So you’re planning a trip to Southeast Asia? Thousands of backpackers explore Southeast Asia every month and for good reason. Its beautiful, cheap, and tons of fun. Here are a few tips for those interested in taking a backpacking trip!

– Planning Destinations –

First look online and find what city is the cheapest to fly into, chances are its probably going to be Bankok, Thailand. Next, make a list of all the places you want to see such as Koh Phi Phi island, the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan island, Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, and Bali, Indonesia! There are tons of amazing places so make sure you do some research and plan a route that takes you to see them all. If you only have a short time to travel then consider buying any other plane tickets you might need ahead of time to stay on track and save a little money, (check out the budget airline AirAsia for cheap flights) but if you have plenty of time then take it day by day because some places you’re probably going to want to spend more time in than you’d think.

– Budgeting for Your Trip –

So many backpackers flock to Southeast Asia because it’s so affordable. Most of Southeast Asia is really cheap so even with a budget of $20 a day, you can totally survive. If you want to plan on doing more activities budget around $40 a day. Keep in mind that countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia are among the cheaper countries to travel, whereas places like Singapore are more expensive.

– Research Events and Climate for the Year –

One big piece of advice I can give you is to consider the time of year you go. The climate can vary a lot depending on where and when you go. Most people try to avoid the monsoon season which rains and storms almost every day. That’s a quick way to ruin your trip, so do some research and plan accordingly. Also, make sure you research events and holidays happening. Things like Chinese New Years, Songkran, Full Moon Parties, or Lantern festivals can be super fun to take part in.

– Getting Around –

If you’re in Bangkok or any other big city like Singapore, you can find decent public transportation like metros. Outside of major cities though most places have limited public transport so prepare yourself for things like tuk-tuks, bus rides, trains, and ferry hopping. You can also rent a motorbike in most places, but please be very careful doing so and always wear a helmet.

Southeast Asia buses and trains are known for being very crowded, so make sure you arrive early or try to and find a more modern option, as those companies provide a bit more luxury rides by not overpacking people on.

– Accommodation –

Depending on your budget or how far you’re trying to stretch your budget, you can find TONS of hostels that cost less than $10 for a dorm bed. Of course, you can pay a little more for a private room if that’s more your thing, but dorm rooms can be a lot of fun (especially as a solo traveler). I always use Hostelworld.com to find a hostel, even though you can usually just walk around and find one. Seriously. They are everywhere! If you want to book a hotel room, I use Agoda.com when in Asia and they usually find the best deals.

– Understanding Cultural Norms –

Do a little research for the countries you plan to visit and read up on the do’s and dont’s. Some countries are very conservative and you need to dress appropriately ESPECIALLY in places like temples. Check to see if tipping is expected or not in that country, a lot of Asia it isn’t.

One of the biggest differences you might experience is the whole bathroom situation. Yes, it’s a situation. With the exception of Japan, Asia has some seriously rough potty situations haha. We’re talking a hole in the ground, here’s a bucket to wash your ass with cause there’s no toilet paper situations. It’s fine, I’m fine, you’ll be fine. Just get your squat game strong and never go anywhere without toilet paper in your purse or backpack! I also suggest bringing a little bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag too. Next is street food. Just try it. It’s sooo good. It might look a little sketchy sometimes but I’ve gotten sick twice while in Asia and both times were from eating at nice, sit down restaurants. So eat the local street food, save yourself money, and get a more authentic experience.

– Learn Some of the Language –

Most of Asia you’ll find that people speak English, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to learn a few basics in their language. Write down a few terms, like hello, thank you, and how much. There’s also a lot of apps out there that can help you translate so download one or two of those and It’ll make your life a lot easier.