2009 – How did South East Asia Backpacker begin?
South East Asia Backpacker has been a voice for the backpacking community ever since the launch of the first print magazine in 2009. Started by British backpacker, Nikki Scott, South East Asia Backpacker was created as “a travel diary for everyone”.
Nikki wanted to give voice to all of the amazing stories that she’d heard along the backpacker trail and create something tangible that connected people. When people picked up a copy, they felt like they weren’t alone, but part of a supportive and friendly community of travellers.
30 magazines were printed over five years, you can download them all for free here, and were distributed to thousands of hostels, cafés and travel companies all over the Southeast Asian region in popular backpacker hotspots.
From Bangkok to Hanoi, all along the ‘banana pancake trail’, backpackers could pick up a free copy of the magazine to enjoy on their next bus journey!
People fell in love with the quirky, homemade design of the magazine and the genuine, real-life travel stories. South East Asia Backpacker quickly became a beloved and trusted source of inspiration and information for backpackers.
The magazine was totally unique in the fact that it wasn’t written by professional writers, but backpackers themselves. It became the ‘voice of backpackers’ in Asia.
With its popularity, the magazine also managed to attract hundreds of talented travel writers, photographers, travel bloggers and poets who contributed amidst the pages. More and more travel companies from dive schools to yoga retreat centres demanded to have the magazine available to read in their establishments.
South East Asia Backpacker Today!
Today, South East Asia Backpacker is now managed by just two people, Nikki, and her boyfriend, Dave, who this time 2 years ago was a music teacher!
Almost 10 years since that first magazine was printed, Nikki and Dave are working to recreate the concept of a printed magazine into a supportive online community of backpackers who share their knowledge with others!
With just the two of us, it’s impossible to keep up with the ever-evolving travel landscape of Southeast Asia!
Therefore, we rely on your help to keep this website up to date and this community thriving. Just like in the old days of the magazine, we accept articles, travel guides, tips and photographs from travellers and we encourage you to share with us tales of your adventures!
Travellers are rewarded
In return, our community is rewarded with all of the perks that we get from running a travel website. As this website has grown, we often get offered the opportunity to stay in hostels, take courses, try out trips & more in return for writing an honest review on the South East Asia Backpacker website.
Obviously, we can’t keep up with all of this ourselves, so we offer the opportunity to our readers. Would you like to write (credited) material for our website in return for free stays, trips, tours and festival tickets? Thought so!
5 ways to get involved & support South East Asia Backpacker
- Sign up for our newsletter to find out about opportunities to review hostels and tours.
- Join our Facebook Community to make travel buddies and interact with fellow travellers.
- Write an article about your adventures, create a new travel guide, or update us with a piece of important travel information that you think backpackers should know about.
- Consider purchasing your flights, accommodation and travel insurance through our website. It costs no extra to you but gives us a small commission which helps to keep this website going.
- If you’ve found this website particularly helpful consider donating.
More about the people behind South East Asia Backpacker
Nikki left the UK at age 23 and bought a one-way ticket to Kathmandu. She quickly decided that she never wanted to go back to the 9-5 and started SEA Backpacker Magazine. Her vision was to create a ‘travel diary for everyone’ – where people could share stories and advice about life on the road. Since opening the business in Thailand in 2009, Nikki has travelled to every country in SE Asia (apart from East Timor and Brunei). She’s working on it.
She wrote a book, Backpacker Business, about her experiences as a backpacker turned businesswoman in Asia. The book is not all palm-fringed beaches and sunsets, Nikki very honestly discusses the challenges of living and working in Thailand. Her story is a must-read for anyone wanting to explore Thailand, beyond a short backpacker fling.
10 years since that first flight to Kathmandu, Nikki is still exploring Asia (though partying a lot less these days!). In-between, she’s also backpacked South America (creating South America Backpacker Magazine) and spent two years living in Barcelona creating Europe Backpacker (which is where she met and fell in love with, Dave… (see right)…
Dave Noakes joined the backpacker scene rather later than most. Having spent 13 years as a musician and a teacher in Barcelona, he set off for Asia for the first time at 34. At this ripe old age, you’ll be more likely to find him in a half-moon pose than at a full-moon party. That’s not to say he doesn’t still enjoy a beer or two…
Whilst travelling through Sri Lanka, India and Nepal, Dave joined Nikki as a partner in crime, writing articles for South East Asia Backpacker Magazine and giving the magazine a fresh new (and rather sarcastic) voice. You can read some of Dave’s articles here.
Dave studied Jazz at Leeds College of Music. He is still a keen musician, making music that could only be described as “not to all tastes” under the guise of Chopper Dave.
In Asia, he can mostly be found looking for delicious food, abandoned buildings, nature in all its forms and, of course, spiritual enlightenment.