Reading 34 Things You’ll Experience in Southeast Asia as a Backpacker was so much fun that I decided to go for a part 2! I simply couldn’t help myself. There are so many incredible things to see and experience while in Southeast Asia that they couldn’t possibly all fit onto one list.
You know you’ve backpacked in Southeast Asia if you can relate to a couple of these, if not all!
1. Gaining absolute confidence with your chopstick skills. BAM!
2. Sleeping in airports because you have a redeye flight or a long layover. Can someone say earplugs and eye-mask?
3. Making friends with locals who show you the best spots in town. Totally worth it!
4. Ordering random food from the menu because they don’t have an English version. Fingers crossed!
5. Constantly being harassed by Tuk-Tuk drivers… No, I don’t want to visit “another” temple. Thanks.
6. Running into “old friends” in a new country even though you only met them a few weeks ago while visiting a different country.
7. Buying local beer because you want to drink like the locals. Okay, and it’s cheaper, too.
8. Finding bean paste in all of the pastries that you eat. #notconvinced
9. Seeing so many temples that you just don’t think you could take anymore.
10. Shopping for knock-off versions of brands you love! Ray Ban & Havaianas? Yes please!
11. Knowing your passport number by heart.
12. Feeling your blood run cold in the middle of the night when you’re on a night bus that feels like it’s going 200 km an hour through winding roads.
13. Not understanding anything at the bus station and praying to your lucky stars that you got on the right bus.
14. Having tons of cash and coins but not being able to find the currency that you need at the moment!
15. Seeing unbelievable sunsets and thinking, “Wow, this is my life.”
16. Having plans and changing them because you met some cool people who are going to a different country (or city) and you’re just not ready to say goodbye yet.
17. Washing your clothes by hand or sending them off to the cleaners and receiving them in a bag, super crisp and well folded. Ah freshness!
18. Shopping around for the best-priced hostels with a giant backpack on your back. (Psst! Next time, save yourself the trouble and check Hostelworld for the best deals on hostels!)
19. Speaking of that bag, you have now become a pro at packing everything in your bag in order to maximize space.
21. Hurricane, typhoon, and tornado warnings that scare the living crap out of you even though the locals don’t seem to be phased one bit. Uh, hello … anyone?
22. Discovering restaurants, cafes and venues that blow your socks off and telling yourself that you should totally open one of these back home!
23. Trying candy and treats that the locals rave about. Matcha Kit-Kats… YUM!
24. Spending so much time in hostels that you hang up towels and/or sarongs in order to create your own little “private” space.
25. Doing your best to not wake anyone in your dorm room when you come home late or leave early. It usually works 50% of the time. Sorry to the other 50%!
26. Seeing animals roaming around freely … even in the cities!
27. Deciding whether taking malaria pills is really necessary or not.
28. Using some of the sketchiest bathrooms that you have ever seen … like, dug out hole in the ground sketchy. After experiencing that, you’re set for life!
29. Finding random things, like maple syrup or cool ranch Doritos, that make you feel nostalgic and give you the comforts of home.
30. Getting on an inter-city bus and realizing that it only stops for a pee break every 3–4 hours. No water for me, thanks!
If you’re an aspiring nomad, I strongly urge you to backpack through Southeast Asia. Trust me, it will not leave you wanting. You will come back with a heart filled with memories and anecdotes that will forever cast a smile upon your face. Better still, you will make lasting friendships from all around the world.
To those of you that have been through Southeast Asia, I bet that you can relate and that despite never having toilet paper, sleeping in crowded hostels, and constantly having sand in your hair, you would go back in a heartbeat. Each and every experience is unique, but in the end, it brings us all together.