Each year thousands of people head to South East Asia in search of adventure.
Backpackers from across the globe, young and old take what is often a ridiculously long flight across multiple time zones. Their motives behind doing so are as widely varying as the geographical area itself.
Should you be pondering whether or not South East Asia is for you, there are of course many elements to consider. Probably the biggest question that you are trying to answer is just what is so special about South East Asia? What is it that makes it stand out from the rest of the world as the most popular backpacking destination worldwide? I will now outline what I believe to be the answer to that question.
Backpack South East Asia
Source – ccdoh1
Low Prices – While the prices are certainly not the only reason to visit the Asia, they can prove the deciding factor for many would be backpackers. Hostels, food, alcohol and travel are all significantly cheaper than most places in the world allowing those who choose to travel through South East Asia to travel for longer and for less cash. The only problem of course is that for American readers at least, getting there is the exact opposite of cheap.
Fantastic Food – Not only is the food through South East Asia incredibly cheap, it is also considered by many to be the best in the world. And while just how delicious it tastes could be labelled as a personal preference, few places on earth pack in the amount of variety on offer within the food across the different countries from Thailand to Indonesia. An added bonus is that compared to typical American meals, the food you eat in Asia is both healthy and low in fat.
Wide Range of Accommodation – Due to the popularity of South East Asia when it comes to backpacking, the demand for shared accommodation is incredibly high. This demand has been met by a ridiculous number of hostels popping up around the continent. While many people, backpackers included, are not exactly happy about the amount of over development that is occurring in some once idyllic locations, it certainly does make traveling significantly easier.
Budget Airlines – Considering the size of South East Asia, the question of just how to get around is one that many backpackers have had to answer. Thankfully, while many do still choose to go by land, South East Asia has a very competitive low cost airline industry. Said competition has lead to fares dropping substantially and you can now country hop by plane cheaper than ever. When you compare this with the complete lack of budget airlines in South America, you are left with one more reason for choosing South East Asia for your next trip.
Safety – While certainly not always the case, in many parts of the world where things are cheap, things are not necessarily safe. Most parts of South East Asia however are incredibly safe and it therefore makes the ideal choice for those new to backpacking and worrying about what the worst that could happen is. It is important to remember however, that when I talk about South East Asia being safe, I am referring to the low number of murders and kidnappings. The usual tourist scams are very much present so all the usual precautions should still be taken.
Beautiful Beaches – From Thailand to Indonesia, one thing that South East Asia certainly does not lack is beautiful beaches. While the most beautiful are certainly not as quiet as they were even ten years ago, secluded spots can still be found throughout the continent. The infamous backpacker movie, The Beach, was of course filmed in Thailand and is a perfect example of the quality of beaches present on the continent. It is however sadly also a perfect example of just how crowded such beaches have become.
Warm Climate – While those who arrive at a destination during the monsoon season will obviously disagree with this, most countries in South East Asia have very warm and sunny climates. While at times, such weather can of course make lugging a backpack around the place quite the challenge, it also ensures that days spent site seeing and nights spent drinking on the beach are idyllic. In fact, those who hail from countries with significantly more cloudy and rainy climates frequently mention the long sunny days of South East Asia as one of the primary reasons for them choosing to go there.
Islands – While South East Asia is not the only place to find islands, it is certainly the home of the most beautiful ones. And while many have now been heavily ravaged by tourism and development, there are still quite a few where you can find long portions of beach without a single other soul around. Island hopping in South East Asia is in fact one of the most popular types of trips that backpackers can take.
Friendly People – The people in South East Asia are considered by many backpackers to be some of the friendliest people in the world. While there are many places on earth where tourists will feel very much like, well, tourists, many people who backpack across South East Asia claim that the locals made them feel at home. It is worth mentioning however that there are still many people looking to cash in on tourists with various types of scams and double pricing so don’t assume that everybody you will meet there will be friendly.
Wildlife – Not only are there monkeys running around Bangkok but there are also a number of animal packed areas of vast rainforest, none more impressive than the rain forest located in Borneo. South East Asia offers animal lovers an amazing selection of different four legged friends to witness including elephants, exotic birds and quite a number of different types of big cats. The only downside of this however is that South East Asia is also home to a shocking amount of eight legged creatures also.