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10 Reasons Why You Need To Go Backpacking In Southeast Asia

Prepare for the trip of a lifetime.

By: Hana LaRock + Save to a List

If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, then look no further than Southeast Asia for the ultimate backpacking trip. Deciding to go on a trip like this certainly takes a lot of planning and courage. Figuring out where to stay, where to go, how to get there, as well as a reasonable budget can be quite stressful. However, Southeast Asia will let you experience backpacking in a way that other regions of the world just can’t measure up to. Here’s why:

Watch the Sunset from Ham Rong Mountain | Photo: Kyle Frost

1. The Affordability

Without a doubt, one of the main reasons to backpack here is because of the prices of the countries in this region. Imagine...for less than $20 a day, you can get your hotel, food, a drink, and perhaps a foot massage while you’re at it. You can survive here on an extremely low budget, with meals costing as low as 80 cents. Buy gifts for friends and family, go sightseeing, and rent a motorbike, all without making a dent in your wallet.

2. The Food

Speaking of meals, Southeast Asia has a unique blend of flavors and fresh ingredients, providing you with the most delicious dishes you’ll ever have the pleasure of trying. Whether you prefer a simple plate of fried rice or a plethora of different food choices in a hawker stall in Singapore, the options for palatable, taste-bud popping food are everywhere you look!

3. Ease of Transportation

You could literally travel all of Southeast Asia just by train or bus, and flights are cheap and short within. Sure, the seats may not be so comfortable, it might be fairly hot, and the bathrooms on board (if there are any at all) may be questionable, but it’s all part of the experience! Additionally, most countries in Southeast Asia don’t even require a visa! While there’s of course a few obstacles here and there, in general you can travel to most places in Southeast Asia without a visa, or you can at least get a visa when you arrive (Vietnam).

4. Accommodations

Finding a place to stay in Southeast Asia isn’t a problem at all. Most of the time, backpackers just try their luck when they arrive in a new destination, and they rarely ever have a hard time finding a place to rest their heads. No matter what your preference is, hostels, hotels, guesthouses, or Airbnb, you’ll be sure to find something anywhere, and for a very reasonable price.

Backpack Through the Jungles of Chiang Mai | Photo: Eric Bennett

5. Laid-Backness

Southeast Asia is just chill. Thailand is even referred to as “The Land of Smiles.” Maybe some of those smiles are for different reasons, but despite the rough living conditions that these people have, they know the little things that life has to offer are just beautiful. No one really cares what you do or how you do something. Seriously, rent that motorbike even if you’ve never driven one in your entire life, and return it whenever you get the chance. Trust is common.

6. The Attractions and Sights

Backpacking through Southeast Asia means seeing things that are unfamiliar, but beautiful nonetheless. Visit the amazing Buddhist temples, the Batu Caves, the monuments, museums, and gorgeous landscapes. Spend time visiting cool attractions, like elephant sanctuaries, flying on zip-lines, learning in cooking classes, and so much more.

7. The Festivals

Southeast Asia has some awesome festivals going on throughout the year, and if you’re backpacking here, you’ll hopefully have time to attend a few of them. Whether you prefer the Full Moon parties, water fun fights of the Songkran festival, or the Chinese New Year festivals, the options are endless.

Vietnam's 4 Islands Boat Tour | Photo: Kyle Frost

8. The Markets

One of the best parts of traveling here is being able to visit the night markets, the floating markets, as well as the gigantic luxury shopping malls, if you so choose. The markets are great places to grab delicious street food (be careful), buy souvenirs for friends, family, (and yourself), hit up a cheap bar, and practice your haggling skills!

9. The Islands and Beaches

The beaches, bays, lakes, and rivers in Southeast Asia are absolutely stunning. You’ll find amazing islands to relax on before taking a swim in the blue waters, or places to get your scuba diving certification. Whether you spend some time in Ha Long Bay, Krabi, Bali, or the islands of the Philippines, you won’t be disappointed.

10. The Overall Experience

While people have their own reasons for traveling Southeast Asia, most leave with the same feeling; that it was the one of the most life-changing experiences that they’ve ever had. Obviously, the only way to uncover all the adventure is to come here yourself!

What are you waiting for? Plan your Southeast Asian backpacking adventure now!

Watch Sunrise at Ankor Wat | Photo: Kyle Frost

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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