Samui Plus, Thailand: A Traveller’s Guide

Are you interested in Thailand’s Samui Plus scheme? This allows fully vaccinated, international travellers to visit the three most popular islands without needing to complete a lengthy state quarantine!


A Guide to Cambodia’s Sihanoukville Sandbox

Cambodia has announced that it will begin to restart tourism with the launch of the Sihanoukville Sandbox. Incorporating popular destination Koh Rong and the resort of Dara Sakor in Koh Kong province too.

Komodo Island Shut-Down: Fake News?

Komodo dragons are one of Southeast Asia’s most alluring creatures. Komodo National Park attracts more visitors by the day. What does this mean for the dragons themselves. Samantha Lego tells us what she learnt on a recent trip.


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!

Songkran in Thailand

Songkran Survival Guide – Thailand’s Water Festival

As people gear up for the world’s biggest water fight, if you’re secretly dreading it and are wondering if it’s okay to book yourself a posh hotel, buy lots of beer and avoid the next three – five days, then read this guide on how to survive Songkran, and make up your mind…


Beyond the Temples of Angkor… Volunteering to Provide Free Education for Poor Children of Cambodia

Many travellers visit Cambodia to cast eyes upon the famous Angkor Wat Temples, yet, is there a richer experience to be had in this beautiful, yet impoverished country? Read one traveller’s experience volunteering with SOID (Supporting Orphans and Indigent People of Cambodia for Development Organisation), a small NGO that provides free education to the poor children of Veal Village, Siem Reap…

The Burmese Backpacker Boom!

When over 50 years of conflict that made the country a no-go zone for travellers came to an end, Southeast Asia suddenly had a new and amazing country for intrepid travellers to explore! Now backpackers are hitting Myanmar’s shores in droves. So what does the country have to offer them in terms of adventure? And will the country’s under-developed infrastructure be able to handle the newfound popularity?

Are Luxury Designer Hostels the New Way to Travel? Review: iSanook Hostel, Bangkok

With the air conditioning up high, you pull the sumptuous fluffy mattress up to your chin and snuggle down for a good night’s sleep at iSanook Hostel in Bangkok. Who would have thought that backpacking could be so comfortable? As you lay your head down on the thick, fluffy pillow you smile as you start to drift off into a relaxing sleep… ‘My friends back home all think I’m roughing it! If only they knew the truth…’

Revealed! Your 100 Best Moments of 2014 and Our Two Lucky Competition Winners!

On Christmas Eve, we asked you to share with us your Best Travel Moments of 2014. The response was incredible. From special moments shared with locals, friends and family amidst spectacular landscapes to homecomings, close encounters with nature, solo spiritual moments… and many more! Read these special travel moments and be inspired to hitch on that backpack… oh and we reveal the two winners of our competition!

What’s going on in Thailand? Advice for Backpackers on the Thai Military Coup

On May 22nd the Thai Army announced that they had taken over control of the country through a military coup. The two biggest questions that everyone has been asking since then are, “What does this really mean for my upcoming trip to Thailand? And is it true that 7-11s are actually closing?” Our Bangkok Ambassador, Chase Berenson gives us the lowdown on how life in Thailand has been affected by the political situation…

Same Same But Salsa! From Backpacking South East Asia to South America…

Could you backpack forever? Already thinking about where to head next? Some of our team members are currently exploring South America (and starting a whole new backpacker magazine)! If you’re keen to keep on travelling, but can’t believe you’ll find a more beautiful beach or mountain range than you’ve already laid eyes on in South East Asia, don’t fret! We’ve put together a list of places in South America where you’ll feel right at home!

Bangkok at night seen from above

Bangkok Safety Tips For Travellers

Flying into Bangkok as your first destination on your backpacking adventure? Are you worried about the political protests affecting your trip? S.E.A Backpacker Ambassadors, Charla Hughes and Chase Berenson are two travellers turned expats who are now living in Bangkok and have given us a lowdown on the current situation from their point of view, major rally sites to avoid and tips for travellers on how to stay safe in the city!

Typhoon Haiyan

The Aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, The Philippines – How Can You Help?

Relief work and international aid is pouring into the Philippines as the country continues with its recovery from the strongest typhoon ever recorded on the planet. With wind gusts that hit up to 270 km per hour at its peak, parts of the low-lying islands were completely flattened, and thousands of people were rendered homeless. No strangers to natural disasters, the Filipino people continue to build and rebuild their lives with admiration. We discover worthwhile organisations to volunteer with and how you can help!

Out and About, Beyond Khao San Road in Bangkok!

Bangkok! It’s the gateway to Asia – often the first place we touch down when we arrive, and most likely, the last before we go back home again. But how well do we know it, really? It’s an absolutely sprawling metropolis, after all, with the kind of 24-hour nightlife where everything’s on offer, from your standard friendly Irish Bar to…well, you know. Everything else. Many of us only touch the surface, dipping our toes in as far as Khao San Road and then calling it quits, which is a shame, because when the sun goes down and it’s time to hit the town Bangkok has a lot to offer!

Notes From the Editor: Do you Embrace the Prospect of ‘Change’ into Your Life & Travels?

The anticipation of a big change has been lingering in the air of the S.E.A Backpacker office in Chiang Mai recently. As soon as it was felt, we knew deep down that we must follow our hearts and obey the backpacker spirit that brought us here in the first place… Even though making big changes in your life is never easy, sometimes you need to take the plunge and dive right into the next adventure…

Deep Reflection & Spiritual Learning at the DHARMA INC Centre, Thailand.

How can travel inspire us and guide us without a heavy dose of time for ourselves in the mix? How can we welcome in new insight, or perspectives, or desires if we do not give them time to marinate and become fully flavoured? Recently we discovered the Kailash Akhara Centre by Dharma Inc the perfect location in which to add some essential ‘YOU time’ into your travel plans.

iSanook Hostel Bangkok

Review: iSanook Residence, Bangkok – A Hub for Flashpackers & Digital Nomads

This week we discovered the brand new iSanook Residence in the heart of Bangkok – and we just loved it! With nightly rooms to rent or long-term options, it’s a great place for digital nomads (those who take their career on the road) or travellers in search of a little more luxury than the average hostel.

TruTravels: The Best of Both Worlds – 5 Backpacker Secrets Within Easy Reach!

There is a must see list of places to visit in Thailand, and for good reason, but what if you want to venture just slightly off the beaten track? Where do you start? How do you know which turns to take? Sometimes you just need a wee bit of help, our friends at Tru Travels show us how to get just a little bit lost!

Making the Most of a 7-Day Trip in Myanmar / Burma

Burma, (or Myanmar) the land of Aung San Suu Kyi, is a country little visited by the world; however after just recently opening it’s doors there is a new surge of travelers pouring in. As tourism is relatively new, travellers have the unique opportunity to see a country re-writing it’s own history and re-creating it’s collective identity. However, it also means that the backpacker trail is not as well worn and pre-trip information is key. Here Andres Nunez del Prado- a Peruvian native traveling the world, tells us the in’s and out’s of his recent trip to Burma, giving us invaluable on the road insight!

Old guide books

Is the Lonely Planet Dead? We Question the Future of the Travel Guidebook…

With Lonely Planet being sold by the BBC this week for a shocking £55 million loss, does this put the future of guidebooks into question? This happens in the same week that we hear Frommers guidebooks, born in 1957 with the groundbreaking ‘Europe on 5 dollars a day’, announce the decision that they will publish no more titles. So what do you think? What is the future of Lonely Planet and the travel guidebook in general? Is there still a place for the guidebook when you are planning your trip?

The Gap Year Fear! Taking the plunge into the unknown. In need of a safety net?

Deep in your heart you know that taking a gap year is the thing you want to do most in the world – yet you can’t quite bring yourself to make the jump. What if you never do? Can you imagine if you’d never had that first driving lesson or very first date? Sometimes, all you need is a gentle push, a helping hand; support; a good safety net, something to set you on the path to an experience of a lifetime…

The "olden days" of Tubing in Vang Vieng.

The Party’s Over! The end of Tubing in Vang Vieng

You’ve heard the rumours filtering from the Banana Pancake Trail and you don’t quite want to believe it. What’s that? Noooo! Frame and mount that ‘In the Tubing’ vest of yours… ‘Tubing’ is really over.

20 Tips for Travellers to Myanmar (Burma)

Over the past year, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has been opening up to tourism and has seen a huge increase in backpackers recently, with the small amount of guesthouses barely able to accommodate them! Asia’s last frontier, the ‘real Asia’ and the ‘land that time forgot’, it’s easy to see why Myanmar is so captivating to the adventurous traveller. If you’re planning a trip to Myanmar, read our 20 essential tips, covering everything from visas, flights and crispy US Dollar bills to wearing your longyi and embracing thanaka bark!

Rainforest World Music Festival.

The Rainforest World Music Festival, Sarawak, Borneo

Next weekend the only place to be is deep in the heart of the Borneo jungles. A place of exotic mystery, the thrill of adventure; the land of ancient virgin rainforests, hornbills, orangutans and the fabled white Rajahs. As well as being home to 27 ethnic groups, between 13th – 15th July it houses the mother of all global music festivals…

Flying Through the Jungle on the Longest Zipwire in the World!

Here at South East Asia Backpacker magazine, the team love to squeeze an adventure into our schedules and what could be better than flying through the rainforest on a Sunday afternoon? Seven of us took on the challenge, and were transformed from a group of quivering wrecks into a bunch of screaming daredevils.

Interview with Vang Vieng Entrepreneurs, Greg & Owen

Undoubtedly the star attraction of Vang Vieng, a town on highway 13 between Vientiane and Luang Prabang in Laos, is the Nam Song River lined with rope swings, zip wires and a multitude of cool bars – a veritable playground for backpackers! Karen Farini catches up with Greg and Owen, 27 year old UK twins, who own the coolest and quirkiest entertainment space in town to get the low down on running a business on a river bank prone to annual flooding, the locals’ view of the abrupt change in culture and of course the crazy and controversial phenomenon known as tubing…

Bali Arts Festival

The Bali Arts Festival, Bali, Indonesia

Taking place over an entire month from mid June to mid July, the Bali Arts Festival is a unique extravaganza of arts, music, dance and history celebrating passion and pride in Balinese culture. Amongst other performances, famous masked dances originating from tribal villages are showcased and ancient classic stories retold. There’s a vibrant atmosphere all across the island as celebrations are enjoyed by locals and travellers alike. For first time travellers to Bali, it’s a fantastic introduction to the rich heritage of the spirited destination…

Our 2-Year Anniversary and a Thai Buddhist Blessing

This month, we celebrate the 2nd Birthday of S.E.A Backpacker Magazine. Boy oh boy, do they grow up fast! It only seems like yesterday that the very small and very nervous S.E.A Backpacker team set off on a preliminary trip to Koh Tao and Koh Phangan to tell people about our vision and look for sponsors to help us get off the ground. Pressed T-shirts and sweaty hands, we knocked on doors of bars, restaurants, dive schools and hostels with a basic mock-up that two years later has grown into the magazine you are reading now!

Lanterns for Tet Festival in Vietnam.

Happy Chinese New Year! The Year of the Rabbit

On 3rd February 2011 Chinese communities all over Southeast Asia will welcome in the New Year of the Rabbit. As dragon dances parade the streets and firecrackers fill the air, people hang red lanterns, give lucky red envelopes and pray for good fortune in the coming twelve months. But what does the Year of the Rabbit have in store? And why do people wear red at Chinese New Year?

Thousands of people congregate outside the gold statue of Lord Murugan at the Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur.

Thaipusam Festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Thaipusam Festival is one of the largest and most extravagant Hindu festivals in Asia celebrated by followers worldwide. Each year, millions of devotees flock to the sacred site of The Batu Caves in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur to offer extravagant gestures of penance to Hindu Deity, Lord Murugan, son of Shiva. See incredible phtotos and watch amazing footage from January’s festival…

Backpacker Video Diaries: A Traditional Good Luck Ceremony in Laos

After teaching English to local children in a small village outside Luang Prabang in Northern Laos, Courtney, Kaberly, Danielle and Jacqui are asked to take part in a traditional Laotion ceremony. They are thanked for helping the students and blessed with good luck for their onward travels. A ‘Baci Ceremony’ only occurs once a year and the girls were overwhelmed and honoured to be a part of such an incredible cultural experience. Watch the video of their special travel moment here!

Backpacker Video Diaries: Teaching English in Luang Prabang, Laos

Four girls backpacking in Southeast Asia visit a small village where they teach English to a group of local children. Flash cards, enthusiastic students, dancing and even a chicken in the class! Watch Courtney, Kaberly, Jacqui and Danielle at work in the classroom on their first few days. Take a look around the village of ‘Baan Phov Mok’ and see the children take Danielle across a river and to a nearby waterfall for an adventurous field trip!

Backpacker Video Diaries: Bug Eating in Bangkok!

It’s a backpacker rite of passage. After a couple of beers someone in your group suggests that you go and eat some grub. Literally! In carts up and down the Khao San Road in Bangkok and elsewhere in the city, you’ll see insects for sale as a tasty snack. There are crickets, silk worms, grasshoppers, beetles, cockroaches, and last but not least scorpions!

Tubing in Vang Vieng in 2010.

Tubing! Vang Vieng, Laos: What’s all the Fuss?

Up there with the Full Moon Party in terms of a backpacking ‘rites of passage’, Tubing in Vang Vieng, (Laos) is known as the best party in South East Asia! A startling claim for a place described by the Lonely Planet just fifteen years ago as ‘far removed from the Western world.’ With backpackers flocking there in the thousands; it’s clear the excitement isn’t about to slow down soon! But can it really be as good as they all say it is? One backpacker tells his tale…

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