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South East Asia Backpacker Magazine is a collaboration of articles from travellers exploring the region right now. For more info on submitting an article to us, check out the 'Become A Writer' page in the 'About' section of the menu.

Indonesian Drinks

Top 12 Traditional Indonesian Drinks

We always talk about the food but what about the drinks in Indonesia? This sprawling country is home to some mouth-watering beverages that you’ll want to try on your next trip!

Singapore Food Scene

Food in Singapore: Must-Try Dishes and Cheap Eats!

Singaporean food might not be Asia’s most well known cuisine but it is some of the best! A melting pot of cultures contributes to an exciting cuisine, making Singapore a destination that foodies will love. Here are some of the best dishes for those on a budget!

Indonesian Food: 18 Must-try Dishes!

Indonesian Food: 18 Must-Try Dishes!

Indonesian food may not be the most famous of all Southeast Asia’s cuisines but it is surely one of the best. Add these must-try dishes to your list!

Vegan meal Southeast Asia

A Vegan Travel Guide to Southeast Asia

If you’re heading to Southeast Asia as a vegan, you may be a little concerned. There is no need to worry though! Southeast Asia is one of the most vegan-friendly regions in the world.

Myanmar temples

Remembering Myanmar: A Traveller’s Tale

For the traveller, Myanmar may as well be on the moon at this point. The dream of exploring this historical, rich and beautiful place has quickly faded as the country has been plunged into death, violence and instability. Myanmar is facing an uncertain future, to say the least.

What is Being a Nomadic Family REALLY Like?

What is Being a Nomadic Family REALLY Like?

Family travel is more popular than ever and it’s no wonder why! But is it as good as everybody says? We caught up with Alyson from World Travel Family to get the lowdown on what being a part of a nomadic family is really like!

Travelling in Vietnam During COVID-19

Deciding to ride out the lockdown in Vietnam was a hard choice for these backpackers but the experiences they’ve had as a result have made it all worthwhile!

Banh Mi: Everybody’s Favourite Vietnamese Sandwich

Banh Mi: The Vietnamese Sandwich

Banh Mi is one of Vietnam’s best loved street foods. This iconic sandwich is packed with fresh ingredients and has a fascinating history.

Masjid Jamek Mosque and The River or Life

11 Things to do in Kuala Lumpur – The Alternative Guide

There is pretty much always something happening in KL, to suit everyones tastes. Take this short guide as an introduction to the city and its many delights, that you won’t read in any guidebook. If you’re in Kuala Lumpur for more than a couple of days and are looking for an alternative to the major attractions then be sure to check some of these out…

A wild orangutan in Sumatra.

Stranded in a Jungle Paradise During COVID-19

Ever wondered what happened to those who were stuck abroad during the COVID-19 outbreak? This is the story about how a couple ended up in the jungle paradise of Bukit Lawang, Sumatra…

Tips to Avoid Getting Sick When Backpacking

8 Tips to Avoid Getting Sick When Travelling in 2021

The life of travel can be fast paced and it’s important to look after your body. Getting sick when travelling is miserable so make sure you follow these tips to avoid coming down with something nasty. A healthy backpacking trip is a happy one!

The 20 Best Filipino Snacks

The 20 Best Filipino Street Food & Snacks

These Filipino snacks will keep your belly from grumbling on those jeepney journeys. Most of them are delicious but there are some choices for only the bravest of travellers!

Thonglor, Bangkok: The Trendiest Part of the City! 

Thonglor – Bangkok’s Trendiest Hood!

The Thonglor area in Bangkok is quickly becoming the city’s trendiest place to be. This swanky modern hood has everything from hipster coffee shops to speakeasy bars, you’re sure to find somewhere to while away an evening (or two)!

BEES Elephant Sanctuary: A New Kind of Elephant Tourism

BEES Elephant Sanctuary: A New Kind of Elephant Tourism

Looking for a truly ethical elephant experience? Head to BEES elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai and lead by example to change the animal tourism industry in Thailand! Read about what an average day spent at BEES is like and also more about the great work they are doing to care for retired elephants.

Thakhek Loop, Laos

The Thakhek Loop, Laos: A Legendary Motorcycle Adventure!

Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiane. There’s loads more to see in Laos than these three places! Backpacker Michael Alty describes his off the beaten track adventure on ‘the loop’ – a four day motorbike trip starting from the small village of Tha Kaek in Central Laos.

Bangkok Itinerary - How to Spend 1 - 4 Days in Thailand's Capital!

Bangkok Itinerary: How to Spend 1 to 5 Days in Thailand’s Capital

Bangkok is one of Southeast Asia’s craziest cities. With so much to do in the Thai capital and many backpackers debating how long to spend there, planning your visit can be confusing. Never fear, we are here to help you with out with our ultimate Bangkok itinerary for backpackers! Plan your trip today!

Mount Rinjani, Indonesia

Trekking Mount Rinjani, Lombok – Everything You Need to Know!

Gunung Rinjani (Mount Rinjani) is an active volcano in Indonesia located on the island of Lombok, near Bali. The volcano is popular with adventure seekers in need of a challenge after relaxing on Bali’s nearby beaches. Are YOU UP FOR the challenge?

Diving in Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia

Nusa Lembongan, a small idyllic island off Bali, offers some of the world’s best diving opportunities for beginners or advanced divers. Find out the best dive spots for every level and the wildlife you’ll find there.

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Backpacking Java, Indonesia – The Perfect One-Week Itinerary

There’s a standard backpacker route that most people follow when they explore Java. The journey starts in Yogyakarta where travellers come to see the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites Borobudur and Prambanan. Then, the trail leads east, to watch the sun rise over Bromo and Ijen volcanoes. It’s an amazing route that combines the cultural highlights of central Java with the striking beauty of the landscapes of East Java. This journey through Java takes a minimum of seven days…

Backpackers on the Real Hanoi Bicycle Tour.

Bicycle Tour Hanoi – See The City On Two Wheels

Thinking of going on a Hanoi bike tour? Scared to get involved in the traffic chaos of Vietnam’s throbbing capital? So were we! Luckily, with the right guidance, it can be surprisingly stress-free!

Khao Sok Floating Bungalows

Khao Sok Floating Bungalow Bliss! Cheow Lan Lake, Thailand

If the prospect of exploring mysterious caves, observing monkeys (and possibly bears) in their natural habitat, splashing in the warm water of an absurdly blue lake, and resting your head beneath a rustic bungalow sounds like a weekend well spent, consider booking a three day tour package at Khao Sok National Park!

Owl Graffiti at Taman Festival, Abandoned Theme Park in Bali

Taman Festival: An Abandoned Theme Park in Bali

Abandoned for two decades, Taman Festival is a deserted theme park that’s becoming consumed by mother nature, making it an incredible place for backpackers, photographers and urbex explorers alike. Locals say its haunted and there are rumours of a man-eating crocodile who resides inside…

Baliem Valley, Papua – The Wild Wild West of Asia?

In 1938, an American expeditioner chanced upon Baliem Valley, home of the Dani tribes. He was shocked to see how far removed from the rest of the world they were and compared their lifestyle to what a 21st century stone age would look like…

Backpackers savouring Vietnamese street food

Hanoi Street Food Tour – Eat Your Way Through Vietnam’s Capital

A Hanoi street food tour is a must-do experience in Vietnam’s crazy capital, especially if you’re only in the city for a few days! A food tour is a fantastic way to sample a variety of Vietnamese street food delights, meet new travel buddies and discover more about Vietnamese culture and traditions along the way.

The prisoners of Cat Ba National Park.

The Furry Prisoners of Cat Ba National Park, Vietnam

For an animal lover, travel in Southeast Asia can, at times, bring with it unpleasant surprises. On a recent visit to Cat Ba National Park in Northern Vietnam, I was disgusted to see three macaque monkeys kept in appalling conditions in barren concrete prisons, much to the delight of several Chinese tourists. I urge every traveller to avoid this National Park.

Pai, Thailand

A 30-Something’s Guide to Surviving Pai, Thailand

‘Pai, Pai, Pai, you should go to Pai.’ Pai is the much hyped corner of Northern Thailand, famed for it’s epic landscapes, fun bars and hippy lifestyle. But how does it hold up under the cynical gaze of this thirty-something…

Korean street food

5 Things I Learnt Living in South Korea

English Teacher Expat, Melissa Lang, explains her year living in South Korea and the fascinating things that she learnt about this underrated East Asian country!

Orangutan in Sarawak Borneo

5 Reasons to Travel Sarawak, Borneo!

Sarawak, Borneo is a place that combines wildlife, beauty and adventure! From orangutans to mouth-watering laksa, this underestimated island packs a punch.

Erawan Waterfalls, Kanchanaburi

Should You Skip Erawan Waterfall, Kanchanaburi?

If you’re currently researching a visit to Erawan National Park, nearby Kanchanaburi, then read this honest article before making your decision – you just might save yourself few dollars by doing so!

Meditation Teacher Training Course

Meditation Teacher Training: Because The World Needs It

Meditation Teacher Training is becoming more and more popular as people discover the immense benefits of meditation and want to share the magic with others. If you are interested in becoming a meditation teacher, here are some guidelines on how to choose a meditation training…

Bed Bugs: How To Avoid An Unwelcome Encounter in Southeast Asia!

While not dangerous health-wise, bed bugs whilst backpacking can be extremely annoying! Check out our advice on how to avoid having an encounter with bed bugs while you’re travelling in Southeast Asia & what to do if you suspect you already have them!

Blocks in the Angkor Thom Wall

The Hidden Trail along Angkor Thom Wall, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Did you know about the hidden 12km Trail along the Angkor Thom Wall, Siem Reap? This historical trail, that can be walked independently, will take you off the beaten track, past ancient gates and moats, far away from the tourists and street sellers.

Turtle being released for Buddhist Karma

Turtle Release: The Buddhist Practice of Building Good Karma

One traveller visits Wat Rakhang (Temple of Bells) in Bangkok and receives a cultural lesson in the Buddhist ritual of animal release. Every day hundreds of creatures; turtles, eels, snails, birds and other animals are captured in cages, purchased by locals and then released back into the wild in order to gain merit.

Top Tips For Travel Photos - Taking Photos on the Go

10 Tips For Budding Travel Photographers

In response to requests throughout my trip for picture-taking and gear tips, I’ve compiled a list of insights that have helped me improve my photography related experiences throughout the past two months.

Girl stands alone on the beach. Travelling the world as an Introvert - Photo Jeremy Bishop.

Travelling the World as an Introvert: How I Coped

What difficulties might one face when travelling the world as an introvert? One traveller describes her personal experiences on a world trip and how at first, she ignored her needs and tried to be someone that she’s not. Introversion is something that affects many people and in spite of the obvious challenges, this article proves that it is possible to fully enjoy travel as an introvert, you just need to listen to yourself…

Hong Kong

Can You Travel Hong Kong on a Backpacker Budget?

Over all, Hong Kong cost us around HKD$3,500 for two people for three nights. Solo travellers might find themselves spending a little less than this. It’s a beautiful city with so much to offer, and its often overlooked by backpackers. We wholeheartedly believe that anyone who doesn’t visit here is missing the opportunity to see a different side to China, unlike anywhere else.

Ha Giang Loop, Vietnam: A Biker’s Guide

Layer upon layer of blue-green mountains reaching out as far as the eye can see; jagged black rocks jutting out of the hazy green landscape and sheer cliffs descending dramatically from the edge of narrow mountain roads — these are just some of the views you will encounter during the 320-kilometer Hà Giang motorbike loop, located in the extreme north of Vietnam.

Christmas-in-South-East-Asia

Christmas in Asia: What’s A Homesick Backpacker To Do?

Turkey, stuffing, Christmas crackers and a questionable present from your gran — this is what Christmas is all about, right? Wrong. Being away from home for the holidays can be tough for a backpacker on the road; some might even say it’s the hardest part about travelling. so here’s a guide to “Badaa Din” and how to sprinkle some backpacker Christmas spirit, no matter where in the world you are!

Lunch on the Nan River, Northern Thailand

Nan, Thailand: Remote Mountains & Indigenous Communities

Nan, located in the most eastern part of Northern Thailand in the valley of its namesake river, is a charming little town with a historical center. Surrounded by the spectacular misty mountains of Doi Phu Kha National Park bordering Laos, Nan is a place where you will find many old temples and teak wooden houses, where foreigner tourists are rare and people still enjoy the traditional slow lifestyle of the Northern Thai people.

Koh Samui Beach

10 Surprises From My First Week in Koh Samui, Thailand

The popular island of Koh Samui is often disregarded by backpackers as a ‘tourist trap’. Artist Kai A. explains why there’s much more to the island than meet the eye, from terracotta temples to Chinese shrines, crystal beaches and the Muslim call to prayer. This island is a hotbed for creative types…

Choon Paan Truck in Sri Lanka

The Journey of Sri Lanka’s Choon Paan Man (Bread Man)

In most countries, the strains of music you hear wafting through the streets mean ice cream is approaching. In Sri Lanka, however, the drifting tunes of Beethoven’s Für Elise signify the coming of one thing: the choon paan man.

View across the valley near Pai, Mae Hong Son

The Bus From Chiang Mai to Pai: Crazy Thoughts Along The Way!

It’s no secret that the drive from Chiang Mai to Pai is a daunting one. It’s a steep and winding road that will make you feel every single one of its 762 turns along the notorious Route 1095. I just didn’t think I would lose my sanity over it!

Wat Sri Suphan, Chiang Mai, the Silver Temple

Top 5 Temples, Chiang Mai – What Wats to Visit if You’re Tight on Time?

With over 300 Buddhist temples dotted all around Chiang Mai, you’re sure to be ‘wat-ed’ out quite quickly! So what if you only have a few days to explore this beautiful Northern city? Here’s our pick of ‘what’ wats you definitely shouldn’t miss out on, even if you’re tight on time…

Hari Raya Festival

How (Not) to Meet the Sultan of Brunei – The Festival of Hari Raya

Brunei is slowly making its way onto travelers’ radars, as Lonely Planet and others have let out the secret of its opulent annual Hari Raya party, where any visitor can enjoy a royal banquet and shake hands with the Sultan of Brunei himself. But there is almost no practical information available on how to attend this event, or any tips on cultural faux pas to avoid in this strict Muslim country. I attended the celebration earlier this year, and I’d like to share my lessons and experiences, so travellers can enjoy a fun and worry-free visit to the sultan’s palace!

Two women fight in the ring, Muay Thai

Learning Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand

Sophie and I had arrived at Tiger Muay Thai and MMA training camp for a month of Thai boxing. Based in Chalong, a 15-minute bus ride out of Phuket Town, the camp boasts an impressive area of boxing rings, training areas and equipment — impressive, and scary as hell!

10 Days in a Vipassana Meditation Retreat at Wat Ram Poeng, Northern Thailand

The Northern Insight Meditation Centre of Wat Ram Poeng is nestled on the secluded edges of Chiang Mai, surrounded by woods, just on the outskirts of the Old City. These days, its reputation as a Vipassana retreat has spread worldwide, resulting in thousands of meditators enrolling in search of enlightenment.

Fishermen pull in their nets in Lombok, Indonesia

Senggigi, Indonesia: Lombok’s Main Traveller Hub

With Mount Rinjani a two-hour drive to the east, Kuta (Lombok) an hour and a half south, and the Gili Islands a quick boat trip west, Senggigi is a hub for travellers who are on their way somewhere else. Venture slightly south of town to experience local life, where tiny wooden huts line the black volcanic beaches and fishermen catch their dinner right off the shore…

Xishuangbanna: A Little Southeast Asia in China

Xishuangbanna or ‘Banna’ as it is more commonly referred to, is not the easiest region to make sense of at first glance. Located in Southern Yunnan Province of China, on the borders of Laos and Myanmar, the region feels remarkably foreign to a seasoned backpacker of China and welcomingly familiar to the experienced traveller of Southeast Asia… Tongue-twisting name aside, this is a region well worth checking out!

The bed at Sweet Life Community Guesthouse, Koh Lanta

Review: Sweet Life Community Guesthouse, Koh Lanta, Thailand – From $10 USD / Bed

Sweet Life Community Guesthouse is located in Lanta Old Town, a working fisherman’s village on the quieter east coast of the island. This beautifully designed building, with both dorm beds and private rooms, is less of a guesthouse and more of a ‘shared house’ where you’ll feel right at home as you settle into island life…

Flowers in a vase on a table by a sofa, Ma Ma Guesthouse, Mandalay

Review: Ma Ma Guesthouse, Mandalay, Myanmar – From $50 USD / Room

Despite the romantic connotations of the city’s name, thanks entirely to Kipling (who actually spent only three days in the country!), Mandalay comes with the traffic and pollution problems that you’d expect in any large Southeast Asian city. If you’re looking for a place to relax, a home from home amid the city buzz, look no further than the aptly named ‘Ma Ma Guesthouse’, run by lovely husband and wife team, Win and Su.

Soon To Be Lost Forever: Larung Gar, the Largest Tibetan Buddhist University

In June and July of 2016 the Chinese government demolished 50% of Larung Gar, a thriving settlement of 40,000 peaceful Tibetan Buddhists. They say that it has become overcrowded and that its population must be reduced to only 5,000 people by October 2017. These photos, taken by photographer, Jesse Rockwell, are the last that will ever be taken before the city is destroyed forever…

The swimming pool and bar at Myanmar Han Hotel, Bagan

Review: Myanmar Han Hotel, Bagan, Myanmar – From $30 USD / Room

Myanmar Han is THE perfect place in Bagan to relax after visiting 2,200 temples! A beautiful hotel with a swimming pool, poolside cocktail bar and view of a mountain-top pagoda, this is a really special hotel in Bagan that is truly excellent value for money! We just loved it.

The garden area at Thanlwin Guesthouse, Yangon

Review: Thanlwin Guesthouse, Yangon, Myanmar – From $10 USD / Bed.

An escape from the chaos of Yangon, Thanlwin Guest House is a beautiful big house with a very homely atmosphere that attracts guests back again and again. With comfortable rooms, a charming courtyard area, delicious traditional Burmese breakfasts and affable owners, Thanlwin provides the perfect home from home for travellers to Myanmar. 

Spectacular Views Across The Landscape on The Mae Hong Song Loop

Driven Round the Bend on the Mae Hong Son Loop, Northern Thailand!

The Mae Hong Son Loop is lauded as one of the best motorbiking routes in the world and boasts a whopping 1864 bends in a route of 650km! Two gung-ho backpackers (with pink helmets, little biking experience and no map) undertake the three-day journey from Chiang Mai to Mae Chaem, Mae Hong Son, Soppong, Pai and back to Chiang Mai… with lots of adventures along the way!

The swimming pool at Pause & Play Hotel, Chiang Mai

Review: Pause and Play Hotel, Chiang Mai, Thailand – From $40 USD / Room

Located out of the Old City of Chiang Mai, near to the University, Doi Suthep Mountain and Huay Kaew Waterfall, Pause and Play Hotel is a stylish hotel with a rooftop bar and a swimming pool. You can rent a luxurious room for one night, one week, or, if you’re looking to make a base in Chiang Mai for a while, you can rent a room with a kitchenette (and a bath!) for one month.

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