Known for stark contrasts and vibrant landscapes, south-east Asia is a land of ancient heritage and culture. Dotted nations of diverse cultures and beliefs, South-east Asia is a backpacker’s delight. For a person of Western descent, this may seem like being transported to a different world.
So here are some tips for the first time backpacker to South-east Asia.
- To begin with, our backpacker friend has to understand that this is Asia in its full bared self. Deadlines are rarely met and everything revolves around bargaining and negotiation, whether you know their tongue or not. Hence the first tip would be to be prepared for very unusual transactions on your journey to Asia.
- In continuation of the first tip, let us assure you that you will be subjected to cheating at least once in the entire trip. So do not let small loses ruin your journey of a lifetime.
- Travel light! This is true of any trip, but particularly while backpacking. Carrying a heavy bag on your back in the heat can sap all your energy in one day. So keep it light.
- Keep at least some part of your itinerary blank. SE Asia has many unexplored yet beautiful places not written about. So keeping space for these discoveries would make your backpacking trip more memorable.
- Stomach bugs are easier to catch when traveling. However, this should not deter you from trying out the local food. It is always better to eat what is available locally and eat at places that are flocked by many people. In such places food made is fresh and so quite safe from the rest.
- Transport in SE Asia is pretty cheap and people are generally helpful. So trust your instincts and try every kind of transport while you are here. A tuk-tuk is a must try for all visitors to SE Asia.
- When traveling between cities, it is wise to book overnight buses and trains. The save you a lot of time and are convenient too.
- Respect local beliefs and honor religious sentiments. Many religious places in SE Asia require you to remove your footwear, covering up etc. Be attentive to what the locals do at these places and get someone to guide you if you can.
- Get to know your fellow backpackers. You will meet many of your tribe enroute, make contacts and exchange notes to get the best out of this trip.
- Take pictures with the locals. Unlike the regular trips, these pictures with a local fisherman, a taxi driver or a Buddhist monk, would make your memories of SE Asia very unique.