy ways to explore South East Asia is to ebook a tour. That is also one of many safest ways to get round, notably for lone travellers and first time backpackers in search of a help network and a few travel companions. There are such a lot of great gap yr tours, solo travel tours and volunteering excursions to select from, and program leaders will ensure that you’ve every thing you want.

Backpacking Costs

South East Asia is likely one of the most reasonably priced locations in the world, with low cost accommodation, reasonably priced meals, and low-cost public transport. Should you’re wanting to stay on a decent finances out here, you will discover many ways to drive prices down even additional. Road food and overcrowded hostels might not appear to be a glamorous choice, but they’re part and parcel of the backpacking experience.

The most important prices you’ll have are paying for experiences, reminiscent of taking a PADI diving course, zip-lining by way of the jungle, visiting points of interest resembling temples, water sports at seashore resorts, or adrenaline activities resembling sky diving. So ensure to issue these in when planning your travel finances.

diving asia

Meals in South East Asia

One of the foremost causes that the region is so in style is the superb food. The spices and unique flavours of South East Asian delicacies are like nothing else you’ve tasted earlier than. And when it comes to the native eating regimen, there’s so much to attempt other than simply rice and noodles. While these are staples in each nation, the offering is so much extra numerous.

Soups and curries are acquainted choices in many elements of the continent, however you’ll find lots of variation in the best way these are cooked. As an example, the well-known Thai inexperienced curry has a distinctive lemongrass hit and a pointy heat, while the Vietnamese coconut curry is delicate and sweet. Then there are the recent Indian curries bought in elements of Malaysia. So there’s a huge selection of dishes to go well with totally different individuals.

When it comes to figuring out where to eat, many backpackers will inform you that the most effective meals is discovered on the street. The truth is, many travellers choose road food to restaurants, not just for their low costs but for their quality too. Contemplate this: a road food vendor cooks the same dish every single day, and that is how they good their artwork through the years. Their ardour for food is the rationale why they create dishes which might be a lot tastier than those found in chain eating places. So hold an open thoughts and stomach when walking around. You’ll come throughout some delicious road eats to hold you fuelled all through the day.

vietnamese pho

Safety in South East Asia

Most of South East Asia could be very protected, even for solo travellers and lone female travellers. There are few areas which are off-limits or thought-about unsafe, and most locals are very helpful if they ever spot a misplaced backpacker in want.

Violet crimes towards vacationers are very uncommon, and the most important issues you’ll come across are scammers. So stay alert when individuals attempt to promote you things (together with tickets or experiences) on the street. Probably the most critical danger to travellers although is visitors accidents, so be additional cautious in the event you determine to hire a automotive.

Theft is opportunistic, and some easy precautions will maintain you shielded from turning into a target. Wherever you’re, maintain your valuables hidden and depart expensive jewellery, watches or designer gadgets at house.

In case you are travelling by yourself for the first time, top-of-the-line ways to get around is to guide a tour or volunteering experience. Our Oyster Worldwide journey packages not solely have all of your travel and lodging organised, however we will place you in groups with other travellers identical to you so that you gained’t feel alone during your backpacking expertise.