Trip Planning

Three backpackers with their matching Osprey Backpacks heading to the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan!

What are the Best Backpacks for Travelling?

We asked 100+ of our readers to tell us which is the best backpack (brand, model & size) for travelling Southeast Asia – and here are the results! So, if you’re looking for a backpack yourself… Sit back, relax, and read some words of wisdom from fellow travellers in Southeast Asia – so that you can find the perfect backpack for you!

Sea to Summit Coolmax Liner with Insect Shield

Best Sleeping Bag Liners for Travellers

Sleeping bag liners are available in a range of materials and come in different shapes and styles. Whether you’re looking for an extra layer between you and that grotty hostel bed or want some extra protection, these liners have got you covered (literally!).

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.

Backpacking Southeast Asia on a Budget: A Shoestring Guide!

Backpacking on a Shoestring: 28 Budget Travel Tips!

For many newbie backpackers, Southeast Asia is the perfect first-time destination. With beer from 25 cents, meals for a dollar and accommodation for just a few bucks, if you know what your doing you could travel for years on just a few thousand dollars! Read our tips here!

The 14 Best Waterproof Backpacks 2020

The 14 Best Waterproof Backpacks

A waterproof backpack is a hugely useful item to take travelling. They protect your valuables and electronics from water damage and can be particularly useful if you are doing lots of outdoor activities during your trip! Find out if you need to invest in a waterproof backpack and discover which ones are our favourites!

Best Travel Shoes for Backpackers

Best Travel Shoes for Backpackers

Deciding which shoes to take on your trip can be overwhelming. How many pairs do you need and what type of travel shoes will suit you best? Our gear guide expert Tim comes to your rescue, armed with the recommendations of our community. Wonder no more, here is the ultimate list of the best shoes for travel!

Packing cubes

The Best Packing Cubes for Backpacking

Packing cubes are the latest ‘must-have’ accessory for travellers! We find out why everyone loves them & check out the best options for backpackers!

Best Travel Laptops For Backpackers

Best Travel Laptops For Backpackers

If you are a backpacker looking for the best travel laptop, you’ll need to think about weight, size, battery life, storage capacity & COST! Deciding whether you need a laptop for your backpacking trip is a personal decision and if you conclude that you do, choosing the best travel laptop can be downright confusing! Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

The Best Apps for Backpackers

The Best Apps for Backpackers

Looking for a backpacker app to make your trip easier? Our community recommended some super helpful options! Check out our list of the best backpacker apps and get downloading today!

Travel Gifts for Backpackers

55 Amazing Gift Ideas For Backpackers

Looking for backpacking gifts? Buy the traveller you love something they will actually value rather than just weigh them down! We delve into the best gifts for backpackers to inspire wanderlust!

Dog on a towel

10 Best Microfibre Towels for Travelling

A microfibre travel towel is an essential item to add to your packing list for Southeast Asia! We look at the benefits of this quick-dry material and the top 10 choices!

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!

Do You Need to Take Malaria Tablets in South East Asia?

Do You Need to Take Antimalarials in Southeast Asia?

There is a lot of debate surrounding the use of antimalarials in South East Asia. They nearly all come with horrible side-effects and many travellers say that the risk of catching malaria is so low that the pills aren’t worth the effort. What is the truth though? Do you need to take anti-malaria tablets in South East Asia?

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.

The Best Filterned Water Bottle for Travel - The Gray Geopress

The Best Filtered Water Bottle for Travel? For Responsible Travellers

A filtered water bottle is an essential item for the responsible traveller in Southeast Asia. Not only will it ensure that you can drink purified water from any water source, but it also means that you will be protecting the environment from unnecessary plastic waste. Read our pick of the best options for filtered travel bottles for your journey!

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…

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…

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…

A torch beam on a misty night

The Best Head Torches for Travelling

A Rechargeable Head Torch for Travelling, Camping or Running will be one of the most useful Items You Buy! We Review 9 of the Best Head Torches Around!

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?

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!

Nikki Scott Playing a Ukelele

The Best Ukulele For Travellers – Making Music Anywhere!

What makes the ukulele such a good instrument for travel? How do you decide on the perfect model for the road? This guide will help you choose the very best instrument to take with you on your travels. A musician, after all, has to keep playing, no matter where they are…

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.

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!

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!

A toy VW van with backpacks on the roof. A comical image to represent a backpack on wheels

Backpacks With Wheels: The Pros & Cons + The 8 Best Rolling Backpacks!

These days, no longer do you have to decide between having a backpack or taking a wheelie suitcase. You can have everything in one! In our recent Readers Poll about the best luggage to take to Southeast Asia, we were given some excellent recommendations for the best roller backpacks out there. Here are your top recommendations!

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?”

Best Airline Sites – Which is the cheapest?

Skyscanner​ or Expedia​? KAYAK or Momondo? TripAdvisor or Hipmunk? Or does lastminute.com still have the cheapest deals? Aaaaahhhh! Too many travel comparison sites to choose between, all of them telling you that they’ll get you the best price! But who is telling the truth?

5 Essential Packing Tips for South East Asia!

It’s your last job – cramming everything into a bag you must carry without doing yourself a mischief nor embarrassing yourself at the luggage carousel. Our rough guide, specifically geared toward the climate and activities common to a South East Asia backpacking trip, will start you off:

5 Emotional Stages of Long Distance Bus Travel in Sumatra

You’ll begin your long distance bus journey in Sumatra with an optimistic attitude. It won’t last. Read Clare Absolon’s witty take on the five emotional stages of bus travel on the Indonesian Isle and prepare yourself for your character-building adventure!

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?

How adding a stopover to your flight saves you money & enhances your adventure!

Recently we discovered an amazing new flight search engine which allows you to add stopovers into your flight journey to turn any direct flight into a multi-city adventure! Not only do you get to add unplanned destinations into your travel itinerary, you get to save tons of money as stopover flights are often so much cheaper! Find out more here…

Public transport in Southeast Asia

10 Essential Tips For Public Transport in South East Asia!

Chicken buses, tuk tuks, songthaews… Whether you’re on the so-called “VIP’ nightbus in Thailand, the public jeepney in Manila, or just learning to handle a scooter, being in transit in South East Asia provides just as many stories as the destinations themselves. Will you ever get there? Here are 10 essential tips on how to cope with the weird and wonderful transport options of South East Asia…

The Shell of an Abandoned Bus in a Desert

10 Tips To Help Survive Long Bus Journeys

An overnight bus journey can easily save you 90% of what a flight would cost, but of course a flight would take only a couple of hours, whereas you’re on that bus for the long haul There are, however, some simple steps you can take to make sure your 36 hours trapped in a bumpy steel can are as comfortable as possible, Travel Experts, Two Monkeys Travel give us some important tips…

Bus to the Hari Raya Festival, Brunei

Did You Know? Now You Can Book Buses, Trains and Boats in South East Asia Online!

Sometimes, booking transport can be a hassle. There are so many different companies, so many options and so many eager salespeople urging you to buy their ticket! So how do you avoid getting scammed? Despite the fact that the guy in the travel agent is very friendly – how do you know that this is a safe, official company that you are booking with? Here’s an insider tip!

Aeroplane on the runway.

Do You Suffer From Jet Lag? Try These Handy Tips!

Jet Lag is literally a lagging behind of one’s energy as our body moves at a rate that is faster than we’re naturally designed to move. Jet lag comes with symptoms the commonly include; fatigue, insomnia / disturbed sleep patterns, dizziness, co-ordination problems, headache and dehydration. These symptoms do gradually fade over time. However, Soul Seekers’ Ambassador Melanie Swan, is here to give us tips on how to quicken the whole process and have us enjoying our new destination from Day One!

Thailand Visa Stamp

Don’t Want to Leave? How to Extend Your Visa in Thailand…

“Help! My visa is about to run out and I’m not ready to leave Thailand!” Have no fear. Backpacker and travel writer, Camelia Gendreau, gives you the lowdown on how to quickly and correctly extend your visa and make sure you extend your days on the beach!

How to Sail The World – For The Cost of Groceries!

It’s an incomprehensible dream: live on a sailboat touring the world. Something you’ve perhaps dreamed of, but never thought possible. Meet Greg and Tiffany an American couple who are making it happen, from Tahiti to New Zealand to San Diego, they travel the world- for free! Here they share their experiences and help you realize that living from the boat deck could easily become your reality too!

The Walls of a Temple in Chiang Mai Seen Through a Fish Eye Lens

10 Alternative and Free Things To Do in Chiang Mai, Thailand

You always hear about the trekking, the night markets, the cooking courses and the street stalls of Chiang Mai, but take a second look and you’ll see so much more in this northern Thai town. Want to get away from the crowd at the Sunday Walking Street or blaring reggae and hip hop beats of Babylon Bar? Guest writer, Alana Morgan, takes a very different look at one of Thailand’s most popular cities…

SE Asia Faces & Places: Interview with an Ayurvedic Practitioner

As conversations between backpackers begin to include Ayurvedic buzzwords such as “dosha”, “five elements” and – heaven forbid – “fasting”, we catch up with an Ayurvedic practitioner, to unscramble the mystery of this ancient Eastern tradition of medicine…

Top 10 Things To Do on a Budget in Singapore

Perceived as an economic concrete jungle, Singapore is recognised for being a worldwide financial center powerhouse. For this reason, many travellers on a budget visiting South East Asia fail to consider Singapore as a travel destination. However, there is more to Singapore than just banks! The city exudes with diverse and countless points of interest, stunning parks and gardens and a fascinating mix cultures representing many other areas of Asia. Even on a tight budget, it is nice to know these Top 10 will not put a dent in the pocketbook…

10 Travel Scams to Avoid in South East Asia!

Although not everyone is trying to con you in South East Asia, there are more than a few backpackers over the years that have fallen prey to ingenious (and not so ingenious) travel scams. Perhaps it is getting ripped off for a few rupee in a taxi or perhaps an elaborate role-play which aims to empty your bank account! Read these tales of pesky tricks, double deals, hoaxes and swindles and learn the signs to look out for to make sure you’re not the next victim…

7 Epic Journeys in South East Asia

Some involve arduous days on a hot, cramped bus, some consist of a five minute breezy ride on the turquoise sea… no matter how long or short, there are some journeys from your backpacking adventure that you will never forget! We spoke to backpackers to find out the most memorable trips in South East Asia. From the famous 27 hour Laos-Vietnam bus, to the infamous tuk tuks of Bangkok, how many journeys can you tick off?

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