Whenever I start a traveling conversation with someone I don’t know, there comes a time when they ask you two very typical questions. The first is « What are your favorite countries out of all the ones you know? «. When I give them a top 3 which usually includes countries like New Zealand, Colombia, Brazil, Mozambique and Myanmar, they immediately jump to the second question: “ If I decided to go backpacking, which country or countries would you recommend? «. The answer is always the same: “ start with Southeast Asia ”.

This area of ​​the world is ideal for getting started in the backpacker life if you want to go beyond Europe. Or at least that’s my opinion. Since I know that we have a critical public that likes things argued, here I explain why I think you should start your backpacking life in Southeast Asia:

It’s very cheap

Temples in Bangkok, Thailand.

If what you are considering is a trip, of greater or lesser duration, carrying your backpack on your back, it is very likely that the economic factor has a vital importance in it.

Of all the areas I have traveled in my life, the cheapest I found is Southeast Asia . Sure there are specific places in the world that are cheaper, but as a group of countries I doubt that any other area can beat it. Not even Africa is that cheap when it comes to finding and paying for transportation and accommodation.

Countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia or Vietnam offer services whose quality/price ratio is spectacular .

In the streets of Thai cities or the beach bars of its islands you can eat and drink for two or three euros. Transport and accommodation also have a very low price, caused mainly by the high competition and low wages received by workers related to the tourism sector (and, unfortunately, in any other sector).

Good tourist infrastructure


Since the 1960s , when hippies began to travel to this area in search of paradise on earth, Southeast Asia has been a region where the influx of tourists has practically not stopped growing .

In my travels through Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and beyond, it has never been too hard for me to find a way to get from one place to another. Whether by bus, van, boat or internal flights, the connections are quite good, allowing you great flexibility in your decisions.

The accommodations are also varied and of a quality (if you pay for it) that far exceeds even that of several European countries. To give you an idea, I have been in an air-conditioned bungalow with a porch on the shores of a Thai beach for about 10 euros a night. I was able to find very similar things in other countries in the area.

People are friendly and hospitable


The people who populate Southeast Asia – whether due to Buddhism (which the majority practice), tradition or the pleasant climate – are friendly and welcome foreign tourists very well.

Of course, as in so many other places, tourism and money can corrupt some things. Thailand has self-proclaimed (with much publicity skill) as the ” Land of Smiles ” but the truth is that you will find more authentic and friendly people in places like Myanmar, Cambodia or Laos .

People who live and work in the countryside can be a little more shy at first, but if you show yourself respectful and friendly and get them to open up, they have a kindness that is usually more marked than those who live in big Asian cities.

If you find yourself lost or need help of any kind, do not hesitate to ask for it.

Breathtaking scenery and weather

Bagan, Myanmar.

Tropical landscapes, mountains, seas that hide an underwater life even more beautiful than the colors that can be seen on its surface, monumental cities, Buddhist temples, remains of empires and even modern cities where you can have a good party. Southeast Asia has a bit of everything and, although you may have to endure some good downpours, you can enjoy all of it with a more than pleasant temperature.

You will meet other travelers

You will never find yourself alone when traveling in Southeast Asia. Decades ago the area suffered a tourist boom and today backpackers travel by the thousands through these countries.

If you decide to undertake the adventure alone and you are a moderately open person, you will end up meeting good travel companions from different countries and origins. You can feel sheltered by them, go out to party, share expenses, vary the route with ideas of places you did not know… And even fall in love or find a friendship for life.

You know what they say: within one trip there can be many other trips .

Culture contrast


When someone goes on a trip, it is usually because they are eager to live new experiences, enjoy new landscapes and, also, learn about new cultures. This may not always be the case, but I guess I’m not far off the mark.

The culture of this area of ​​Asia has nothing to do with the one you will leave behind when you take the plane to Europe or Latin America. Well, maybe you will find a little glimpse of it again when you spend a few days in big cities like Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur, where capitalism is much more than established, but, in general, it will be very different.

In the villages, small towns, forests, fields, mountains and islands, you will find people with traditions, language, religion and values ​​different from yours .

So… Do you dare to travel to Southeast Asia? If so, don’t hesitate to consult our article menus because the four Viajablog editors have spent long periods of time in this beautiful part of the world.

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