Mochilero por el sudeste asiático (Viajar barato – Presupuesto Épico 2024)

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For many travelers, backpacking in Southeast Asia is the highlight of their backpacking career.

If you come from Western civilization, exploring the countries of Southeast Asia is like being catapulted into an alternate reality.

From the moment you set foot on the mainland, you can feel the electricity in the air.

Your senses explode with stimulation and you enter the bustle in search of an ice cold beer.

If you're new to backpacking, Southeast Asia is a great place to start your travels: it's affordable, safe, diverse, friendly, and beautiful.

I currently live in Bali and, in total, I have spent over three years backpacking Southeast Asia in the last ten years of my traveling career: I know, and love, this corner of the world extremely well.

Plan a solo trip It can be a daunting task, but fear not: this Southeast Asia travel guide will give you detailed information on where to go in Southeast Asia, travel itineraries and backpacking routes, tips and tricks for traveling on a budget in Southeast Asia, country profiles and much more.

Buckle up and put on your motorcycle helmet: this is the ultimate backpacker's guide to traveling Southeast Asia in 2023!

Why backpack Southeast Asia?

The chaotic symphony of backpacking Southeast Asia is one of the most fun and powerfully rewarding experiences any backpacker can experience.

If you want to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, a backpacking trip in Southeast Asia will surely fulfill that dream beyond your imagination.

For first-time backpackers, or travelers just looking to have a good time without the stress or hassle of worrying about complicated logistics, Southeast Asia is heaven.

In general, backpacking in Southeast Asia is very cheap compared to traveling in other parts of the world.

This guide will break down the highlights and costs for each country in Southeast Asia, so you have the right information to have a truly amazing experience on a shoestring budget.

Arquitectura del Templo de Chiang Mai Tailandia
Thailand is the perfect mix of cultural sights and fun time (and it's cheap!)

Southeast Asia is a fucking backpacker's paradise. There are an INFINITY of incredible experiences that can be lived.

Dive in and discover some of the best and cheapest diving spots in the world at Malaysia. Explore ancient temples and impressive monasteries in Myanmar.

Take yoga classes in the morning and surf in the afternoon at Indonesia. Trek through dense jungles teeming with wildlife, rushing rivers, and massive waterfalls on Laos. Explore Vietnam in the field on a motorcycle.

Have you got your attention yet? Like I said, backpacking in Southeast Asia is a great adventure. You can be sure that the region will soon have a permanent place in your backpacking heart.

Let's dive in and take a look at the best Southeast Asia travel itineraries and backpacking routes for your adventure.

The Best Itineraries for Backpacking Southeast Asia

Let's make one thing clear. Southeast Asia has so many things to do and see that it would be impossible to see it all in a lifetime, much less in a single backpacking trip.

That being said, you sure can see a ton of things no matter how much time you have.

Southeast Asia is a region that lives, breathes and even thrives on a certain degree of chaos.

Backpacking Southeast Asia requires one to adapt to that chaos and embrace the wonderful spontaneity that a backpacking adventure here presents.

backpacking in thailand
Want to earn your backpacking stripes? You have to be a backpacker in Thailand

You should not try to plan your trip until the last tuk-tuk ride.

That said, having a general Southeast Asia travel itinerary in mind will help you pick out some regions and countries that are on your radar, while also giving you the opportunity to visit some places that might not be.

Do you have two weeks? One month? Three months? Six months? Forever? No matter what your deadline is, the itineraries I've listed below have helpful Southeast Asia travel routes to suit every schedule.

Keep in mind that each itinerary can be combined with another, reversed, and customized based on your interests and backpacking desires. Let's dive...

2-4 Week Southeast Asia Backpacking Itinerary: Banana Pancake Route

Itinerario con mochila por el Sudeste Asiático - Mapa de la Ruta del Plátano Pancak
The only problem with backpacking Southeast Asia is choosing where to go

In two weeks, it would be difficult to complete this entire itinerary. To be honest, it would probably be impossible and not much fun even if you did!

If you only have a couple of weeks, my advice is to pick a country or two that you really want to visit and fully explore that country.

If you're feeling ambitious and think you can visit multiple countries in two weeks, I applaud you, even though that's not really a style of travel I like or recommend.

You really can do a lot in just two weeks. The options are endless.

Within two weeks, you have plenty of options, as long as you pick your area and don't waste too much time rushing.

A two-week itinerary should be planned based on your own interests. What do you want to get out of your few weeks backpacking in Southeast Asia?

Want to let loose in Thailand's infamous party zones? Exploring the bustling cities of Malaysia? Watch the sunrise over ancient temples in Myanmar? Get your diving certificate in Bali? Walking through the epic jungles of Cambodia? The choice is yours O worthy explorer!

Because in Southeast Asia, all these activities and many more are within your reach. The choice of how to spend your 2 weeks backpacking is up to you!

If you're short on time, I'd advise sticking to the smaller countries (Laos or Cambodia are good options), where transportation distances won't take much of your backpacking time away.

2 week itinerary ideas

thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, thailand, Laos, and Cambodia they can be done in two weeks individually. Sure, you'll only scratch the surface, but you'll leave with an even more intense hunger to return.

Start your trip by visiting Bangkok and exploring the city for a few days.

Now that you're satisfactorily overwhelmed, you can head over to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat. Note that thailand has some spectacular temple ruins in Ayathuja and Sukhothai.

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Angkor Wat temple, Siem reap, Cambodia

Before or after Angkor Wat, you can travel to chiang mai in northern Thailand and from Chiang Mai to visit the hippie hill town of daddy.

This itinerary leaves you room to absorb the highlights, while giving you the freedom to delve into things of interest along the way.

Alternatively, you can go see Angkor Wat and then head back to Thailand to explore some of the thai islands further south for a good mix of party and beach.

With two weeks, you might as well be heading out on a satisfying diving adventure. In Malaysia you can mingle in a UNESCO heritage city in malacca before heading to thioman and kappas islands for a week of diving.

3-week Southeast Asia backpacking itinerary

Having three weeks gives you a little more leeway in terms of the number of destinations you can visit. I still recommend picking one or two countries at most and exploring what they have to offer.

For example, you could combine thailand and an adventure in Cambodia including a visit to Angkor Wat. Or you can have a culinary, diving, and hiking bonanza, starting in Malaysia and ending in the thai islands before flying out Bangkok.

Alternatively, you can explore a piece of the Philippines either Indonesia in 3 weeks too, but keep in mind that the transport connections are not so good and the trips will consume your time.

mochilero en los templos de Indonesia
Are you backpacking this region of the world? Get ready to see a lot of temples

With three weeks, you can do a good round on a few islands in Indonesia. This itinerary is more focused on surfing, yoga and hiking.

After two weeks exploring Bali, travel to the white-sand islands of Lombok and the Gili Islands area, just a couple of hours away by boat. Each of the three islands has a totally different atmosphere. *cough* And there are mushrooms in the Gilis *cough*

We then turn to Flowerswhere you can spend time diving, and organize trips to Komodo National Park to see the infamous Komodo dragons.

During three weeks in the Philippines, he flies to Puerto Princesaand leave pretty fast to get to port barton. This area has several islands with good beaches and for snorkeling.

Then go to The nest, known for its island hopping. If you have the money, you can arrange an expensive boat trip to the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park, known for its abundance of magical marine life.

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The stunning views of the surroundings of El Nido, Philippines.

take a ferry to Coronwhich is famous for its World War II wreck diving. If you're a diver, take a day or two to explore the nearby apo reef also.

You can also visit other islands off the beaten path, such as Culion Island and busuanga island. From what I have heard it is nothing more than cabins, beautiful beaches and diving.

ferry back to Puerto Galera. I've heard that this area has a decent local diving scene and is easily accessible from Manila. You can end your trip with a visit to Boracay if you have some time.

It is a bit remote, but it is easy to get to from Puerto Galera. It is one of the most famous beaches in the Philippines for its incredible sand.

1 month backpacking itinerary through Southeast Asia

Some will say that Thailand is the epicenter of backpacking in Southeast Asia. Thailand is home to the infamous full moon parties, Bangkok ladyboys, mind-blowing cuisine, stunning beaches, and magnificent temples.

This backpacking itinerary takes you through the heart of what put Southeast Asia on the map.

Explore the best of what Thailand has to offer (see itinerary above) before heading to Laos. Take the slow boat from chiang mai to Luang Prabang. If you have time, go up Climb Mount Phousi before leaving town.

Laos receives its fair share of backpackers, though far fewer than Thailand.

kuang si falls laos
Laos is stunning and a less touristy alternative to Thailand

The main attraction of Laos is its unmatched natural beauty, its friendly people and its low prices.

If ever there was a super-cheap adventure packed with outdoor activities, you'll find it in Laos. vang vieng it is the main playground for backpackers in Laos; it's the place where you can smoke a joint and eat banana pancakes all day Tad Lo Waterfall it is also worth visiting.

Vietnam is the next stop on this route. Soak up the majestic views and cooler temperatures of the northern mountains before heading south.

Rent a motorbike, explore the cities, go scuba diving or tour the islands.

Vietnam has some of the best street food in all of Southeast Asia, so prepare your belly for bliss. Visit Hanoi and explore this bustling metropolis before heading to halong bay and Cat Ba Island.

Finally, go to Cambodia and Angkor Wat on the way to Thailand. Learn about Cambodia's sobering recent history as you explore some of the most impressive temples and beaches in all of Southeast Asia.

You'll have to rush a bit to take it all in, and you may find it easier to skip a few destinations along the way to make room for the things that matter most to you.

2-Month Southeast Asia Itinerary: From Vietnam to Myanmar

Mapa de viaje del itinerario del Sudeste Asiático
If you are older than 2 months and don't mind traveling a lot, this is a great itinerary for you.

This itinerary starts in the south of Vietnam (although you could also start in the north). Lose yourself exploring Ho Chi Minh City before heading out into a more tranquil setting.

Hit the beaches, go snorkeling or scuba diving, and visit the floating markets. When you head to the coast, be sure to stop at mui ne, hoi anand Hue before reaching halong bay.

Then head north up the coast, exploring some of the most spectacular coastline in the world. If you like motorcycles, a road trip in Vietnam is the dream. Remember to always wear a helmet

After two or three weeks in Vietnam, he crosses over to Laos. Then go to thailand for a few days (or more) staying in Chiang Mai or Bangkok before crossing the border into Myanmar.

after checking Yangon you can set off in search of more Myanmar magic.

In Myanmar, the highlights are the monasteries around Hpa-an, he Saddar Caves, hsipaw for some great hiking adventures, the temples of Bagan of course, and pindaya that houses the cave of eight thousand buddhas.

3-month itinerary in Southeast Asia: The ultimate circuit

Mapa del itinerario de viaje por el Sudeste Asiático
If you have more than 3 months, this itinerary will allow you to give some love to the Philippines and Indonesia

So far, I have focused on the five countries that make up the traditional backpacking route of Southeast Asia. Having 3 months to go backpacking in Southeast Asia means you have a lot of flexibility in planning your trip.

Of course, there is no set Southeast Asia backpacking route, and part of the fun of backpacking is doing what you want, when you want.

When backpacking Southeast Asia, you'll meet cool people, make new friends, maybe have an adventure or two, and of course, your plans will change frequently. Don't overplan, be flexible and go with the flow

This is definitely easier if you have more time, and with three months to travel in Southeast Asia, you can delve into a place for longer than a day or two, because you're not tied down for a short time.

Many travelers start in Thailand and travel from there. Cheap flights within Southeast Asia allow backpackers to fly to destinations like Indonesia, Borneo or the Philippines without the lengthy (and expensive) process of traveling by boat.

Uno de los varios miradores de Amed, Bali.
It is definitely worth spending a few days in Bali in Amed.

What to do with so much time? My advice is that you get to know some destinations in Southeast Asia in depth. Do you like Laos? Stay a few more weeks? Do you want to learn to dive? Choose a dive site and soak up it.

With three months you will certainly get to know some of the best places to visit in Southeast Asia and have time to get off the beaten track.

With a little more time on your hands, you can now start thinking about exploring Malaysia via southern Thailand or flying to other destinations that interest you.

3 month itinerary ideas

Please refer to the 1-month itinerary mentioned above. You can do the classic Southeast Asian circuit at a comfortable pace in a couple of months.

With a month to spare, you can travel south to explore the thai islands before crossing to North Malaysia. Check langkawi island before heading south.

Stay in Penang It is the best; It's one of my favorite cities in South East Asia, with some great hiking and diving in the surrounding area. penang national park.

Alternatively, you can travel to Bali either Manila of Bangkok and explore a whole new part of Southeast Asia.

The highlight of the Philippines is climbing Mount Pulag, The crystal cave of Sagada and olahbinan, Kalinga Jungle, The nest to climb and party, and Coron for an epic dive.

guía de viaje económica de Malasia para mochileros
Cool art on the streets of Penang

If you want to spend a couple of months in Indonesia, you won't be disappointed. In addition to the route from Bali to Flores, you can also take a flight to Sumatra. Here, visit the orangutan sanctuary in bukit lawang and the awesome Lake Toba.

You can also dive worldwide in Pulau Weh. This tiny island is located at the beginning or end of Indonesia, depending on which way you look at the map.

You will have to go through the city of Acehto Band to get here, which is the only place in Indonesia where sharia is applied.

This is definitely not the place to party while backpacking Indonesia, but it's worth the squeeze if you make it to Pulau Weh.

6+ Month Backpacking Southeast Asia Itinerary: The Long-Term Backpacker

Mapa del itinerario de 6 meses para mochileros en el Sudeste Asiático
If you are more than 6 months in SE Asia, you should be able to see a good part of it

You won't be the first backpacker to love Southeast Asia so much that they've spent six months or more there. Lucky for you, with six months you have the opportunity to visit more off-the-beaten-path Southeast Asian destinations, once you've seen the most popular spots.

Thailand is super, super beautiful, although you can experience many of the best aspects of Thailand in a month or less. Go hiking in Borneo

Take your ass to Indonesia and explore some of the thousands of remote islands there! Tour the farthest reaches of the Philippines!

Check out my other Southeast Asia travel itineraries to get the inspiration you need to get started, and then follow your well-seasoned inner compass for what to do next. you you really want to get in

When your six months are up, don't be surprised if you end up spending another six months backpacking Southeast Asia. Let's now take a closer look at each of the countries you'll be traveling to during your backpacking adventure in Southeast Asia.

Places to Visit in Southeast Asia: Country Breakdown

Southeast Asia is a really huge region. There are eleven countries that make up the Southeast Asia region and today we are going to cover nine of them. Each one is special and also radically different in its own way.

An epic backpacking adventure can be found in every country.

Each of the countries that make up Southeast Asia has something incredible to offer. The landscapes, the people, the culture, the food and the religion are unique in each country.

What countries are the best to visit in Southeast Asia? Every country in Southeast Asia is fucking epic

A universal truth seems to be that if this is your first time backpacking Southeast Asia, you will experience a very different set of cultures than anything you have ever known (if you grew up in the West).

Thailand backpacking budget travel guide
The beautiful landscape of Pai

Considering the options of where to go backpacking in Southeast Asia, the sky is the limit. Although you may have heard that there is much, much more to Southeast Asia than drinking buckets, crazy parties, motorbike traffic and drunk Aussies (sorry guys).

Southeast Asia is an incredibly cheap, diverse, beautiful and spiritual land, full of possibilities for adventure.

If ever there was a backpacker's paradise on earth, it's easy to say that place is called Southeast Asia, and if you're a first-time traveler, Southeast Asia is the perfect place to travel: it's affordable, safe, diverse, and friendly. .

Backpacking Thailand

For many first-time backpackers, Thailand is the picture at the top of their imaginations when it comes to destinations in Southeast Asia.

Finding a backpacking route in Thailand is easy as many routes are well established and there are plenty of backpackers on the ground to give advice to.

Thailand really is a special country filled with endless fun. Amazing natural beauty, first-class diving, amazing street food, well-developed infrastructure and very friendly people.

mochilero del sudeste asiático
Backpacking vibes in Thailand.

In addition to its natural splendor, Thailand boasts some of the most dynamic cities in Southeast Asia, especially if you want to settle somewhere long-term as a digital nomad.

Both the town of Pai and its surroundings and the city of Chiang Mai are certainly high on the list.

Thailand is fast becoming the world capital for digital nomads.

Thailand receives more visitors annually than any other nation in Southeast Asia, so if you're looking for a destination off the beaten path, this isn't it. More than 35 million people visited Thailand in 2017.

That being said, backpacking in Thailand is an absolute blast and a definite right of passage for first-time backpackers looking to sink their teeth into Southeast Asia.

No doubt you'll meet loads of great travelers in Thailand's nearly endless backpacker hostels, and the resulting adventure will be great.

What you need to know before visiting Thailand

tráfico nocturno en bangkok
  • Do not miss..the North: this is the real Thailand! Both Chiang Mai and Pai are two of my all time favorite places.
  • You know what's overrated? the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan: It's pretty sloppy here, not to mention how hectic it is. The Eden Party is much better.
  • The coolest hostel is...S*Trips – The Poshtel. A stunning location, right next to the night bazaar, and a very stylish interior.
  • The best food is in...Bangkok. The city is so damn big that you can find everything here.

Backpacking Vietnam

In recent decades, Vietnam has risen to the top as a top destination for backpackers.

Delicious cuisine, low prices, cheap places to stay, historical sights, and mind-blowing wonders are just some of the attractions that make up Vietnam's allure.

Backpacking Vietnam offers an amazing opportunity to get off the beaten track…

Explore the dramatic mountains of the north, stopping for some corn wine and a friendly chat with the locals before heading south to party all night.

vietnam con mochila
Enjoying stunning views in Vietnam!

If you want to explore Southeast Asia on a motorcycle, Vietnam is the best place to go.

The country is long and thin, making it perfect for a road trip and motorcycles with Vietnamese license plates can enter most other countries in Southeast Asia (this is pretty unique).

You can start your trip in Hanoi, the cultural capital of Vietnam, or in Ho Chi Minh City, former Saigon and the country's economic engine. Hanoi is a great place to base yourself, as some of the country's biggest attractions, such as Halong Bay and Ha Giang, are just a short drive away.

Between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, you will find many things: the gastronomic wonders of Hue, the best beaches in Vietnam and much more. There's a lot to see and do here, folks.

What to know before visiting Vietnam

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  • Do not miss..the Ha Giang circuit by motorcycle. It is one of Vietnam's hidden gems and much better than Sapa.
  • Seeks..those bamboo pipes from the north: they are used to smoke the local tobacco and they pack a punch.
  • The coolest hostel is...View of the old quarter of Hanoi – free beer every night and the hostel still immaculate? What is that mythical place you speak of?
  • The best food is in...Hue is well known for its Central Vietnamese dishes. Stay a few nights (and visit the Old City too).

Backpacking in Laos

Laos is a truly special country in Southeast Asia, which has managed to maintain its laid-back identity in the age of mass tourism.

Wild jungles, river deltas, smiling locals and incredible hikes make Laos the backpacker paradise that it is.

rainbow nong khiaw de visita en Laos
Rainbow over Nong Khiaw in Laos.

Places in northern Laos, such as areas in and around Luang Prabang, experience cooler temperatures in the mountains and rain forest.

While the south is rather the agricultural heart of the country. Each of them has substantial importance for backpackers. Laos is the perfect country for backpackers who want to get to know Southeast Asia in a short time.

You can easily see the highlights and experience the country off the beaten track in 2 weeks or a month. However, take it easy.

Laos is a country that should not be rushed. You'll see when you put your boots on the ground that nothing happens fast in Laos anyway… It's a land of chills.

What to know before visiting Laos

cascadas de luang prabang mochilero laos
fountain Ronny Bolliger (Shutterstock)
  • Do not miss..the mountains surrounding Vang Vieng. Many people stop exploring them in favor of navigating the river. Still, the river party scene in Vang Vieng is on the wane.
  • You know what's overrated?Luang Prabang. In recent years, it has become very touristy and a bit fake. However, the nearby waterfalls are still great.
  • The coolest hostel is...1920s hostel – As the name suggests, this hostel is charming and rustic, not to mention very chill.
  • The best food is...on the streets! Street food in Laos is absolutely top notch.

Backpacking in Cambodia

The Angkor Wat temples are an obvious attraction for Cambodia backpackers and they are truly impressive. Cambodia is a country rich in culture, beautiful beaches and islands, the Mekong River Delta, and bustling markets.

The nation of Cambodia is a country that is still emerging from an extremely dark recent past.

The Khmer Rouge, led by the tyrant Pol Pot, killed between 1.5 and 3 million people. It happened only 35 or 40 years ago and it is still very fresh and raw for the Cambodian people.

camboya de mochilero
Explore the ancient temples of Cambodia

Despite the tragic history, the local Khmer are some of the kindest human beings in the world. The country continues to recover, rebuild and move forward, but corruption is hampering its rehabilitation.

Cambodia is one of my favorite Southeast Asian destinations to travel to; I loved it so much that I ended up staying longer than my visa allowed.

From amazing backpacker accommodations, cheap prices and epic off the beaten path trips, Cambodia has it all. See for yourself and you too will fall in love.

What to know before visiting Cambodia

jóvenes monjes en el templo de camboya
fountain: corn field (Shutterstock)
  • Do not miss..the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng. One of the most sobering places in Southeast Asia and a refreshing change of pace.
  • Don't lose sight...temples other than Angkor Wat. Cambodia is full of Khmer ruins, like Koh Ker.
  • The coolest hostel is...Mad Monkey – Koh Rong Samloem. MM hostels are legendarily good, but this one is the best.
  • The best food is in...Siem Reap outdoor food market. Most backpacker accommodations are conveniently located around here.

Backpacking in Myanmar

In recent years, backpacking trips to Myanmar have skyrocketed. The country has opened its doors to foreigners for the first time and travelers are flooding it.

In Myanmar you can have truly epic travel experiences.

Bagan's temples are stunningly beautiful and are best explored by electric bike. Take a good tent and camp so you can watch the sunrise over the temples.

Guía de viaje de la visión exótica de Birmania
Myanmar is another world

I first visited Myanmar in 2013 and fell head over heels in love, it was one of the most rewarding countries I had ever traveled to and it blew my mind.

Although Myanmar is one of the best backpacking adventures in Southeast Asia, the current political situation has cast a dark cloud over the country.

Due to the unspeakable actions of the government Myanmar is on my black list of countries at the moment.

What to know before visiting Myanmar

mochilero templo blanco de myanmar
fountain Phuong D. Nguyen (Shutterstock)
  • Do not miss..Bagan. Over there are tourist spots in Bagan, however, the scope of the area is immense. Going on an e-bike to a secret location and preparing for the sunset is the way to go.
  • You know what's overrated?Inle Lake. Super pretty, super touristy and super expensive. Visit it, and then go for some crazy hiking in the nearby regions.
  • The coolest hostel is...any of the Ostello Bellos.
  • The best food is in...Mandalay. In fact, I love staying in Mandalay, and the aromas given off by the street food night market are a big reason for that.

Is this the best travel backpack ever?

Backpacking in Malaysia

I love backpacking in Malaysia. Somehow, Malaysia has managed to stay under the radar of the general backpacker population on the Southeast Asian backpacking circuit.

Considering Malaysia uninteresting would be a mistake. Malaysia should be your next backpacking destination!

First of all, it seemed to me that Malaysia has some of the lowest prices in all of Southeast Asia. The country is extremely clean, the roads are in very good condition and the people speak decent English.

Also, Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country, which I found to be quite a contrast to the Buddhist majorities in northern countries.

Itinerario en Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is seriously underrated.

tioman island It is one of the best kept secrets in Southeast Asia. Getting your PADI open water certificate is cheaper in Tioman than anywhere else in Thailand. Also, the diving is better in my opinion.

Coral reefs are not suffering the same level of bleaching as in Thailand. I saw lots of turtles, sharks and more alive reef systems in general.

Malaysia is also home to one of the world's oldest rainforests in Taman Negara. Malaysia is perfect for crazy adventures!

there is also Malay Borneo. Some parts of Borneo are surprisingly well developed.

That said, there are gigantic swaths of the island that remain wild, teeming with rhinos, orangutans, and other rare wildlife. I am looking forward to my triumphant return to Malaysia soon.

What to know before visiting Malaysia

plantaciones de té en malasia
fountain szefei (Shutterstock)
  • Do not miss..Borneo. It's such an overlooked destination, but there's a lot of great stuff here. Get a tattoo in Kuching!
  • Seeks..the hidden speakeasies in Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown. They are VERY well concealed.
  • The coolest hostel is...Orchid Haven in Cameron Highlands. Cooking classes, a garden, free breakfast, and all the peace you could want.
  • The best food is in...Penang. Although ALL Malaysian food is good, Penang takes top honors.

Backpacking in Singapore

Singapore is the smallest country on our list. This tropical island city-state may be a blip on the map, but it is a regional economic and cultural powerhouse.

Backpacking Singapore has a reputation as an expensive place to visit in Southeast Asia.

Although Singapore is certainly more expensive compared to its relatively cheap neighbors, there are still plenty of things for backpackers on a budget to do.

In the food stalls of the different markets you can find some of the best street food in the world.

Singapore is a multicultural melting pot, so it is possible to taste the influences of many different cultures in one dish. Rub shoulders with the locals and eat something epically delicious and cheap.

1024px-Chinatown_at_Sunset_,_Singapore_2013_(8437779104)-Erwin Soo-wikicommons
Singapore is a great place for backpackers who like efficient cities (or just like to eat) | Photo: Erwin Soo (wikicommons)

Visit chinatown, explore arabic streetand be sure to have a curry at little india. Just from the names of the neighborhoods, you can deduce that there are many ethnic groups represented in this city-country.

If you visit Singapore for longer, be sure to visit the nature reserves that surround the city.

Few people realize that on the outskirts of Singapore's urban centers one can take magnificent day trips into the surrounding jungle.

There is also plenty of local life to experience beyond the neon landscape.

Singapore is a city that has something for every backpacker.

Whether you're just passing through or coming to SEA specifically to backpack Singapore, you can be sure there's always something awesome (and tasty) to get into.

What to know before visiting Singapore

noche de los jardines de la bahía de singapur
  • Do not miss..the hawker centers (coffee shops). When you're in Singapore, eat. The food is amazing.
  • You know what's overrated?Sentosa Island: It's just Disney World with a fake beach.
  • The coolest hostel is...Wink Capsule Hostel. Intimate without being cramped.
  • The best food is in...Maxwell Food Center. It is the most famous street food center in Singapore. In fact, the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world is here!

Backpacking in Indonesia

As an archipelago nation made up of more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia is one of the most fascinating countries in the world. The country is so big and spread out that exploring it can be overwhelming.

Backpacking Indonesia is an adventure like no other. For starters, you can climb active volcanoes, meet orangutans in the jungle, visit ancient temples, and enjoy world-class diving.

Along the way, you'll be welcomed by some of the friendliest people around as you enjoy the varied and delicious cuisine. Best of all, you can easily backpack Indonesia on a budget.

Mochilero en los templos de Indonesia
Indonesian scenes..

Bali is undoubtedly Indonesia's backpacker magnet, and for good reason. Along with a thriving digital nomad scene and tons of epic places to see, Bali is also a surf and party central. If you want to become a yoga teacher, there are countless programs offered all over the island.

It's worth staying in Bali for a while, but make sure you visit some of the other islands as well. Although it is fun, I would say that Bali is not at all like the rest of Indonesia.

The country is bursting with off-the-beaten-path exploration possibilities. 17,000 islands, bro! Get out there and explore some of them and you will quickly fall in love with this huge island nation.

What you need to know before visiting Indonesia

chica en la puerta en bali
  • Do not miss..go from island to island Nusa Penida, Derawan, the Kai Islands, Wakatobi; these are some of the best, but there are 17,000 more to see.
  • You know what's overrated?Kuta, Bali. Avoid it like the plague.
  • The coolest hostel is...the Tribal lodge, which will open soon, of course. Read about my plans here.
  • The best food is in...Bali. It may not always be "authentic" but it is always of a very high quality.

Backpacking the Philippines

Cheap beer, beautiful beaches, adrenaline pumping activities and some of the friendliest and most genuine people in all of Asia; The Philippines really captured my heart.

I made some amazing friends in the Philippines and I have to say that it is one of the easiest countries in the world to navigate as the locals are so friendly.

Getting around the Philippines as a backpacker and finding a sweet and cheap place to stay (and something sweet and cheap to eat) is a breeze.

There are thousands of islands to choose from. This translates to world-class diving, snorkeling, and fishing. If you have never tried spearfishing, you should give it a try. Spearfishing isn't much better than in the Philippines, where the visibility is unbelievably good.

Hombre relajándose en la playa en Filipinas
Chilling out in the Philippines

If you love hiking, like me, you'll love finding some epic hiking opportunities in the Philippines. Caves, rivers, mountains, you name it, one can find all the outdoor playgrounds here. There are plenty of adventure opportunities in the Philippines if you're equipped for it.

There are endless hiking options in the Philippines: hikes through remote hills and active volcanoes, gentle walks, and multi-day backpacking trips.

Some popular treks are The Cordillera and its rice terraces + Mount Pulag. Not far from here you can reach sagada and go hiking in the hills Bohol and the chocolate hills they are also a great place for hiking. In the Philippines there are 25 active volcanoes that you can climb to the top

What to know before visiting the Philippines

barco en la bahía de filipinas
fountain Tetyana Dotsenko (Shutterstock)
  • Do not miss..The nest. It is a true paradise, the stuff of dreams and legends. Stay here forever if you can.
  • Seeks..crowds in Baguio. It is becoming one of the most popular places in the Philippines; Let's hope it doesn't get TOO popular.
  • The coolest hostel is...Paglaom Hostel (Siargao). It is relaxed, welcoming, offers surfboard rentals and has a space dedicated to yoga. Perfect for surfers.
  • The best food is in…it's hard to say, really, there's so much diversity. suckling pig in cebu, empanadas in Ilocos, bulalo in Tagaytay; nothing really beats dressing made by a local grandmother though.

Off the beaten path trips in Southeast Asia

Once you have your boots on the ground, the Southeast Asia backpacking circuit will be as obvious as the stars in the night sky. Backpackers don't usually venture too far from the so-called banana pancake trail.

That being said, if you're a keen and adventurous type, you shouldn't have any trouble going off the beaten path.

Many parts of Southeast Asia remain untouched by backpackers to this day. Many regions are very wild and offer endless opportunities for exploration.

Plus, there are islands in Southeast Asia (think Indonesia) that are so damn remote that few Westerners have ever been to them.

Have fun on the Ruta de las Tortitas de Plátano, but don't forget to get out from time to time to really explore.

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The best things to do in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is an adventure playground. It's both a backpacker's paradise and a place packed with amazing budget adventures.

Without a doubt, there will never be a day when you get bored for lack of things to do in Southeast Asia. Let's dive in and take a look at some of the radical adventures that await you in Southeast Asia.

1. hiking in the jungle

There are magnificent jungle tours in Myanmar, Northern Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam; hell, in all SEA countries actually! If you choose to hike, be sure to take a multi-day hike. I personally prefer trekking in Laos or Myanmar.

mochilero laos
Experience the best of Southeast Asia off the beaten track.

2. Dive

Many backpackers fall in love with scuba diving while in Southeast Asia.

Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia offer incredible diving opportunities in crystal clear waters with abundant marine life and many wrecks for the underwater adventurer.

The cheapest place to learn is the island of Kao Tao in Thailand and the islands of Malaysia.

3. Motorcycle in Southeast Asia

There is perhaps no better way to explore a country than on a motorcycle. Enjoy every minute as it will be so much fun that you won't know what to do.

Terminando 5 días en el Bucle de Ha-Giang en Vietnam

4. Learn to cook

Do you love Southeast Asian cuisine? Me too Taking a cooking class while visiting a Southeast Asian country will boost your culinary skills.

You'll be making delicious meals for years to come that will remind you of the good old days backpacking in Southeast Asia.

5. chase waterfallyes

In every country in Southeast Asia you will stumble upon waterfalls. epic waterfalls. Each one will be more impressive than the last and will have you dreaming of turquoise waters for years.

waterfall 272654 960 720

6. Speleology

Southeast Asia is home to some truly impressive cave systems. If you get the chance, you should explore one of them!

7. Try as many different foods as possible

Do you like to try new things? There is something delicious, tasty and strange to put in your mouth at every moment.

I hope the words "no, I don't think I want to try that" never come out of your mouth. Exceptions are only granted if the food in question is an endangered or protected animal.

Thai Food Vegetable Various Food Asian Thai 3411588

8. Attend a cultural or religious festival

As I mentioned before, attending a festival in Southeast Asia will help you better understand the culture you are already immersed in.

9. Go climbing

Southeast Asia is full of karst mountains, rising like pillars and towers from the ground.

For the casual tourist, these spirals make a great photo; for climbers, however, they are the stuff of dreams. Visit Railay, Cat Ba and Kuala Lumpur to see some grade A routes.

climber in railay thailand
source: King Ropes Access (Shutterstock)

10. Island Hopping

The Philippines has more than 7,100 islands, Indonesia has 17,000. Combine them with all the other islands scattered throughout Southeast Asia, and you have plenty of islands to live out your Robinson Crusoe adventures.

You'd better get going now - it's going to take you a while to go through them all.

Backpacker accommodation in Southeast Asia

The most common place to stay while backpacking Southeast Asia is, of course, hostels. They're cheap, ubiquitous, and can be a lot of fun.

Have you never stayed in a hostel? You're lucky!

Southeast Asia boasts some of the world's best-known and most highly-regarded hostels, which would impress even the most seasoned backpacker.

For those new to hostelling, South East Asia is a great place to start.

If you are going to hike the Camino de las Tortitas de Plátano hard and for several months, you will want to bring the right gear. We all know that guy who steals towels from hostels and takes them with him wherever he goes; don't be that guy.

vietnam coffee shop hostel
source: Tonv (Shutterstock)

Although it's easier to find hostels in the more heavily traveled areas of Southeast Asia, there are real gems that get off the beaten track. One of the best hostels I have ever stayed in was in the middle of nowhere in Northern Vietnam.

I would also like to take this moment to remind everyone that Tribal hostel to open end of 2020 in Bali!

It's also a bit off the beaten track (by the way) and will be a great way to escape the barbarian hordes of Kuta. The shameless promotion is over.

As always, camping it would be the best way to save money while backpacking.

You just have to make sure you have a sealed tent and do your best to control the place: there are really dangerous snakes in the remote and jungle areas of SE Asia.

You never really need to stay in a hotel while backpacking Southeast Asia.

If you need a private space, use Airbnb or book a local guesthouse instead.

The best places to stay in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia costs as a backpacker

Southeast Asia is a mecca for budget travel. Nowhere else in the world can you drink beer for less than a dollar, find accommodation for little more than that, and easily eat out every day for less than $10.

Preciosas vistas de Bagan
Backpacking Southeast Asia is epic.

To give you an idea of the cost of backpacking in Southeast Asia, here are some absolutely tight travel budgets:

  • 20 – 30 $ / day: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia
  • 25 – 35 $/day: Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia
  • 30 – 40 $ / day: Indonesian, Philippines
  • $600 – $900 / month Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia
  • 750 – 1050 $ / month Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia
  • 900 – 1200 $ / month Indonesian, Philippines

As you can see, some Southeast Asian countries are more expensive than others. For example, the cost of a trip to Thailand is not as cheap as you might think. In general, any of the islands you visit during your backpacking trip in Southeast Asia will be more expensive than the mainland. Also, Singapore is something of its own thing: you can expect a much higher cost of travel there than in the rest of Southeast Asia.

Budgeting properly for Southeast Asia is the key to a successful backpacking adventure. Traveling in Southeast Asia should never be super expensive. With a few cheap travel tricks up your sleeve, you'll save a lot of money and have a blast like never before.

A daily budget in Southeast Asia

Here's a more detailed breakdown of what you can afford on a daily basis while backpacking Southeast Asia.

Country Bedroom Local food Trip by bus Average daily cost
thailand $4-10 $1-3 $2-10 $20-50+
Vietnam $5-10 $1-7 $3-15 $20-40
Laos $4-6 $1-3 2.50 $ per hour $20-35
Cambodia $3-8 $1-4 $2-7 $20-40
Myanmar $10-20 $2-6 $3-10 $20-50+
Malaysia $5-10 $2-4 $5-10 $25-55
Indonesia $10-15 $2-5 $3-8 $30-60
Philippines $5-7 $1-6 $3-10 $30-55+

See the budgets

Budget Tips for Visiting Southeast Asia

To keep your expenses to an absolute minimum while traveling in Southeast Asia, I recommend you follow these basic budget adventure rules….

  • Camp: With plenty of pristine beaches, forests, stunning scenery, and remote jungles, Southeast Asia can be a great place to pitch a tent for the night. Camping saves you money and can help you get off the beaten path. Check out this post for a breakdown of the best tents to take backpacking.
  • cook your own food I took a small gas cooker with me to SE Asia and cooked many of my meals while hitchhiking and camping, saving myself a fortune! Check out this post for information on the best backpacking ovens.
  • couchsurfing: Southeast Asians are amazing, so get to know them! Take a look at Couchsurfing to make real friends and see a country from the perspective of the locals. When using Couchsurfing, be sure to send personalized messages to your potential host: make them stand out!
  • haggle Bargain, negotiate, sit down for tea, and flirt hedonistically if necessary. A good bargaining game will go a long way when backpacking Southeast Asia on a budget.
  • hitchhike This is your friendly reminder that hitchhiking is best, and saves you money!
  • Leave the "bubble" Staying in the tourist bubbles is always more expensive. Remember to get out of the bubble and live the local life to travel to Southeast Asia really cheap.
  • To find out how to travel the world on $10 a day, check out the backpacker's bible.
  • Bring a travel water bottle: Save money and the planet every day! Filtered or not, a travel bottle of water is always infinitely better than buying 2-3 plastic bottles a day.

Why should you travel to Southeast Asia with a bottle of water?

While there are many things we can do when it comes to responsible travel, reducing plastic consumption is one of the easiest and most impactful things you can do.

Don't buy single-use water bottles, don't bring plastic shopping bags, and forget about straws. All this ends up in the landfill or in the ocean.

If you want more tips to save the world be sure to watch the following video.

When to visit Southeast Asia

Due to the great distances that exist when we talk about ALL of Southeast Asia, time can vary greatly.

The peak tourist season in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam is November to February when the weather is beautiful throughout the region, but there is a good chance that you will meet a lot of tourists. The most popular guest houses fill up quickly.

So you can find cheaper accommodation, which is difficult to find during the high season.

The local people are very friendly and willing to help, so if you have any problems don't be afraid to ask the locals for directions.

It is better to avoid the northern areas of Thailand than February to April as the fire season begins and the mountains will slowly be covered in smoke.

viajar con mochila a vietnam
Damn Vietnam!

When talking about Indonesia, for example, keep in mind that Indonesia is much further south and closer to the equator. The climate of Indonesia can also be applied to Malaysia.

In general, there are two seasons in Indonesia: the dry season and the rainy season. In most of the country, the dry season lasts from May to September.

Of course, this is also the most popular time to visit. Consider visiting in May or September if you want to try and avoid the summer crowds, especially in Bali.

Most of the rain in Indonesia falls from from october to april with some regional variations.

Those who want to go hiking or diving seriously can try planning a trip in the dry season.

However, don't let a little rain spoil your trip. Rain usually comes in quick showers, so just take a solid raincoat; you will continue to enjoy several hours of sunlight.

Best Time to Visit – Country Breakdown

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The best months to travel November-February, March-September (southeast coast)

How is the weather in Thailand?

Most of Thailand is dry and comfortable to visit from November to February. In March and April the temperatures start to rise until they turn horrible in June. The rains begin in May.

The exception is the southeast coast of Thailand (Koh Samui, Hat Yai, etc.). Here the rains come a little later.

✓ 

The best months to travel November-April (North and South), February-July (Center)

What is the weather like in Vietnam?

Vietnam is a strange country: the North and the South have similar rainy seasons, but the one in the center is a bit later. The perfect time to visit the whole country would be in February and March.

✓ 

The best months to travel October-April

What is the weather like in Cambodia and Laos?

Quite simple, with only two distinct seasons: one wet and one dry.

In the wet season of summer, downpours can wash away dirt roads, and the heat can be OPPRESSIVE. Prepare to spend many days doing nothing if you travel to Cambodia or Laos during the summer season.

✓ 

The best months to travel: October-March

What is the weather like in Myanmar?

Typical of Southeast Asia. The dry season in Myanmar lasts until May, but the temperatures at the end of the month are too high. The month of June is unbearable to visit.

Visiting it in March or October (rest months) is a good time.

✓ 

The best months to travel November-February (West Coast), March-September (East Coast)

What is the weather like in Malaysia?

Fairly hot and humid year-round, but each coast has opposite rainy seasons. Stick to one coast depending on when you visit Malaysia.

Keep in mind that the Cameron Highlands are temperate all year, with a rainy season from September to December.

✓ 

The best months to travel May-September

How is the weather in Indonesia?

In most of the country, the hot and humid season runs from October to April. Around May, the rains begin to subside, temperatures drop and tourists return. Visit Indonesia in May before prices go up.

Northern parts of Indonesia such as Maluku and Raja Ampat experience the wet season in OPPOSITE months. The best time to visit them is from October to April.

✓ 

The best months to travel November-May

What is the weather like in the Philippines?

It's not as hot as mainland Southeast Asia, which makes traveling in April and May more viable.

But you should definitely avoid the months of June and August: it is the typhoon season and the storms can be very dangerous. Most ferries and resorts close during this time.

Festivals in Southeast Asia

In addition to hedonistic parties, music festivals, and heady yoga gatherings, Southeast Asia is home to countless cultural and religious festivals.

Having the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in one of these festivals is an opportunity to get to know the local population and the traditions important to their identity.

El Festival Vegetariano de Phuket: Phuket, Tailandia
Some pretty shocking images from the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. The name still confuses me.

Below I've listed some of the fantastic (and totally bizarre) festivals that can be found all over Southeast Asia.

  • Tet Nguyen Dan (Vietnam) – Tet, or Vietnamese New Year, is the most important celebration in Vietnamese culture. The word is a shortened form of Tet Nguyen Danwhich in Vietnamese means "Feast of the first morning of the first day"
  • Thaipusam Festival (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) – One of the biggest Hindu celebrations in the world in Southeast Asia. Devout Hindus from all over the region flock to KL for extreme acts of devotion. These acts include excessive body piercing and people pulling carts using hooks embedded in the skin.
  • Tattoo Festival in Wat Bang Phra (Thailand) – Do you want a monk to tattoo you? This festival is for you. Connect with the spiritual side of the ancient art of tattooing and leave with a memory to last a lifetime.
  • The Phuket Vegetarian Festival (Phuket, Thailand) – Don't let the name of this festival fool you. On the sixth day of the festival, many attendees undergo what I would call self-torture, that is, piercing their faces with painful-looking objects. These acts are intended to dispel evil spirits from the body.
  • Buddhist New Year – To celebrate the new year, Buddhist communities across Southeast Asia eat, parade, and douse each other (and you) with copious amounts of water.
  • Full Moon Party (Thailand) – Love it or hate it, one of the The most popular backpacker festivals in the world is the Full Moon Party. 20,000 people party until dawn on Haat Rin beach, Koh Phangan. HERE all the parties in Koh Phangan.
  • The Bali Spirit Festival (Bali, Indonesia) – Massive festival of yoga, music and dance on the island of Bali. My friends who have been to this event said it was one of the best festivals of its kind they had ever been to.
  • The World Jungle Music Festival (Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia) – Beautiful days of traditional music on the magical island of Borneo.

How to be safe in Southeast Asia

Is Southeast Asia safe?

Every country in the world has some degree of crime and the associated shitty people. Southeast Asia is no different. Although violent attacks on backpackers are extremely rare, they can happen.

A common problem in Southeast Asian cities is motorcycle bag snatching.

Two guys get on a motorbike, take your bag or your suitcase and leave for the night (or for the day). I have heard reports that this type of theft is especially widespread in the tourist areas of Phnom Penh.

backpacking in bangkok
Bangkok vibes.

Keep an eye on your things, especially when you are in big cities and crowded bus stations. Be smart and hide your valuables and money when you travel and things will be quiet.

In general, Southeast Asia is one of the safest places in the world to go backpacking, so fear not.

Wear a helmet when you get on a motorcycle in Asia. Despite being an experienced driver, I have had a total of three crashes in Southeast Asia in the last ten years.

On the one occasion, I was not wearing a helmet, I split my head open and had to go to the hospital. The locals are sick of running foreigners off the road and trust me, you don't look cool not wearing a helmet.

To be safe, all backpackers should follow common sense rules for safe travel. In general, going out late, drunk and alone is a recipe for trouble anywhere in the world.

If you ever find yourself in the most rare mugging situation, give them what they want and don't resist. Your iPhone and wallet are not worth dying for, ever!

Check out our in-depth security guides

Sex, drugs and rock n' roll in Southeast Asia

humans are humans treat people you meet along the way with the same respect that you would show your friends and family in your country. You are not superior to anyone, not even the girls/boys who walk the streets.

Southeast Asian sex workers are people just like you and me; they can enjoy what they do or they can be on the darker side.

Regardless of your beliefs and thoughts about prostitution, remember that this is another person with thoughts, feelings, and a life outside of the sex industry as well.

You are not superior to these people, you are simply from a more privileged background.

Go to Asia and have fun like never before, do the things you have dreamed of but be respectful along the path Traveling the world makes you an ambassador of your country,, which is amazing.

We can make a positive impact on people when we travel and get rid of any ugly stereotypes that may be associated with your country.

Maintaining health in Southeast Asia

Being the jungle and all that, there are a number of infectious diseases that you should get vaccinated against. Make sure you are up to date with hepatitis A, B, cholera, typhoid, polio and other standard travel vaccinations.

Rabies is not required, but I always recommend getting fully vaccinated. If you do, you'll only need to get a booster shot if you're potentially exposed, rather than a painful shot in the belly.

You shouldn't take anger lightly either: it's unpleasant.

Malaria pills and the Japanese encephalitis vaccine may also be required depending on where in Southeast Asia you visit.

Japanese encephalitis is more common in rural and agricultural areas where there are a lot of livestock. I am NOT a medical expert so you should definitely consult a doctor about whether or not you need them.

Also keep in mind that in most places in Southeast Asia the water is not fit for Western constitutions.

Don't be a giardia joker, and don't be a plastic-using queer either. Be a smart backpacker and get yourself a bottle of filtered water

Travel insurance for Southeast Asia

Traveling without insurance would be risky, so consider getting good backpacking insurance before you head out on your adventure.

I have been using nomads of the world for some time now and have made a few claims over the years. They are easy to use, professional, and relatively affordable. In addition, they allow you to buy or extend a policy once you have started the trip and you are already abroad, which is very practical.

If there is one insurance company I trust, it is World Nomads. To find out why I use World Nomads, see my review of World Nomads insurance.

Traveling to Southeast Asia – Enter

As I have said before, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur are the two main international centers of Southeast Asia; Most backpackers start their trip by visiting and staying in Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok for a while.

Cheap flights throughout the region will almost certainly put you through one of these airports. If you want to do the classic Southeast Asia Loop or Banana Pancake Route, starting in Bangkok is the obvious choice.

Flights to Vietnam via Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are also getting cheaper, so keep an eye out for prices that continue to drop.

Once you are in Bangkok or KL, you can easily catch a cheap flight to another nearby country if you plan to go there. I suggest you try to book your local flights within Southeast Asia as far in advance as possible (not too much).

I know this can be difficult at times as plans change but hey if you book in advance it will be cheaper.

mochilero en Palawan y Filipinas
Philippine lagoon vibrations.

Visas and entry requirements to Southeast Asian countries

Traveling to Southeast Asia in the time of COVID

Southeast Asian countries were among the first to close their borders when the COVID pandemic struck. Since then, some countries have begun to reopen to tourists; others remain closed.

Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam have slowly begun to resume international flights and allow foreigners to re-enter the country. Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and the rest are still closed.

Even among those just beginning to reopen, "travel bubbles" are forming within Southeast Asia, allowing only relatively free movement within themselves.

No Southeast country you have returned to pre-COVID travel status. Also, each of them has different travel restrictions. If you're planning to backpack Southeast Asia while the coronavirus is still around, you'll need to do your research beforehand.

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How to get around Southeast Asia

The most popular and rewarding way to independently travel in Southeast Asia is to rent or buy a motorbike. It also helps if you can rent it for longer periods of time.

Most shops in Bali charge around $5 a day for a scooter, but I was able to rent one for just $50 a month.

With a full tank of petrol only costing around 1$, you can cover a lot of ground without burning a hole in your wallet if you have a long-term scooter rental. Pair it with a proper motorcycle tent, and you'll barely spend a penny!

Hitchhiking in Southeast Asia

Hitchhiking shouldn't be too difficult, and in some countries it's quite easy to get picked up. You have to be persistent and make sure the locals understand where you have to go or you will end up being dropped off at a bus station.

Some locals decide to turn their car into a taxi as soon as they see a foreigner on the road. I would never assume that the trip is free in the first place.

Always ask to avoid an awkward situation where the driver who picked you up demands an unexpected fee.

Due to the large number of backpackers traveling by motorcycle in Southeast Asia, it is possible and even easy to get a ride with a few travel companions. In general, Hitchhiking in Southeast Asia it is safe, although you have to be smart and use good judgment.

One-way trip from Southeast Asia

Whether you're heading home or continuing to travel, cheap international flights are your best bet.

Again, Bangkok or KL is where you'll find the lowest prices. You can even find ridiculously cheap flights to places like India, Australia, and New Zealand from Southeast Asia if you're going to continue your journey there.

Many backpackers head off to Australia or New Zealand for 6 months or a year on a working holiday visa, earn some money, and head straight back to South East Asia for a second round of backpacking escapades.

Working and living in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is the most popular place for digital nomads to settle. Places like Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Bali are thriving nomadic hubs that attract people from all over the world. Kuala Lumpur and many large Vietnamese cities are quickly following suit.

Southeast Asia is a paradise for remote workers for many reasons:

  1. The cost of living is very low.
  2. The Internet is ubiquitous and reliable.
  3. Expat communities are strong.
  4. Local economies are booming.
  5. Visas are relatively easy to arrange.
  6. Conferences and events are frequently organized.
  7. There is a lot to do in your free time.

If you are a digital nomad, or even someone who wants to try this lifestyle, you cannot go wrong living in Southeast Asia.

Teaching English is another way to experience or extend your journey in Southeast Asia, and people have been doing it for a long time. Although you won't always need it, having a TEFL certificate will increase your chances of getting a job.

Thailand backpacking budget travel guide
Clearly obsessed with Thai waterfalls!

We suggest you use MyTEFL to be accredited. Broke Backpacker readers get a 35% discount on TEFL courses with MyTEFL (simply enter the code BACKPKR).

Volunteering in Southeast Asia

He volunteering abroad is an amazing way to experience a culture while helping your host community.

There are tons of different volunteer projects in Southeast Asia, like teaching, construction, farming, and pretty much anything. Workaway It is the best option to be able to volunteer.

There are tons of volunteer opportunities in Southeast Asia to suit any type of ability.

You can support communities by doing social work in Vietnam, helping on farms in Thailand, teaching English in Cambodia, or volunteering at a shelter in Myanmar.

Other opportunities are working as a waiter, doing community work and developing web pages.

Short-term volunteers must apply for a tourist visa before arriving, but you will need permission to stay longer depending on the country you are in

What to eat in Southeast Asia

Some people go backpacking to Southeast Asia just for the food. And rightly so: it's fantastic! In addition to being delicious, it is cheap and enormously varied depending on where you are.

In Southeast Asia you can expect a lot of rice, noodles and curries. But luckily, no two are the same. For example, in Vietnam noodles are traditionally served in a broth (pho being the most famous).

Instead, Thailand tends to prefer dry noodles.

la mejor comida callejera en laos
Do not miss the wonderful street food of Laos.

This is just the tip of the gastronomic iceberg that is food in Southeast Asia, and honestly, it is very difficult to lump everything into one category.

I'll just say that countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand consistently rank among the most delicious in the world, every year.

Due to its tropical climate, the fruit of Southeast Asia is also ridiculously good.

Borneo is pretty much the Garden of Eden, where just about everything grows, and the local markets in the major cities have an incredible selection to choose from.

Be prepared to eat a lot of fruit on your backpacking trip, especially bananas when served with pancakes.

I definitely recommend eating at the local markets and street food stalls. The prices are super low and the food is as good as you'd find in a restaurant.

Just keep an eye on sanitation: make sure the food is fresh and things look clean (enough).

The best food in Southeast Asia

Below is a list of some of the most popular Southeast Asian dishes:

  • banh mi thit (Vietnam) – The best sandwich in Asia.
  • pho (Vietnam) – Noodles served in broth with extras.
  • pad thai (Thailand) – Dry noodles with peanut sauce and chilies.
  • Tom Yung Goong (Thailand) – Soup made with lemongrass, herbs and shrimp.
  • satay (Malaysia, Indonesia) – Grilled meat skewers.
  • rowdy fish (Cambodia) – Spicy coconut and fish curry served in a banana leaf
  • burmese curry (Myanmar) – The local version of this dish is famous for its quality.
  • Shan style noodles (Myanmar) – Thin cut flat noodles.
  • Nasi Goreng (Indonesia) - Fried rice.
  • chili crab (Singapore) – The claim of Singapore.
  • Larb/Laap (Laos, Cambodia) – Meat salad with many seasonings.
  • tam mak houng (Laos) – Spicy green papaya salad.

Southeast Asian culture

Ask the average person what they know about the history of Southeast Asia and most of them can think of the Vietnam War and perhaps the Japanese occupation of Thailand. Beyond that, Southeast Asia is something of a mystery.

But the history of Southeast Asia is long, complex, varied, and extremely fascinating.

Before the Europeans came - the French in Vietnam, the English in Burma, and the Dutch in Indonesia - there were great kingdoms: the Toungoo, the Khmer, and the Malacca Sultanate, to name a few.

Through these channels, Buddhism, Islam, commerce and science flowed.

It's quite difficult to talk about "Southeast Asian Culture" because it would be a generalization; there are so many different aspects.

ropa tradicional en la recogida de té en Vietnam
Tea picker in northern Vietnam.

What travelers SHOULD know about Southeast Asia is that it is, in fact, much deeper than it seems.

Thanks to a long history of colonization that dates back to before the Europeans - Indians, Arabs and East Asians settled in SE Asia - the region is enormously diverse.

The food, the religion, the politics, the customs, all the things that SE Asia does so well, come in part from outside sources.

Of course, people's personality colors also change from country to country. Thai people are legendarily friendly (and open to just about anything).

Malays are incredibly ethnically diverse and therefore incredibly tolerant.

Cambodians are by far the most laid back in Southeast Asia. All of these traits become more apparent as you spend time in each country.

Don't stick to the established backpacker path of Southeast Asia if you want to meet the locals. Koh San road, Hanoi's beer street, Kuta and all the other tourist spots are poor representations of the culture.

The real Southeast Asia can be found on the plastic tables on the street, inside bike repair shops and in the dusty corners of the region.

The best books to read while backpacking Southeast Asia

Here are some of my favorite travel reads and books set in Southeast Asia that you should consider purchasing before starting your Southeast Asia journey.

  • First they killed my father: From a girl survivor of the Cambodian genocide under the Pol Pot regime, this is a riveting tale of war crimes and desperate actions, of the unnerving strength of a girl and her family, and of their triumph of spirit.
  • Dispatches: Michael Herr's outspoken, unorthodox accounts of the everyday events of the Vietnam War take on the power of poetry, bringing clarity to one of the most incomprehensible and nightmarish events of our time. Surreal, terrifying, one of the best books on war.
  • The beach: We've all seen the movie. This classic backpacking epic is even better in print.
  • Cat Fish and Mandala Catfish and Mandala is the story of an American odyssey - a solo bicycle journey up the Pacific coast to Vietnam - undertaken by a young Vietnamese-American in search of both his adopted homeland and his abandoned homeland.
  • The river of lost steps: What do we really know about Burma and its history? And what can Burma's past tell us about its present and even its future? For almost two decades, Western governments and a growing community of activists have seen their attempts to achieve a freer and more democratic Burma frustrated (through sanctions and tourist boycotts…) only to see an apparent slide towards an even harsher dictatorship.
  • burma days: George Orwell (1984) draws on his years of experience in India to tell this story of the last days of British imperialism. A handful of English people living in a settlement in Burma meet at the European Club, drink whiskey and discuss an impending admission order for a token Asian.

Must-see experiences in Southeast Asia

Hiking in Southeast Asia

All the countries of Southeast Asia offer hiking experiences that will accompany you for the rest of your life.

Whether you prefer guided or independent hiking, there are plenty of hikes for every backpacker to enjoy. Pack the right adventure gear, and go do some crazy stuff!

  • Taman Negara, Malaysia: Explore the world's oldest rainforest and spend the night in a jungle bungalow (free).
  • Kibungan Circuit, Philippines: A circuit of three mountains in the city of Kibungan in Benguet. The loop, which takes two to three days to complete, traverses the mountains of tagpaya, Otenand tagpew.
  • Shan State, Myanmar: Shan State is a very popular place for trekking and you can do great excursions in the surrounding area kachin Kachin state. You probably won't run into any other travelers while hiking here.
  • Phongsali, Laos: If you want to get out of the routine and go hiking in Laos, I recommend that you make the long trip to the northern city of phongsali. Although difficult to reach, it is just as rewarding for hikers. Although there isn't much to do in the town itself, there are plenty of opportunities to visit remote hill tribes through the Provincial Tourist Office.
  • Anillo de Fuego, Indonesia: Aunque las hermosas playas de Indonesia pueden ser el mayor atractivo para los turistas, también hay muchas oportunidades para vivir aventuras en tierra. Situada en el Cinturón de Fuego, Indonesia alberga más de 100 volcanes. Practicar el senderismo hasta la cima de algunos de estos volcanes es una experiencia que no querrás perderte cuando vayas de mochilero por Indonesia. Además de los mencionados Monte Bromo and Monte RinjaniTambién puedes escalar Monte Agung en Bali either Monte Egon en Flores.
sobre la mochila
Senderismo en el norte de Tailandia.

Buceo en el Sudeste Asiático

Si has estado atento, ya deberías saber que el Sudeste Asiático es el puto paraíso en lo que respecta al buceo.

Sin duda, el Sudeste Asiático es el lugar más barato del mundo para convertirse en buceador certificado.

Este hecho, unido a algunos de los mejores lugares de buceo del mundo, hace que el buceo sea una opción obvia cuando se viaja con mochila por el Sudeste Asiático.

Si quieres bucear en Tailandia, ¡hazlo! Aunque debo reforzar lo estupendo que es el buceo en Malasia e Indonesia. Los sistemas de arrecifes están en mejor estado y no tendrás que lidiar con las hordas de mochileros (normalmente). La elección depende de ti

Consulta nuestro post sobre los mejores lugares para bucear en Bali para ver sólo una muestra de las espectaculares vistas submarinas que se pueden encontrar en el Sudeste Asiático.

Bucea en el sudeste asiático en un viaje a bordo

Está bien, existe el buceo y luego está el buceo en un viaje a bordo.

Si te gusta el submarinismo y quieres pasar una semana o más en un barco explorando zonas remotas del sudeste asiático, un viaje a bordo puede ser perfecto para ti.

Scuba Diving 000017898750 Small
¿Quieres bucear? El sudeste asiático tiene algunos de los mejores lugares de buceo del mundo

Sinceramente, no se me ocurre una forma mejor de pasar una semana: buceando de día y descansando en el barco por la noche. Por supuesto, también se sirve comida deliciosa a todas horas.

A mí me parece un maldito sueño..

Para obtener más información específica sobre los viajes de buceo a bordo de barcos en el Sudeste Asiático, consulta estos enlaces:

O lee esta guía sobre los mejores viajes de Liveaboard en todo el mundo

Surf en el Sudeste Asiático

Aunque es posible practicar el surf en un puñado de países, Indonesia es sin duda la capital del surf en el Sudeste Asiático. Si eres principiante, Indonesia es un lugar estupendo para aprender.

Hay muchas escuelas de surf y tiendas de alquiler que están esperando a que practiques el surf.

mahana point surfing nusa lembongan
Este surfista aplastó esa ola.

La mejor época para surfear en Indonesia es durante la estación seca, que suele durar entre Abril y octubre.

Es entonces cuando las marejadas del océano Índico golpean las islas y las costas del sur y el suroeste reciben fuertes vientos de tierra.

La estación húmeda también se denomina temporada baja. Entre Noviembre y marzo el oleaje es menos consistente.

Sin embargo, es cuando muchas rompientes de la costa este comienzan a dispararse. Además, la temporada baja está menos concurrida.

Aquí tienes una lista de algunas de las mejores olas de la isla de Bali:

  • uluwatu – Uluwatu es una ola emblemática de Bali, un rompimiento de arrecife de clase mundial que rara vez se desploma. En Uluwatu hay un oleaje interminable y muchas otras cosas que hacer para los no surfistas
  • canggu – Al noroeste de Kuta, Canggu es un hermoso lugar con un divertido punto de surf para todos los niveles de surfistas. Ten en cuenta que no hay socorristas patrullando la playa.
  • Tuban – Cuando la playa de Kuta esté abarrotada, puedes ir a surfear a Tuban, donde la pista del aeropuerto separa los dos famosos rompimientos conocidos como Aeropuerto Izquierdo y Aeropuerto Derecho.
  • Bingin – Súper hueca y poco profunda, Bingin funciona mejor con la marea alta y se recomienda para surfistas avanzados.
  • Balangan – Las largas olas de esta rompiente de arrecife de la izquierda son más adecuadas para los surfistas intermedios.
  • Dreamland – Un famoso rompimiento de playa en forma de A que ofrece unos divertidos paseos que son simplemente geniales si deseas aprender a ser barreado.

Participar en una excursión organizada en el sudeste asiático

En la mayoría de los países, incluido el Sudeste Asiático, viajar en solitario es lo más normal.

That said, if you're short on time or energy, or just want to be part of an impressive group of travelers, you may choose to join an organized tour.

Joining a tour is a great way to see most of the country quickly and without the effort of planning a backpacking trip. However, not all tour operators are the same, that's for sure.

G Adventures is a solid, down-to-earth travel company that caters to backpackers like you, and their prices and itineraries reflect backpackers' interests.

Puedes conseguir algunas ofertas muy interesantes en viajes épicos por el sudeste asiático por una fracción del precio que cobran otros operadores turísticos.

Echa un vistazo a algunos de sus increíbles itinerarios por el Sudeste Asiático here.

Final Thoughts – Being a Responsible Backpacker in Southeast Asia

¿Escribir tu nombre con rotulador negro en las sienes, beber cerveza Chang sin camiseta, jurar en voz alta y visitar atracciones de animales sin ética? Tú, señor, eres un imbécil.

Luckily, most backpackers don't fall into this category, but when you're out and about and you've had too much to drink, it can be easy to embarrass yourself.

It's easy to get carried away in Southeast Asia, everything is damn cheap and so much fun.

I am in no way telling you not to drink, smoke and party. Make it and decorate it. Only don't get so drunk that you become a jerk your mother would be ashamed of.

Si no puedes soportar beber cubatas, entonces limítate a la cerveza.

¿dónde me puedo alojar en vietnam?
Fuente: Hien Phung Thu (Shutterstock)

Si quieres ver elefantes, ve a verlos, pero investiga primero Find ethical animal sanctuaries como por ejemplo El Santuario de la Selva de los Elefantes en Chiang Mai que tratan y cuidan adecuadamente a los animales.

Bueno amigos, ahí lo tenéis. Ahora estás totalmente preparado para vivir la aventura de tu vida viajando como mochilero por el Sudeste Asiático.

Espero que esta guía te haya servido de ayuda a la hora de afrontar tu viaje. Hasta que nos encontremos de nuevo, ¡que tengas un buen viaje y disfrutes de cada segundo de tu tiempo viajando por este mágico paraíso para mochileros!

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6 comentarios en «Mochilero por el sudeste asiático (Viajar barato – Presupuesto Épico 2024)»

  1. «¡Me encanta la idea de recorrer el sudeste asiático como mochilero! ¿Quién se apunta a la aventura? 💼🌍»

    Responder
    • ¡Suena emocionante! Me encantaría unirme a la aventura, pero lamentablemente no puedo en este momento. ¡Espero que encuentres a alguien valiente y aventurero para compartir esta experiencia increíble! ¡Disfruta tu viaje! 🌍✈️

      Responder
    • ¡Suena genial! Me encantaría unirme a ti en esa aventura. El sudeste asiático es un lugar increíble para explorar. Estoy emocionado por ver lo que nos depara el 2023. ¡Asegúrate de llevar una cámara para capturar todos esos recuerdos inolvidables! 🌍📸

      Responder
    • No te preocupes, hay muchas formas de viajar sin gastar mucho dinero. Investiga sobre destinos económicos, busca ofertas de vuelos y hospedajes, y considera opciones como el voluntariado o el intercambio de casas. ¡No dejes que el presupuesto sea un obstáculo para cumplir tus sueños de viajar!

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