South East Asia has been a haven for backpackers for a number of years. If you’re a first time backpacker it’s a great place to start your travelling adventures as it’s fun, cheap and relatively safe. Some hardened travellers may want to avoid the crowds, but others just keep coming back again and again.
For any traveler to this region, however, there are a few things that you just can’t afford to miss.
Currency / Immunizations
Before travelling there are various factors that you’ll need to think about. Most importantly this will include arranging some form of currency and organizing immunizations. Often first time travellers to this region will fly into Bangkok as the flights from the UK are cheap and it’s a great place to start. It’s therefore advisable to keep monitoring the Thai Baht exchange rate and change some currency before you go. If you’re planning on travelling to other countries in the region – which we strongly recommend – you’ll need to keep abreast of the exchange rates when you change your money.
If your trip is likely to take you off the beaten track you may need various immunizations. It’s therefore advisable that you contact your doctor before travelling and explain the regions you plan to head to.
Where to go
As we said previously, most will head straight to Bangkok. You can immerse yourself in the traveler culture with a few days on Koh San Road before heading down to the islands on a bus or up north to Chang Mai on the train. You can make the trip to the Cambodian border on the train for close to nothing. This will be a seven hour trip with stunning views of the Thai countryside. From Bangkok you’ll also be able to arrange cheap transport (including flights) to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia and Malaysia.
What to see
You should have an idea of what you want to see and which countries you want to visit, but always be open-minded. You’ll meet people along the way who’ll tell you things you have to see and where to go. The best thing about backpacking is the flexibility to decide things at the drop of a hat. That said there are certain must sees like the Angkor, Thailand’s beaches and The Philippines.
What to eat
Travelling in Southeast Asia is all about street food. You may be used to sitting down in your favorite Thai restaurant back home, but to get the real authentic taste sit down on a plastic chair on the side of the road at one of the many street vendors and let them delight you with their fresh flavors. When you’re backpacking you should always throw yourself into new experiences – the best of which being the cuisine.