Southeast Asia is one of the most popular and easiest places in the world for backpackers to explore. In fact, the travel trail through this region is well-worn, as many backpackers have been exploring Southeast Asia since the late 1960s — discovering its natural beauty, friendly people, and unique experiences. In short, there’s enough to keep any traveler hooked for months, paving a pathway to an adventure of a lifetime.
Here s a guide to help you make the most out of backpacking in Southeast Asia, ensuring smoother and safer travels.
Plan Your Travels Around the Weather
Southeast Asia is situated entirely within the tropics and is widely characterized by hot and humid climates that vary little throughout the year. That’s why it’s best to plan your travels around the weather to make it as comfortable as possible. However, the best time to explore the region is around November to April as it’s neither too hot nor too crowded.
When traveling, it’s also a great idea to explore local transport as it’s uniformly of good value and is often one of the many highlights of your journey. The region has different form of transport that provides different kinds of experiences to travelers. From Singapore’s modern and fast SMRT train system to the traditional tuk-tuks in Cambodia, there’s no better way to explore a country than through a local’s perspective. Plus, it gives you a chance to mingle with locals and backpackers.
Choose Your Entry Point
To set your trip off to a great start, choosing an entry point is important. It helps make your travels smoother and organized, allowing you to get the most out of the trip. Although selecting an entry point will depend on your needs, Bangkok is generally an excellent choice for backpackers and long-term travelers as it lies at the heart of Southeast Asia, making your journey as convenient as it can be.
Your daily budget when backpacking in Southeast Asia depends on where you’re traveling and how comfortable you wish to be. But generally, you can get through the day with as little as $20 per day, but keep in mind that with this budget, you’ll be staying in very basic accommodation, eating at local eateries, and traveling on local buses without air conditioning. Consider where paying a little more will enrich your trip, then you can go off track on your budget.
Get off the Beaten Track
Although it’s always fun to visit hot spots such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia or Ho Chi Min city in Vietnam, getting off the ‘beaten track’ is a great way to explore more of a country’s hidden gems. Whether it’s to discover a secret beach or delving into a rainforest’s lush surroundings, it’s always worthwhile to try.
Southeast Asia is a relatively safe region to backpack and travel in general, even if you’re traveling solo. At most, petty theft like bag snatching and common scams such as ‘motorbike scams’ where vendors charge you for damaging their vehicle is the only thing you need to worry about. But for the most part, it’s a safe place to explore.
However, if you really want to ensure your safety, it’s best to purchase travel insurance. This policy will protect you against injuries, theft, cancellations, and illnesses while traveling — giving you comprehensive protection if something does go wrong.
If you’re new to backpacking and want to start it off with an unforgettable journey, exploring the exotic region of Southeast Asia is a great kickstart to your trip — it’s affordable, diverse, and simply beautiful. Follow the tips mentioned for smoother and safe travels.