Updated December 29th, 2017.
We started life as a print magazine, South East Asia Backpacker, which launched in Thailand in June 2009. We became the first, and as far as we know, still the ONLY, magazine dedicated to backpackers in Southeast Asia.
South East Asia Backpacker – Print Magazines
We printed 30 magazines over five years (you can view them all online here), which were distributed for free to thousands of hostels, cafés and travel companies all over the South East Asian region in popular backpacker hotspots. From Kuala Lumpur to Hanoi, all along the ‘banana pancake trail’, backpackers could pick up a 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 unpolished travel stories. South East Asia Backpacker quickly became a beloved and trusted source of inspiration and information for backpackers. Our magazine was totally unique in the fact that we accepted articles from backpackers themselves and truly became the ‘voice of backpackers’ in Asia. (Are you interested in writing for us?)
Distribution – All over South East Asia
With its popularity, the magazine also managed to attract hundreds of fantastic travel writers, professional photographers, travel bloggers, poets and adventurers who contributed amidst the pages. More and more business owners from dive schools to yoga retreat centres demanded to have the magazine available to read in their establishments.
With the growth of our website and social media channels (Facebook (67k likes), Twitter (7k), and Instagram (2.5k), our voice spread internationally as people continued to follow us when they returned home from their backpacking trip. And, in July 2014, we launched our magazine as a digital download.
In 2011, we opened our first office in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, where backpackers could drop by to ask travel advice or just browse through our collection of magazines for inspiration.
South East Asia Backpacker Marketplace
In 2017, we launched the South East Asia Backpacker Marketplace to enable our readers to book the most celebrated backpacker trips in South East Asia. Here, we offer a variety of trips, tours, services and travel-related products that are of interest to our readers. If you are interested in selling your trips through our Marketplace, find out more information and apply here. If you’re interested in advertising your restaurant, bar, co-working space, hotel or hostel, find out about advertising with us here.
Who are 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.
Dave also has a ‘healthy’ interest in Urban Exploration. You can follow his photo-adventures on Instagram as Urbex Appeal.
In Asia, he can mostly be found looking for delicious food, abandoned buildings, nature in all its forms and, of course, spiritual enlightenment.