South East Asia is just crazy, you can find everything here, and there are endless possibilities to have fun. It is mostly an up and down of your feelings – the one day you stand on top of a mountain and feel like a king, the next day you might want to die because the journey to the next city takes you the last piece of calmness and energy. In a town, you have so many good food choices you wish to get never full, in the next city you just want a burger because you can’t see rice anymore. Sometimes your heart beats faster because you get the warmest greeting from a young Thai woman in a restaurant, and sometimes tuk-tuk drivers attack you because you protect people from getting scammed. But after all, you’ll have the time of your life, and I’m sure you want to come back.
What you should consider
If you are planning your trip to southeast Asia, there might be some things you need to prepare yourself for. It might be common sense for most of you but to make it clear, Southeast Asia is NOT Europe or North America. These countries are still developing countries, and in some points, you can see that very clear. Do yourself a favor and accept some things instead of complaining that will make your life here so much easier. Try everything and be open to everything especially in terms of food, you won’t get disappointed! Another thing about Southeast Asia is that the regulations, laws, and security measures are far below the European standard, in most parts people still drive without a helmet or driving license on motorbikes, and sometimes you see kids as young as ten driving on motorcycles. Yes, of course that’s dangerous and yes of course accidents happen, and tragic things occur, but for you as a tourist it kind of adds this constant kick of adrenaline and spices everything up. If you love absolute security and don’t like to take risks, like your comfort and to be “safe” all the time then there are only two ways for you; book expensive tours and miss half of the fun or just directly stay at home. I did so many things which would never be allowed in Germany, but these were to most fun! The Ha Giang Loop in northern Vietnam is the best example. I never done such a dangerous adventure; riding 4 days 6 to 8 hours with the motorbike on bumpy roads, but at the same time it was the best adventure I had in 4 months traveling. So, don’t be afraid and just do it! It will go well and if not then I rather die having the best adventures instead of never really living.
Nothing is organized and still works out in the end
This point was the hardest for me to get used to it and I’m still not entirely used to it although it’s getting better every day. In Germany, especially in Germany, everything is planned and organized. There is information on everything, and you always know what’s going to happen next. Mostly everything works out, and you have no confusion (Just delays with the Deutsche Bahn). In Southeast Asia, that’s NOT the case. Everything is unorganized, chaotic and everything seems to make no sense. However, in the end, everything will work out, and you’ll get to your destination often even on time, and you don’t know how they did it and what just happened, but in the end, everything is fine. The most important rules are; Keep your eyes and ears open, listen to what they say and follow their instructions and most important, DON’T ask questions, you won’t find answers that make sense for you. Ohh and always plan a little bit extra time in, ok maybe a lot of extra time. Often busses and trains are on time, but in Cambodia, for example, they always had at least 2 hours delay. In Thailand however, they often arrived even before the regular arriving time. Traveling from A to B in Southeast Asia is chaotic, and it is tiering so don’t plan too much for the same day you are traveling even it’s just a short trip and always stay calm it will be ok in the end.
Traveling in Southeast Asia, especially on a budget and as a Backpacker is just a constant adventure. You’ll have a lot of up and downs but believe me; the ups are so much higher than the downs. So get your backpack done and take the next plane.
- Total countries I visited until now: 33
- Planes: 7
- Busses: 34
- Trains: 15
- Boats: 13
- Km running: 1256