June 24, 2015
Here is my trip to Thai Land backpacking in 2014. I wanted my trip to be a turn up and go with the flow but if I could do it again I would fly in to Bangkok and fly out straight away!
10,000 BRITISH PEOPLE VISIT THAI LAND EVERY WEEK!!
Bangkok is the number one tourist destination of the World. I love Bangkok, Thailand.
I had a great trip around Asia. with the help from this website I found out the best and safest places to go!
TRAVELLING ON A BUDGET: HOW MUCH SHOULD BACKPACKING ASIA COST?
One thing that helps manage your finances and enable you to travel on a budget is by joining one of our group backpacking tours, because you pay for the majority of your big expenses upfront like accommodation, activities and transport and in some cases food, or you are left to worry about is your actual spending money. This really comes down to beer and souvenir money, and a beer will cost about £.50.
If you’re one of those people who finds it difficult to budget, this is a particularly good option because when you book a trip with us you need to pay in full 12 weeks prior to departure allowing you a full three months to save for your spending money and flights. Flights from the United Kingdom can cost as little as £250 although on average the property somewhere in the region of £350, so you only need to put away about £300 per month in the final 12 weeks.
If you were to book a month long trip like the Xtreme Thailand experience, this can cost about £1000 so if you’re able to put away £200 per month, you can book a trip that departs eight months away and you are good to go.
How much does backpacking Asia cost? Usually most of our clients get away with spending only £500 per month in Southeast Asia.
Now if you were to travel independently, and by all your accommodation transport activities as you go you could spend up to £1200to £2000 per month depending on your lifestyle and choice of activities.
Perhaps you’ve heard that traveling in Vietnam can be quite cheap. Perhaps you’ve heard that the country can be seen for around the holy grail of $30 per day. Perhaps you’ve heard you can eat, sleep, and explore it quite well on a very limited budget.
I’m here to say that you heard correctly. After two particularly painful months (for my wallet) in Sri Lanka and then the Philippines, I was ready to go back to my cheap backpacker ways, endeavoring to spend as little as possible while having the most enriching travel experience possible. I’m so happy to say that in Vietnam, this is entirely possible.
The average I spent in Vietnam per day was $36
This was during the Tet (lunar New Year) holiday, when all busses and trains doubled in price. Therefore, one could travel in Vietnam for even less at any other time of year.
That said, Tet was a wonderful time to be in Vietnam, and celebrating with locals, eating meals and drinking around the fire with them made it all that much better.
Here’s my breakdown of the cost of travel in Vietnam:
Accommodation is nice and cheap in Vietnam. There are dorms available just about everywhere, and it’s almost a guarantee that they provide fast internet, nice, warm showers, and often a cooked-to-order breakfast is included (as long as you wake up before 10am).
I spent an average of $7 on dorms and shared rooms while in Vietnam. Some were closer to $10, and some were closer to $5. I was very pleased with the quality and cleanliness for the money I paid.
Top 10 Cheap Backpacking Tips
Pack Light. With backpacking, your mantra should always be pack light. …
Camp Out. …
Get a Hostel with a Kitchen. …
Bring Your Own Snacks. …
Buy a Train Pass. …
Walk, Don’t Take a Cab. …
Be Careful of Pickpockets and Scam Artists. …
Visit the Liquor Store.
After nearly 4 years of backpacking you’d think I have my packing list down to a tee, but once again I found myself frantically sorting through all my options when it came down to packing my bag for backpacking South East Asia. As a guy packing for Southeast Asia you’d assume it to be easy; board shorts, singlets, couple of shirts and your favorite stubbie holder, but considering the fact we’re away for the year I had to put a lot more thought into it!
So how do you pack your bags for a year on the road? In a nutshell, its a combination of research and past experience. I had the experience, but now I needed the research. For the first time ever I actually sat down and did some forward thinking on the climates we were going to be traveling through. What I found was pretty consistent across the board for Southeast Asia weather… hot and humid, with a decent chance of rain.
With that in mind I started to look for light, breathable clothes that wouldn’t weigh me down and take up too much space. Finally I was starting to put a little thought into my packing list. This time I swore I was going to be more planned and prepared, as opposed to rushed and unorganized.
In the past I’ve been known to just throw anything into a bag and hit the road. I’d choose style over practicality, and comfort over space saving. But those days are over, and I’m here to share with you the best packing list for men traveling to Asia.
Here’s a rundown of what should go in your suitcase:
Shirts/blouses. Bring up to five short-sleeved or long-sleeved shirts or blouses (how many of each depends on the season) in a cotton/polyester blend. Shirts with long sleeves that roll up easily can double as short-sleeved. Look for a wrinkle-camouflaging pattern or blended fabrics that show a minimum of wrinkles. Synthetic-blend fabrics (such as Coolmax or microfiber) often dry overnight.
Pants/shorts. Bring two pairs: one lightweight cotton and another super-lightweight pair for hot and muggy big cities. Jeans can be too hot for summer travel (and are slow to dry). Many travelers like lightweight convertible pants/shorts with zip-off legs. While not especially stylish, they’re functional in Italy, where you can use them to cover up inside churches while still beating the heat outside. Button-down wallet pockets are safest (though still not nearly as thief-proof as a money belt). If you bring shorts, one pair is probably enough. Shorts can double as a swimsuit for men when swimming in lakes or the sea.
Underwear and socks. Bring five sets (lighter dries quicker). Bamboo or cotton/nylon-blend socks dry faster than 100 percent cotton, which lose their softness when air-dried.
Shoes. Bring one pair of comfortable walking shoes with good traction. Mephisto, Ecco, and Rieker look dressier and more European than sneakers, but are still comfortable. Sturdy, low-profile tennis shoes with a good tread are fine, too. For a second pair, consider sandals in summer. Flip-flops are handy if you’ll be using bathrooms down the hall. Whichever shoes you bring, make sure they are well broken in before you leave home.
Sweater or lightweight fleece. Warm and dark is best — for layering and dressing up.
Jacket. Bring a light and water-resistant windbreaker with a hood. Neutral colors used to look more European than bright ones, but now everything from azure blue to pumpkin orange has made its way into European wardrobes. A hooded jacket of Gore-Tex or other waterproof material is good if you expect rain. (For summer travel, I wing it without rain gear — but always pack for rain in Britain and Ireland.)
Tie or scarf. For instant respectability, bring anything lightweight that can break the monotony and make you look snazzy.
Swimsuit. To use public pools, you’ll need a swimsuit (men can’t just wear shorts; and in France, men need to wear Speedo-type swimsuits — not swim trunks).
Sleepwear/loungewear. Comfy streetwear — such as shorts, leggings, T-shirts, tank tops, yoga pants, and other lightweight athletic gear — can be used as pajamas, post-dinner loungewear, and a modest cover-up to get you to the bathroom down the hall.
Documents, Money, and Travel Info
Money belt (or neck wallet). This flat, hidden, zippered pouch — worn around your waist (or like a necklace) and tucked under your clothes — is essential for the peace of mind it brings. You could lose everything except your money belt, and the trip could still go on. Get a lightweight one with a low-profile color (I like beige). For more, see my article on money belts.
Money. Bring your preferred mix of a debit card, a credit card, and an emergency stash of hard US cash (in $20 bills).
Documents. Bring your passport; plane, train, and rental car documents or vouchers; driver’s license; and any other useful cards (student ID, hostel membership card, and so on). Photocopies and a couple of passport-type photos can help you get replacements more quickly if the originals are lost or stolen. In your luggage, pack a record of all reservations (print out your hotel confirmation emails). Bring any necessary contact info if you have health or travel insurance.
Guidebooks and maps. Pack the travel info you’ll need on the ground (or download it into your ereader). I like to rip out appropriate chapters from guidebooks and staple them together, or use special slide-on laminated book covers.
Small notepad and pen. A tiny notepad in your back pocket or day pack is a great organizer, reminder, and communication aid.
Journal. An empty book to be filled with the experiences of your trip will be your most treasured souvenir. Attach a photocopied calendar page of your itinerary. Use a hardbound type designed to last a lifetime, rather than a floppy spiral notebook. My custom-designed Rick Steves Travel Journals are rugged, simple blank books that come in two sizes. Another great brand, with a cult following among travel writers, is Moleskine.
Small day pack. A lightweight pack is great for carrying your sweater, camera, guidebook, and picnic goodies while you leave your large bag at the hotel or train station. Don’t use a fanny pack — they’re magnets for pickpockets.
1) Reasons to visit SRI LANKA.
sri-lanka_strände_karte Regrettably, Sri Lanka is almost unknown in the western hemisphere and I didn’t know much about the multitude of things to do offered on the comparatively small island before my arrival either.
First of all it’s important to know that Sri Lanka is a year round destination as the monsoon divides it into two seasons. You should choose the right corner of the island accordingly (you can find info on the best travel times in the linked articles about the region). For Backpacking in Sri Lanka, the best months are the transitional months from January to April and August to September.
You can expect a variety of things to do: Starting with wonderful beaches, amazing diving spots, national parks with impressive fauna (elephants, leopards, monkeys etc.) to tea plantations, huge temples, fortresses and must-see cities (such as Galle), Sri Lanka has something to offer for everyone.
Last but not least: Sri Lanka is a very affordable tourist destination. Even though you pay more as a tourist than the locals do, it is possible to travel on a small budget.
To give you an overview, I summarized my personal highlights in the following article:
Top 5 Things to do in Sri Lanka
Der Löwenfelsen vom Flugzeug aus – Sri Lanka ist reich an Vielfalt!The rock fortress of Sigiriya – Sri Lanka has a big variety of sights to offer!
2) Language & Communication
Sri Lanka is divided in two parts by language. The north mostly speaks Tamil while the rest of the country usually uses Sinhalese. Both languages are completely different.
As in most Asian countries, it is possible to get by with English in most hostels and with most tour providers – additionally Sri Lanka was an English colony (under the name of Ceylon) for more than 100 years and therefore a lot of locals in the cities speak at least some basic English (depending on the education).
The locals are very friendly and always have a smile for you. Should there be any communication issue you can often get by with hand signs. It should be noted that similarly to other Asian countries many people avoid saying “No” clearly. Instead you will often get a smile and evasive answers to questions 😉
3) Costs of traveling in Sri Lanka
Generally speaking, Sri Lanka is one of the most affordable countries. In tourist hot spots, however, reality shows steeply rising prices for foreigners. Often locals pay less than tourists. By planning your trip independently it is possible to find a good balance and save a substantial amount (even luxury resorts are affordable!).
To give you an idea:
Guesthouses often offer overnight stays f
Back packing BALI.
Bali is an island in Indonesia, located between Java to the west and Lombok to the east.
The island of Bali is a popular tourist destination for both backpackers and people looking for a relaxing vacation. With accommodation ranging from budget homestays to luxury hotels and boutique resorts, Bali caters for travellers on any budget. Since it is relatively close to Perth in Australia, Bali remains a popular spot for Aussies from the Land Down Under.
Bali has miles of beaches on which to soak up the sun’s rays, from long sandy ones in Kuta and Seminyak, to sheltered coves with coral reefs in Uluwatu, to paradise white beaches in Padangbai. But find the time to dust the sand off your feet and venture to the interior of the island, and you’ll find iridescent green rice fields, volcanoes and mountains.
Bali is known for some of the best surf in the world, so it’s not surprising the island attracts surfers from across the globe who come in search of the perfect wave. Whether you’re a beginner looking to stand up on a board for the first time, or an experienced surfer looking to get barrelled on the reef breaks down in the south, Bali has waves every level of surfer.
From story-telling Barong dances to charming temple ceremonies- Bali offers a unique cultural experience. The majority of the Balinese people follow the Hindu religion and this is evident in their everyday practices as well as the many temples scattered across the island. Bali is a very spiritual place, and the artsy town of Ubud is becoming increasingly popular with tourists seeking yoga holidays, spa retreats and traditional healing.
The island is known for its arts and crafts and is a haven for clothing and accessories designers, with a glamorous expat scene. Bali is so very ‘now’ and is becoming increasingly trendy, with luxury hotels, boutique shops, organic delis and ultra-chic sunset bars. A night out in Bali can range from drinking Bintangs by the beach to wild nights out in chaotic Kuta.
If you’re looking for some cheap Asian food, grab some sate chicken from one of the street stalls or snack on Nasi Goreng in one of the many warungs. Sick of rice? No problem. Bali has numerous international restaurants serving all kinds of food from Italian pasta to Japanese sushi. Oh and be prepared to have the best banana milkshakes of your life.
With a tropical climate, Bali offers warm weather all year round which makes it a great destination for holidaymakers looking for sun, sea and pumping surf. What’s more, the Balinese people are extremely friendly and helpful, making it a great place for backpacking.
INDIA is a vast country that holds its own against even the most diverse continents on the planet. Rich in sights, sounds and smells, India is a full blown sensory overload of beautiful, lush waterways, majestic mountain regions, vast, arid deserts and swarming, congested cities teeming with more people than you could ever imagine fitting into one place. Exotic and eclectic cultures, romantic monuments, frenetically packed bazaars and an ancient culture that clashes endlessly alongside a society that has surpassed modernity and is racing toward the future at breakneck speed. India is frustratingly confusing, confounding and astonishingly diverse. Ultra modern malls are springing up alongside some of the biggest slums in the world and there are more ethnic groups, creeds, castes and religions per square mile than almost any other country.
Most visitors to India either absolutely love it, or absolutely hate it. Often at the exact same time. There is no middle ground here, India is a land of extreme polarity that throws everything at you all at once. Culture shock doesn’t just hit you here it runs up to you and smacks you in the face with a baseball bat.
Despite this India remains absolutely compelling, and will grab hold of you and keep hold from the second you step off the plane. In spite of the hassle, the problems and the poverty, India will weave its magic over you and change your whole outlook on life forever.
Culture And Etiquette.
India has a long, diverse and rich tapestry of religions, cultures, castes and creeds that it celebrates with an intense and unapologetic fervour. It is easy for first time visitors to make the mistake of assuming that India is one unified whole, when in reality it is a melting pot of languages, religions and beliefs that stretch back centuries. Hindu, Muslim, Jainism, Catholic and many other religions all coexist side by side, and ancient traditions are still found intertwined with the crashing relentlessness of modern consumerism and the still visible cultural and architectural remnants of British colonialism.
India is a very conservative, patriarchal society, and travellers should respect that in their dress and manner. The easiest way to do this is simply by dressing modestly. Both men and women should wear tops that cover the shoulders, and women in particular should wear long trousers or skirts that cover their legs. A shawl comes in useful for covering up quickly and easily, especially if you want to visit a place of worship.
One of the things many first time visitors to India struggle with is the absolute lack of – and even complete lack of a concept of – personal space. Almost everywhere you go in India, particularly in the cities, you will be surrounded by people. All of the time. You will be jostled, bumped into, pressed up against and stared at (constantly). There is no such thing as a queue in India, and people often do not think twice about spitting in front of you or using the street as a toilet. It is best to simply adopt a bemused indifference.
Planning a 4 week trip through Thailand from June 9-July 8 this Summer. Flying round trip from LAX-BKK and I am planning on using Bangkok as a hub for traveling to the north and south of Thailand as well as a jumping off point for cheap airfare to Cambodia.
As of right now, its just me and my pack travelling solo, and I’ve only booked my airfare – nothing else. What kind of planning do I need to do ahead of time regarding a day-to-day breakdown of what city/region I’ll be in and what guesthouse I’ll stay in? I plan to stick mostly to the backpacking trail (although I would like to get off the beaten path a bit from time to time).
My basic itinerary is a few days in Bangkok, overnight train to Chang Mai (use Chang Mai as a hub for seeing the North of the country) and then I’ll head back down to Bangkok before getting to the south of the country. Any recommendations about the best places to visit for about a week of R&R on a beautiful beach in the south would be much appreciated.
I realize that my choice of a blog name has somewhat pigeonholed me into a certain style of travel. Budget travel, backpacking, travel hacking, whatever you call it: I’ve always sacrificed luxury and comfort in the name of saving money and thus being able to travel more. Most of my travel-related decisions are made based on the cheapest options, and until my student loan debt is paid off, this is the way it has to be.
That said, I had every intention of approaching my recent trip to Bali with my usual mantra. Then I made one trip-changing realization:
Bali is a phenomenal value destination.
Yes, you can absolutely travel Bali on a shoestring if you want to. There are $5 dorm rooms aplenty, dirt-cheap local buses, and simple local dishes that only cost $1-2 apiece. But when the cost of upgrading your digs, wheels, and bites is minuscule compared to the difference in quality between the cheapest option and the much-better option, the decision is a no-brainer.
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Far be it for me to ignore my first real opportunity to upgrade my usual travel style with minimal damage to my wallet. I enjoyed the hell out of Bali, and it’s 100% because I allowed myself to travel without worrying about how much money I was spending.
Guys, you’re just not doing Bali right if you’re traveling on a shoestring. Bali is a place where you should absolutely loosen your purse strings a little – where spending just a few dollars extra makes all the difference between an average experience and a fantastic one.
Allow me to illustrate:
ACCOMMODATION IN BALI
There are three main types of accommodation in Bali: hostels, homestays, and hotels.
HOSTELS IN BALI
A bed in a hostel dorm room will run you about $5/night, similar to other countries in Southeast Asia. I didn’t stay in a hostel at all while in Bali because the other accommodation options are so much better value (as you’ll see below!).
Here’s my exact two-week Vietnam itinerary, complete with costs, reasoning, hotel recommendations and links to my experiences in more depth. I hope this helps and if you have any questions, just ask in the comments box below.
Two week itinerary for Vietnam
Day 1: Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City
We flew into Ho Chi Minh City from London on Saturday to arrive on Sunday for 1pm. The flight had cost £675 each about three months before.
We got a taxi to our hotel from the airport. Our hotel, the Saigon Mini Hotel 5 (now shut down, try nearby Bich Duyen Hotel as it was a great location), had already sent us an email detailing precisely how to get there, which was very helpful and reassuring. They told us to only get a Mai Linh or Vinasun taxi, which was advice echoed throughout our trip. The other taxi drivers tried to pretend they were from these companies, or that these companies ‘didn’t pick up here anymore’: not true.
Two-week itinerary Vietnam
The backpacker district of Ho Chi Minh City at the intersection of Pham Ngu Lao and De Tham streets was where we were staying. It was about a 30-minute drive away from the airport and cost us 170,000 dong for the taxi (£5). He dropped us right at our door.
The staff at Saigon Mini Hotel 5 were lovely and had our train tickets we’d ordered ready for us. We were shown to our room, all great, all awesome, very tired.
As a quick round up we spent our first afternoon:
Cruising the Ben Thanh Market
Met a friend and had a delicious dinner of pho (approx £2 each)
Drank cocktails up at the Duc Vuong Hotel (approx £2.50 each x5)
Relaxed into the Vietnamese way of life
Little bit of shopping
One night at Saigon Mini Hotel 5 in a private double for two was 532.800 VND (£15.75).
(Just to repeat: now shut down, try nearby Bich Duyen Hotel as it was a great location)
Other attractions we didn’t visit, but you could: Grand Independence Palace, Day trip to Cu Chi, Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, Museum of Vietnamese History, Ho-Chi-Minh Museum, Saigon Square
Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City
Day 2: Mekong Delta tour
We pre-booked this with the hotel above at 220,000 dong each (£6.44). The hotel let us leave our bags in their luggage room for free as we were leaving that night and we were picked up at 7:30am for the tour.
The bus took us and around 10 others out to the Mekong Delta where we:
Rode a lot of different boats wearing the traditional hat
Ate elephant fish
Went to a cotton candy factory
Saw some beekeepers
Held a snake
Saw a water buffalo
Learnt a bit about the area
Two week itinerary for Vietnam
We left the Mekong Delta area at about 5pm and were back at our hotel for 7pm. We had dinner on De Tham Street at Five Oysters and just relaxed after a hard day of sightseeing. It absolutely chucked it down – fun to watch from the safety of our restaurant. The food was yum, and I would definitely recommend.
At 10pm we went and picked up our bags and took a taxi to the train station (70,000 dong/£2). Here we had an ice cream for dessert and got some water for the journey from the shop.
At 11pm the train left the station for Nha Trang. It was $37 each (£23) through Vietnam Impressive for a 4-berth soft bed. Click for more on the trains in Vietnam, but let’s just say for now it was an adventure.
Cost of Ho Chi Minh City
Day 3: Sightseeing in Nha Trang
We arrived in Nha Trang at 5:30am and decided to walk to Sun City Hotel where we were staying. It took about 30 minutes along a straight route, although there were plenty of taxis outside though if you’d rather.
Thankfully, or I may have cried, they let us check in at 6am. We had a shower and a sleep before a delicious hotel breakfast which was included in the price at 9am.
Two nights at Sun City in a private double cost $48 (£30). It was a simple room, but suited us and the view from the breakfast room was incredible.
I hadn’t done much research on Nha Trang so wasn’t sure what to do. We decided to take a walk around and go up to the Long Son Pagoda. I had to break at a coffee shop. I can’t describe how tired I was thanks to my train experience and while my boyfriend drank coffee I actually fell asleep at the table.
One hour later and I was able to continue the journey, just. We walked over the bridge taking photos, and then went up to the pagoda which cost 12,000 dong to get in (40p). We spent just over an hour there, it was so, so hot. Pretty cool to look around though and the temples were, odd.
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