Best Destinations for Backpackers
Picture this: a man and a woman carrying a huge backpack. This backpack has everything they need. They’re both wearing cargo shorts, rubber shoes, and bandanas. This is a typical picture of backpackers.
Everything You Need to Know About Backpacking
Backpacking is a kind of travel that refers to a low-budget and independent trip. It’s called “backpacking” because people bring one large backpack as they hop from one country to another. This is why people would often say that they’re going to ‘backpack around Europe”.
Apart from being low-cost and independent, backpacking is not extravagant. This means that there are no luxury hotels, meals, and trips. You won’t even be able to bring your fancy pieces of luggage. Instead, you have a backpack and you’ll be bringing this wherever you go. The beauty in this is that you will get to know more about the local scene. Unlike luxury travels, backpacking forces you to try street food and to walk around most of the time. You can backpack to one country, but a lot of people try to visit three or more.
Another characteristic of backpacking is the timeframe. Since you will be visiting at least three countries, you will spend a longer time out of town. For example, a typical backpacking trip to Indochina is 14 days. For some, this is a very short time to visit four countries. That is why backpacking is not for everybody.
You should also know that backpacking can be a mix of city sight-seeing or trekking. There are a lot of people who choose to backpack because they plan on trekking on mountains. But there are also some other people who simply want to backpack around the cities and towns. No matter what your choice is, backpacking is always fun if you are prepared.
10 Must-Visit Backpacker Countries
If you are an avid backpacker, you are always on the lookout for places to visit. Here are 10 of the most loved places backpackers all over the world should go to.
First up on the list is Thailand. Thailand is in Southeast Asia and it is near Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. When you backpack to Thailand, it is highly recommended that you visit these other three countries.
Thailand is famous for affordable food. Thai cuisine is famous all over the world and a lot of people find it delicious. Famous Thai food are Tom Yum Soup, Pad Thai, and Thai Spring Rolls. These foods are national favorites so you will see them everywhere. As a backpacker, you shouldn’t miss out on eating them by the street. And while you’re at it, gulp down a cup of Thai milk tea which is all the rage these days.
Apart from food, Thailand is popular for its temples. In Bangkok alone, there are at least 400 of them. They come in different shapes and colors. As you walk around Bangkok, don’t miss out the sunset shining on Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn).
A little to the left of Thailand is Nepal. Nepal is another South Asian country which is a must-see for every backpacker. If you plan on experiencing the rural life, then Nepal is the place for you.
The best way to describe Nepal is it’s quaint and colorful. The small towns offer a lot of cheap accommodations that are very comfortable. The food there is as affordable as the accommodations too. But unlike Thai food, Nepal can be a mix of different cuisines of its neighbors. For one thing, Chinese food is very common there. There are also some Indian restaurants scattered here and there.
If you are planning to go to Nepal, you shouldn’t miss trekking as part of your itinerary. Mount Everest is a popular destination, although it can be a challenging trek. Make sure to prepare yourself for this long hike.
Joining the group is Indonesia. Indonesia is a country with many islands and this is why it’s great to backpack here. The life in Indonesia is simple even in its capital. It’s like a toned-down city compared to European and American ones. What you’ll love in Indonesia is the many beaches scattered around the country. But if you plan to visit Indonesia, make sure to know which islands you want to go to.
Here are a few suggestions. You should visit Yogyakarta because it is a cultural hub for both locals and tourists. The place is famous among backpackers because of the two most beautiful temples in the world. The temples of Borobudur and Prambanan are an hour away from the city center, but the ride is worth taking.
Another place to visit is Bali. If you’ve watched Eat, Pray, Love, you would know that Bali is home to scenic and peaceful homes. You can rent a bike to go around the area and dip in the warm beaches.
Unlike a lot of backpacking countries, Turkey is one of the trickiest. It’s right in the middle of Asia and Europe, so you can expect a mix of both continents’ cultures.
Before the present day, Turkey was the Ottoman Empire. If you remember your history, the Ottoman Empire was the empire that conquered its neighboring countries. But the Empire didn’t last long. The Allies came to abolish the Empire which produced the ruins found in Turkey. Today, the ruins have become a major tourist destination. But there is more to do in Turkey than just sightseeing. In fact, one of the most exciting experiences you’ll get here is the hot air balloon ride.
Don’t also forget to visit Cappadochia. Cappadochia is one of the popular destinations here thanks to the stone structures. Here, you’ll experience an actual cave lodge where you get to get a good view of all the rock formations.
Thanks to Sofia Vergara, people are starting to get curious about Colombia. In her show Modern Family, she mentions a lot about this country. It makes you wonder if her killing and hunting stories are true. But Colombia is very different from what she depicts in the show. As a backpacker, you should take advantage of the travel warnings in this country. This is because everything becomes cheaper and there are fewer tourists.
But Colombia as a country is more than just a cheap place to travel. In fact, it is a perfect example of the balance of city and forest. Visit Casa Elemento and you’ll see how beautiful the scenery is of the jungle. There’s a place for you to relax, eat, and drink in the sights.
If you’ve heard of Cuba, that’s probably because you’ve read it in the news or heard it on television. But apart from the political issues wrapping the country, Cuba is a destination to liven up your life.
This South American country is the birthplace of salsa. If you come to visit, you can expect at least half of the people you meet to know to dance salsa. There’s also a lot of color in the country. Notice how the houses are painted with different lively colors. A row of houses could even look like a rainbow. Not to mention the taxis that come by. Unlike the yellow cabs in New York, Cuba has bright-colored vintage cars for taxis.
As a backpacker, you don’t want to spend a lot. But if you have spare money, make sure to book an accommodation at a local’s house. The rate will be higher than usual, but it is worth it. This will give you a “day in the life of a local” experience.
If you love taking the road less traveled, then you would love Albania. It can be found at the Balkan Peninsula in the Southeastern side of Europe. It is rich in lush mountains and small towns that are rich in culture. You would think that central Europe is already a melting pot of culture, but you’re wrong about that. Just at the sides of the continent are great experiences with only half the price as its central counterparts.
So, if you find yourself ready to go to Albania, make it a point to visit the Albanian Riviera. The Albanian Riviera is an area full of pristine beaches and clear waters. The beauty of the beaches here is there aren’t a lot of people. You can enjoy the tranquil scene while sunbathing. You will also enjoy passing by Himara, a Bohemian-inspired town that are full of food stalls. It’s the perfect stopover before you hit the beach.
But if you aren’t a beach person, you can also find beauty in the mountains in Albania. There’s an iconic trek you should take which take three days. It takes this long because you’ll be trekking from the mountain of Theth to the mountain of Valbona.
Tanzania is one of the most popular countries in Africa. It is rich in safaris, beaches, and diverse cultures that a 3-day trip is not enough.
As a backpacker, you might not want to see the city center, but Dar is one of the most notable cities in Africa. You can use your time here to plan your whole Tanzania experience. You should also make it a point to visit some of their local markets that are jammed with delicacies and souvenir items. If you’re looking for cheap finds, the Kariakoo Market should be the first you’ll visit. The things here are so cheap that you might forget to stay in budget. There’s also the Illal Market which is known for antique stuff. You can find secondhand items here for less, too.
Finally, you should visit Zanzibar. Zanzibar is a popular tourist destination because of its notable towns. An example is Stone Town which is actually a UNESCO Heritage Site. You’ll find historical sites here that tell you more about the rich history of Tanzania.
Before you even book a trip to Ethiopia, know that this isn’t an easy adventure. Veteran backpackers love the country, but if you’re a first-timer, you might have a hard time. You should also get a few vaccinations before visiting.
But even if Ethiopia has a lot of restrictions, you’ll find that its peaks are very rewarding. One example is the Simien Mountains. Although the trek can be very rocky and jagged, you will get to encounter a lot of mountain goats along the way. There are also underground churches you may want to visit. They say they are miraculous.
As you visit Ethiopia, be aware of the travel guides that the government gives. There are only a few solo backpackers here, so it’s best to go with a few friends.
10. New Zealand
And last but not the least is New Zealand. As a backpacker, you would think that New Zealand is expensive. Well, it could be if you’re alone. But the best way to enjoy visiting the country is with a group of friends.
New Zealand is a great place if you enjoy mountains and landscapes. The country is famous for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but it has a lot more to show you than movie sets. In fact, New Zealand is the country for outdoor people because you will spend most of your time outside. Take a trip to Kaikoura where you can experience a helicopter ride and a whale tour.
But for more budget-friendly trips, you can visit Abel Tasman National Park. This place is a must-see for the tropical beaches. It’s also a short drive away Whaririki Beach. Also include the Pancake Rocks to your itinerary. These rocks are stacks of coastal cliffs that look like a stack of pancakes (hence the name).
These 10 are just some of the many places to visit in the whole wide world. As a backpacker, the important thing to remember is to savor the culture, the life, and the history of each place you visit. The best way to do this is to immerse yourself with the locals and the scenes as much as you can. Sometimes, you don’t even have to spend much for those experiences.
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