After high school graduation, studies or training or in the semester break off on backpacking journey. Does it look familiar to you? But the question is, where do you want to go? There is so much to see in the world, you have 194 countries to choose from and there are more and more! But not every country is suitable for backpackers and above all not every country is suitable for backpacking beginners: Some countries have a good infrastructure, tourism is widespread and with English you make good progress. In other countries it’s not like that.
Southeast Asia has become a very popular backpacker destination. Why? Very simple: The flights are cheap and life on the spot is affordable. The countries are exotic enough to give you the feeling of a long journey but still well prepared for tourism: There are many bus and train connections, flights within Southeast Asia are really cheap and there is accommodation in every price range. Most countries are open all year round and have a sultry but warm climate. We will introduce you to the countries of Southeast Asia in more detail:
Thailand: The Backpacking Classic
Thailand is the absolute favourite of many backpacking beginners. Thailand has a lot to offer, the people are super nice and completely focused on tourism. Everywhere you will meet other backpackers who will tell you their stories. You will travel with them or change your plans spontaneously… Thailand is made for that.
In Thailand there are sleepy places like Pai in the mountainous north, beautiful cities like Chiang Mai, the tourist stronghold Pattaya and the megametropolis Bangkok. In between of course many islands like Koh Samui, Koh Phangan or Koh Tao, but also beach resorts like Phuket or the Andaman Sea. Here really everyone gets his money’s worth. “Everyone” is also a good keyword: Thailand is the most popular tourist destination in the world and even if it is beautiful there: you will search in vain for a lonely idyll from the catalogues.
Myanmar: A very original travel country
Myanmar was opened for tourism only a few years ago, here everything is still very original and travelling within the country is quite arduous.
Therefore Myanmar is not suitable for backpacking beginners. So far only a part of the country can be travelled at all and the locals are not used to tourism. This also means that you won’t get unnecessary selfie sticks on every corner. Sounds ridiculous? Is a real advantage! In Myanmar there is the royal city of Mandalay or the pagodas of Bagan, the many mountains of Kalaw, the famous Inle Lake and an untouched coast to discover.
Malaysia: A great start for bakpacking beginners
Malaysia is the perfect country for a first backpacking trip through Asia. It is – after Singapore – the most developed country in Southeast Asia. So the culture shock at the beginning is not so violent and you hardly have to do without anything. Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures, mainly Indians, Chinese and Thais live here. So you can experience different cultures in a very small space, all of which have brought their religion and good food with them.
You will find the oldest jungle in the world, old colonial towns like Georgetown, tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands and the British capital Kuala Lumpur. And of course there are many beautiful islands. The second part of Malaysia, the island Borneo, is still very original and the locomotion there is often complicated. Of course it is still beautiful, but more suitable for more experienced backpackers.
Singapore: A piece of Europe in the middle of Asia
Singapore is a country that could not be more European and therefore not the typical backpacking country. In the midst of its poorer neighbors, Singapore looks like a piece of a perfect world in the middle of Asia. Highly polished facades, tidy parks and gardens and perfectly clean streets.
Thanks to an infinite number of rules and high penalties for dumping garbage, Singapore is considered one of the cleanest and safest countries in the world. The famous Marina Bay is one of the most pompous neighborhoods we have ever seen. Besides all the glamour, there are also “normal” neighborhoods like China Town and Little India that you shouldn’t miss.
Singapore is a city-state and therefore not very big. It is enough if you spend two to three days here. Singapore is also clearly more expensive than its neighbours, so you should expect 35 to 45 euros per day*.