Nikki Scott

Nikki Scott is the founder & editor of South East Asia Backpacker. A traveller-turned-entrepreneur, she left the UK in 2009 and after 6 months on the road, she started a bi-monthly print magazine about backpacking in Asia. South America Backpacker and Europe Backpacker soon followed and today she runs her backpacking enterprise from her base in Spain.

Lady wearing a face mask in a Thai market.

COVID-19: Thailand Travel Updates

Can you travel to Thailand right now? Get up to date with the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions for international travellers to Thailand. Quarantine periods, visas, COVID-19 test requirements, face masks and more…

Bu Phaya Temple Bagan

COVID-19: Myanmar Travel Updates

Can you travel to Myanmar right now? Get up to date with the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions for international travellers to Myanmar. Quarantine periods, visas, COVID-19 test requirements, face masks and more…

A wooden hut and white sand on the beach. Siargao Island, Philippines

COVID-19: Philippines Travel Updates

Can you travel to the Philippines right now? Get up to date with the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions for international travellers to the Philippines. Quarantine periods, visas, COVID-19 test requirements, face masks and more…

Vang Vieng Sunset View Over Town and Mountains

COVID-19: Laos Travel Updates

Can you travel to Laos right now? Get up to date with the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions for international travellers to Laos. Quarantine periods, visas, COVID-19 test requirements, face masks and more…

Locals wearing masks while riding motorbikes in Southeast Asia.

COVID-19: Vietnam Travel Updates

Can you travel to Thailand right now? Get up to date with the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions for international travellers to Thailand. Quarantine periods, visas, COVID-19 test requirements, face masks and more…

Malaysia during COVID-19 harith-irfan-wahid

COVID-19: Malaysia Travel Updates

Can you travel to Malaysia right now? Get up to date with the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions for international travellers to Malaysia. Quarantine periods, visas, COVID-19 test requirements, face masks and more…

The magnificent temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. This is Banteay Srei temple

COVID-19: Cambodia Travel Updates

Can you travel to Cambodia right now? Get up to date with the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions for international travellers to Cambodia. Quarantine periods, visas, COVID-19 test requirements, face masks and more…

Komodo National Park

COVID-19: Indonesia Travel Updates

Can you travel to Indonesia right now? Get up to date with the latest COVID-19 travel restrictions for international travellers to Indonesia. Quarantine periods, visas, COVID-19 test requirements, face masks and more…

Bucket and spade in the sand

Phuket Sandbox: Everything You Need to Know

On 1st July 2021, Thailand is opening up its borders to vaccinated international travellers without the need for quarantine. They’re calling it the “Phuket Sandbox”.

Karsts and A Long Tail Boat at Railay Beach

Thailand Reopening “Within 120 Days”: Everything You Need to Know

Starting with Phuket on 1st July, Thailand is reopening the country in stages. In less than two weeks vaccinated travellers will be able to land on Thailand’s shores without having to quarantine. In this article, we’ll look at the Thailand reopening timeline as it stands, and what we know so far about the entry requirements for travellers.

Hoa Lu - Ancient Capital of Vietnam.

When is the Best Time to Visit Vietnam?

When is the best time to visit Vietnam? Luckily, there is no bad time! However, to get the most out of your trip, you’re still going to need to know about the different climate zones.

Thai lady in Bangkok, Thailand

99 Useful Thai Phrases For Travellers

99 of the most useful Thai words and phrases that I picked up whilst living in Thailand that can be used in daily life to make interactions easier.

The Best Face Masks for Flying

The Best Face Masks for Flying

Face masks continue to be essential for use when traveling and flying. This is what you need to know when choosing a mask.

Buddha sculpture, Marble Mountain, Da Nang, Vietnam.

Asian Quotes to Guide Us Through Life

The vast continent of Asia gave us such wise characters as Confucius, Gandhi, the Dalai Lama and Lao Tzu… as well as religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Taoism. No wonder there are so many wise and inspiring Asian quotations!

Burning Season in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia’s Burning Season: What You Need to Know

The “burning season” or “haze” of Southeast Asia occurs every year creating terrible air pollution and many health problems. Having experienced this time of year first-hand several times I thought I’d give you a heads up about what it’s really like!

Exploring the local market in Hoi An

The Do’s and Don’ts of Haggling in Southeast Asia

Backpacking on a budget? Learn how to make your dollar stretch a long way with this Do’s and Don’ts guide to haggling in South East Asia. From tuk tuk rides to trips to the market you need to be armed with your skills everywhere you go.

Never Forget Elephant Foundation

Elephant Sanctuaries in Thailand + Southeast Asia: Making an Ethical Choice

Elephant Tourism in Thailand takes many forms; from riding elephants to bathing them, watching them paint, dance & other horrors! Many camps in Thailand claim to be ‘sanctuaries’, but how can you tell that the elephants are being treated well & your experience is beneficial to their well-being? Daughter of a Mahout, Tidarat Jitsook (Ann) explains all…

2 Weeks or 10 Day Myanmar Backpacking Itinerary

How many days do you need to truly explore Myanmar? The intrepid traveller will tell you that it takes weeks, months, even years to truly get under the skin of a country. Yet, most of us, particularly these days, are strapped for time – and short on money! We reckon the absolute minimum time that you need to explore the highlights of Myanmar is 12 days. Here’s what you can fit in during that time!

A tropical storm brews in Koh Phangan, Thailand.

Should You Travel Southeast Asia in the Rainy Season?

Mention the words ‘wet season’ to most people and visions of great sheets of water endlessly pouring from the sky spring to mind. Not only is that a big misconception when it comes to South East Asia’s wet season, but it deters travellers from even considering the major benefits of travelling during the off-peak time of year. Rather than avoiding the wet season that falls between June and September, you’re better off embracing the low season when the positives far outweigh the negatives…

Partying at Vietnam Backpackers Hostels, Hanoi.

The 25 Best Hostels in Hanoi, Vietnam

Discover which hostels were voted the top 25 hostels in Hanoi, Vietnam by our community! Our list includes party hostels, boutique guesthouses, rooftop bars & free beer! There is something for every kind of backpacker!

Must Try Vietnamese Street Food Dishes!

Vietnamese Street Food – 23 Must Try Dishes!

23 Must-Try Vietnamese Street Food Dishes to look out for during your adventures in the country! From the famous Bahn Mi and Pho Bo, to the not-so-famous “Bánh Tráng Nuog” AKA Vietnamese pizza!

Top 10 Things To Do in Cambodia (Apart from Visiting Angkor Wat!)

We’ve all heard of Angkor Wat and while these stunning ruins are a must see while in Cambodia, the country has a whole lot more to offer! Check out Tonle Sap- South East Asia’s largest freshwater lake, enjoy the briny culinary taste treats of Kep, or travel back in time on Battambang’s bamboo train! Here we give you the TOP 10 ALTERNATIVE THINGS TO DO IN CAMBODIA.

Travel Vaccinations for Southeast Asia

Vaccinations For Southeast Asia – What Do I Need?

Getting vaccinations for Southeast Asia is something you should do at least a month, perhaps even several months before setting off on your travels as it will take time for the vaccine to kick in and for your body to be fully protected. We look at the essential & recommended vaccinations for Southeast Asia Travel.

Universal Travel Adaptors

Best Travel Adaptor: A Universal Backpacking Necessity

While it would be much less stressful if all the countries in the world could come together and agree on a universal plug system, we’re not there yet! So, in the meantime, the invention of the universal travel adaptor has taken over…

Rak Tamachat Permaculture Course, Thailand

Permaculture & Natural Building at Rak Tamachat, Thailand

A permaculture course is not, as you may think, learning about how plants grow and how much to water them etc. (although there’s a bit of that involved). It is much more intense and revolutionary than that. The entire course gears you up to think differently about the way you look at the world; from the career you choose to the relationships you make and the way you spend your money. Permaculture is about empowerment. It’s about taking back control from the governments and the corporations that have robbed it from us, and who have led us to believe that we need anything more than healthy food, shelter and good friends around us, in order to be happy…

Climbing Shwesandaw Pagoda in Bagan, Myanmar

Bagan, Myanmar: Temple Climbing Banned!

One of the ‘bucket list’ things to do in Myanmar, if not the whole of Southeast Asia, is to climb atop a thirteenth-century temple in Bagan to watch the sunset over a magical landscape of 3,000 pagodas. Recently, however, this controversial activity has been banned. We find out why and when the ban came into force, hear from a backpacker who recently visited Bagan and look at possible other ways to get THAT view!

Proof of Onward Travel – Do You Really Need it?

It’s a question that we get asked on a weekly basis here at South East Asia Backpacker. So, it true? Do you *really* need an onward flight ticket when flying into an airport in Southeast Asia? Will a bus or a train ticket suffice as proof of onward journey? And will you be asked for proof of onward travel when crossing land borders throughout your travels? Don’t panic! All your questions answered!

Mobile Phone on a Beach

Are Mobile Phones Ruining Travel?

Was travel BETTER and MORE ADVENTUROUS before the days of Mobile Phones? Does constant connection to the Internet in almost every corner of the globe enhance, or diminish our travel experience? What do YOU think?

Maya Bay Koh Phi Phi set to close April 2018

CLOSED TO TOURISTS! Koh Phi Phi & Boracay. Where Next?

For 4 months this summer starting June 1st, Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi will close to tourists. Authorities in the Philippines are discussing a 6-month closure for Boracay Island. Is a closure necessary to protect these natural beauty spots and where should be next?

Dear Hanoi… It’s Not You. It’s Me.

Have you ever travelled to a place and felt a certain way, only to return a few years later and find that your feelings towards that place have completely changed? Places, like people, click with your personality at a certain moment in time. Just like falling in love, travel is about the present moment…

What is a “Backpacker”? Tell us what you think… #abackpackeris

What does the word backpacker mean to you? Do you have to wear certain clothes to be a backpacker? Do you have to be a certain age? Do you have to stay in hostels? Do you have to be on a budget? Is there a ‘backpacker’ stereotype in SE Asia? Tell us what you think… #abackpackeris

Hill-Tribe-Children-Thailand

Stop Trying to Find The “Real” Southeast Asia!

I’m going to have a rant about the word ‘authentic’ when applied to travel. When used by either travel companies, or backpackers themselves, I feel it’s the most ‘inauthentic’ and overused word in the whole travel vocabulary!

Coins for Change, Vietnam.

Southeast Asia Visa Guide for Volunteers, WWOOFers & the HelpStay Community

Backpackers who fall in love with a certain country in Southeast Asia may want to stay a while and volunteer their skills with a worthwhile organisation. But what about the visa situation? Is volunteering considered work? Will you need a special visa? A work permit? Here, we look at each country’s requirements one by one…

io-Hotel-Capsule, Kuala Lumpur

Review: iO Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – From $12 USD / Capsule

A brand new hostel located in a unique local neighbourhood of Kuala Lumpur, iO Hotel is a fantastic place for backpackers wanting to get to know a different side to the city. With trendy new capsule beds, as well as modern private rooms, you’ll find a mix of travellers staying here. The friendly owners Kristine and Derek will be happy to give you tips and any advice needed to explore the area!

Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal: Exotic, Chaotic & Addictive!

Nepal’s magical capital is an exotic mix of narrow alleyways, bric-a-brac shops, shanty houses, colourful rickshaws, crossed telephone wires and hidden alcoves where Hindu shrines emit sweet incense into the humid air.

Should-Travellers-Boycott-Myanmar

Should Travellers Boycott Myanmar?

Travellers thinking of visiting Myanmar right now have a moral dilemma to consider. With the country rarely out of the headlines recently regarding the government’s brutal treatment of the Rohingya Muslims, is it a good time to visit? Will your tourist dollar go towards helping the military commit more human rights violations? Does your presence as a visitor condone the atrocities? We look at the case FOR and AGAINST boycotting travel to Myanmar.

“Backpacker Tourism can be a Force for Good.” Says Aid & Development Worker

Backpackers may not spend a lot, but almost every one of their dollars stays in the local economy. With package tourists, often hardly a penny is spent in local, host economies, rather large tourist corporations, big hotel chains and restaurants, shopping malls selling Western brands. It begs the question “Why does backpacking not feature in tourism developments?” Why do backpackers get a bad rap, out of proportion to the tiny fraction who misbehave?

A view across Kalaw, Myanmar.

Kalaw: Myanmar’s Overlooked Hill Station

50km from Inle Lake, Kalaw, in Shan State, was founded as a hill station by the British. At 1,320 metres, the climate offers a cool escape from the sweltering heat of the tropics. Many travellers spend just one night here before setting off on a 3-day trek to Inle Lake. Big mistake! Kalaw is one of the loveliest towns in Myanmar and there are plenty of reasons to hang around…

Dude, Where’s My Shoes? & 16 Other Annoying Things Backpackers Do…

Backpackers are wonderful creatures, but there’s always one isn’t there… or two, or three, or a bus-load! If you recognise yourself or your pal in these characteristics – don’t worry! This article is intended to be a light-hearted look at all of us and is not meant to offend anyone. I personally have committed these backpacker crimes myself – including the first one….

Fresh air after the rain in Hpa An, Myanmar.

Hpa An, Myanmar: Jurassic Scenery, Hiking & Caves

Just a few hours from the border of Thailand, you’ll stumble across the scruffy little town of Hpa An, which is actually the capital of the Kayin Province of Myanmar. While the town itself is nothing to write home about, the surroundings are beautiful, with enormous caves, and the awesome monolith of Mount Zwegabin, rising up amidst forest and rice fields to meet the clouds… A must stop during your trip to Burma!

Useful Thai Phrases: When Ordering Food in Thailand

Watch our video filmed at a night market in Mae Sot to learn a few Thai phrases to use when ordering food. Earn smiles from the locals and maybe a bit of discount on your purchases too! From how to ask for your meal not spicy, without MSG, or tell the waiter you’re vegetarian, to how to order a beer, with or without ice, or your fruit shake without sugar – these useful Thai phrases will help you kin dee (eat well) in Thailand!

City of Ghosts: A Glimpse of Vietnam’s Affluent Afterlife at An Bang Cemetery

Way off the usual tourist trail lies the biggest Cemetery in Vietnam, An Bang Cemetery (Nghĩa Trang An Bắng in Vietnamese), known locally as “City of Ghosts.” When traveller India-Jayne Trainor was asked if she wanted to explore it by her EasyRider driver whilst on a tour of the Hai Van Pass, she was intrigued and a little nervous…

Passport-stamps-visas

The ULTIMATE Backpacker Visa Guide to Southeast Asia

As a backpacker in South East Asia crossing borders becomes a regular undertaking. Each country has a different rule of entry and some countries will require you to apply for a visa before you travel. As visa requirements often change, for travellers it can be difficult to plan things like budget and duration of travel. Here, we’ve done our best to compile the latest visa information in South East Asia to make it easier to plan your trip!

Suan Sati, Chiang Mai: A Review of the Cheapest Yoga Retreat in Thailand

Last week, we were invited to stay at Suan Sati Yoga Retreat in San Sai, near Chiang Mai, Thailand. Suan Sati (which means ‘mindfulness garden’) has only been open six months, yet the place is attracting many backpackers to come and enjoy meditation, yoga and a vegan diet in beautiful surroundings. Is it the cheap price that’s the draw for thrifty backpackers – or is it something else?

Pad Thai, Thailand.

Pad Thai: The Forgotten History of Thailand’s National Dish

Today, Pad Thai is a popular street food dish in many parts of the country and it’s on every menu in Thai restaurants that cater to farangs (foreigners). Popular as it is, how many of you actually know the fascinating history behind the dish?

Avoiding Khao San Road. Our Guide to the Best Bangkok Neighbourhoods!

Most backpackers flying into the city of Bangkok make a bee-line for one place: the infamous Khao San Road. But if you’re looking to discover a different side to Thailand than buckets of red bull and loud music, have a read about the following areas. From hipster chic hoods, to parts of the city that are more reminiscent of Thai village life than a cosmopolitan metropolis, here are a few of our favourite Bangkok neighbourhoods…

A selection of beans and pulses in sacks. A common sight in many of the cheap places to travel in Asia.

Readers Poll: The Cheapest Place to Travel in Southeast Asia

Following the popularity (and controversy!) of our first readers poll – “Where is the worst place you’ve ever travelled to in Southeast Asia?”, we decided to ask you another simple question:

“Where is the cheapest place you’ve ever travelled to in Southeast Asia?”

Readers Poll: 13 Places to Avoid in Southeast Asia

We recently asked our readers on Facebook… “Where’s the WORST place you’ve ever been to in Southeast Asia? A place that you just couldn’t wait to leave!” All backpackers are unique, and have their own preferences when they travel, so we were expecting a variety of responses to this question – and that’s just what we got!

Loi Krathong Festival, Thailand

11 Festivals in Southeast Asia you MUST see once in your life!

From the planet’s biggest water fight in Thailand (Songkran), to the gruesome piercings and self mutilations of the Hindu festival, Thaipusam, festivals in Southeast Asia are a cultural experience like no other. Have you got your camera at the ready?

Permaculture Design Course in Goa

What is Permaculture? Interview with Rico Zook, Permaculture Designer & Teacher

Last month, we took a Permaculture Design Course (PDC) in Arambol, Goa, India with well-known Permaculture designer and teacher, Rico Zook, of Itinerant Permaculture. During the course we learnt many things, one of them, something that you think we should have known before taking the course in the first place – what permaculture actually is.

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