I am a 24 years old male backpacker and I just started backpacking 2 months ago.
I used to travel around Europe a lot, but all of my trips was less than a months and I usually had enough budget pre calculated for my trip. One day I met a girl, who became my better half and not so long after, I spontaneously decided to go on an East Asia trip with her for 3 months.
The first advice I should give you is – You can’t ever be too careful about your packing! I thought light packing is going to be a better option, im terms of – not carrying a heavy backpack on your back for 3 months. But trust me, better pack more than 3 underwears, just in case if you won’t find a laundry or a crocodile steals one of them smile emoticon You may also say: “It’s much cheaper in Asia, so I can buy things on the go, which I may need”. Although, it is true, but you will never find a time for little things like shopping or it may take you ages to find proper things for convenient price.
So, here are the things I packed: 3 t-shirts, 1 shirt, 1 hoodie (in case it gets cold), 1 rain jacket, 3 underwears, 17 pairs of socks (I love socks), 1 pants, 2 shorts, no swim shorts (worst thing to forget when you are travelling to Asia during hot season), 1 pair of shoes, 1 slippers, 1 hat. Now that we covered clothing, let’s move on to necessities: 1 old iPhone with headphones (which takes really crappy photos), 1 fanny pack (wises thing I’ve take, thanks to my girlfriend), 2 bottles of vodka, 1 bottle of wine (we love drinking), 1 travel towel, 1 travel backpack, 1 small backpack, 1 pack of chewing gum, 1 toothbrush, 1 bottle of shampoo, 2 razors, 1 nail clipper, 1 trimmer, 1 large bottle of water, 1 deck of cards (never got a chance to play yet), 1 passport, 2 small notepads and a few pens. From the list above, you can notice how short I am with clothing. Take more shirts, shorts and underwears! Also consider buying a safe and waterproof fanny pack to carry your belongings with you, while you are in te water.
It’s time to move on to my travel experience… The trip first started from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After 13 hours of flight from France, I finally got to the airport of Kuala Lumpur. Once I left the airplane, I started noticing weird and long eyeballings of locals. Also the immigration personnel was very radical (made me feel like I’m entering a communist country) – although, I’ll get back to that with positive refferences. And here we go, I left the airport. First thing I saw was my girlfriend, waiting for me, so tired of her last night’s travel to meet me and once she saw me, the happiness in her face changed her expression to look like she just woke up with comfort from a long night’s sleep and energized. After sharing our happiness Started noticing: humidity, fungus smell, unbearable heat, cab drivers rushing to get you into their cars and a beautiful mirage looking view of palm trees and a small pool made me realize – I’m in Asia!
Moreover, the differences in Malaysia and Europe is vast.
Hotel/Hostel Rooms – Almost every place looks much better from the photos, but actual experience includes, no window, fungusy, small and dark rooms. Although a personnel in every guest house is extremely nice. And if you are a bit good at bargaining, sometimes you can get 50% off deal for your room.
Food – Although I love sea food, the food here wasn’t as good as I expected. Most of the things I’ve tried had excessive fish taste/smell. But don’t get me wrong. I did enjoy fruits, satay (bacon stick) and salads. Once I noticed I am running into trouble looking for good food for hours, my girlfriend presented Little India district to me. The food there was simply – Whoa! Most of the locals looked old and unclean. But the personnel’s positivity and niceness towards me totally lured me in. Everything I tried tasted good, my personal favorite was Roti Canai and Tosai with different sauces including Dal and Herb sauce. Although it was a little unusual to eat without forksr spoons, eating with hands actually made the food much tastier once I got used to eat. You can also find a lot of Chinese local in never ending China Towns.
People – Almost every person I asked directions from was so helpful and nice. And it was also surprising that everyone spoke English from 7 to 70.
Then the second stop of my backpacking story is The Philippines, Cebu Is
and. The first experience I have had is the taxi driver trying to scam us. I knew the price was 200 pesos (equivalent to approx 5$) from the airport to the city centre, but when I asked the price, the concersation was like following:
Me: How much is it to the centre?
The Cab Driver: 500!
Cab Drivah: 400!
Lé Mé: No I have checked it in the internet…
I again: But it should be 200?!
Taxi Dewd: 250 is okay, 250!
So, after that I started working on my bragging skills and never hopped into a cab without asking a price beforehands. But once we have discovered Jeepneys, we never use taxis, cause it’s about 6-7 times cheaper to travel with them and what the hell – it’s so much fun! Some of the jeepneys has Minions painted on them for Christ’s Sake! And stopping procedure of this very jeepneys is to – sending driver air kisses: mwah-mwah and you’re good to go!
Alright, the food here is awful, only if you exclude Sinigang and the worst part about it is there are no Little Indias around here. But you can still find good western food for a fair price.
Our journey is still continuing, stay connected for upcoming updates…