Thailand backpacking holidays looks great on paper. We can’t deny this. I mean, what’s more exotic than strapping on a backpack, putting on some hiking boots, and just traveling from the south of Thailand near the Malaysian border all the way up to the coast near Vietnam. Sounds awesome, right? It sounds amazing? The problem is that a lot of the ideas that look good on paper don’t necessarily translate well to reality. Thailand backpacking holidays is one of those concepts, I hate to say it.
There are countless stories of Europeans and Canadians getting all excited about Thailand backpacking holidays. They get all amped up and ready. When they go on their trip, they come back disappointed. They feel that their trips have been nothing but sweaty wastes of time. A lot of them complain about mosquito bites. A lot of them complain about the hassles that they faced along the way. The good is that this doesn’t have to be your experience.
If you want to go on Thailand backpacking holidays, you can definitely do so and do so successfully. Just by following the tips below, you’ll increase the likelihood that you will get the experience that you’re looking for. Unfortunately, if you don’t pay attention to these tips, you’ll increase the chances that you would get home disappointed.
The problem with most backpacking tour packages
The big problem with most backpacking tour packages is the fact that they tend to give you a commodified experience. They look at your travel needs as a product. Just like a toy is manufactured at a factory based on certain specifications to meet certain minimum quality thresholds, the same could be applied to your travel experiences. This really is too bad because you’re looking to backpack through Thailand. You’re looking for a distinct, palpable, and intimate experience with the exotic culture of Thailand. In your mind, this involves exotic new tastes, sounds, smells, and so on down the list.
Unfortunately, when you deal with the typical backpacking tour packages that lots of Thailand tour operators offer, you get predictable routes. You get the same saturated places in Thailand. In fact, when you go to these places, they are packed with foreigners. These foreigners come from all four corners the globe, but they all share the same mindset. It’s quite maddening, really. It’s quite disappointing. You don’t want that.
The reason why you wanted to go backpacking is because you want to see Thailand from a distinct point of view. You want to see Thailand the way it is.
Another danger that you face when you use a typical backpacking tour package is that it’s too short or too long. Either the itinerary spots are packed in too tightly or you end up chasing your tail going over the same places again and again because the itineraries are spaced too far apart.
Look for operators that focus in “day and the life” experiences
Thankfully, there are tour operators that provide backpacking experiences that enable you to assume distinct local view of Thailand. You literally step into the shoes of the typical Thai villager. You look at Thailand from the perspective of somebody who lives in the hills or in the hinterlands. You start looking at Thailand not as some sort of semi-developed place with all sorts of tourists and tourist traps. Instead, you look at it as a place of wonder. You look at it as a place blessed by nature with its distinct charms, risks, and dangers. In other words, you have a higher degree of seeing Thailand for what it really is, instead of what travel brochures or government programs dictate.
Get off the beaten track
Great Thailand backpacking holidays almost always involve getting off the beat and track. You just don’t know what you will experience when you get off the tourist circuit. You see real people. You experience real Thai food. I’m telling you right now, the Thai food that you eat in the province and the backwater of Thailand doesn’t taste anywhere near the stuff that you eat at the typical Thai restaurant in your city in Europe or America. The food is way better. Also, the food is probably prepared with more love.
Avoid tourist traps of cliché tourist stops like the plague
When you’re backpacking through Thailand, you can follow many different rules. You probably may have listed out several rules already. But if there is only one rule that you have time to follow, follow this rule: Avoid tourist traps or cliché tourist stops. Seriously, you need to avoid these places like the plague. A good tour company will avoid these routinely (eg Lost beaches!). They suck out a lot of the vitality of Thailand and the beauty of travel. They cheapen the whole experience. It really is a shame because Thailand has so much to offer as far as food scents, sights, and people go. It’s a place with millions of different stories and unfortunately, it’s very hard to put yourself in the position where you can appreciate or even enjoy these stories if you’re in a tourist trap.
In a tourist trap, the objective is quite simple. Tour operators take you to these tourist traps in a bid to milk as much dollars out of you. That’s the long and short of it. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that they are motivated by noble purposes. They could care less. They just want to milk you for as much as cash as possible. What makes this really deceptive is that in many cases, they offer tourist tours completely free. They even provide a bus. They even have a fake tour guide. Don’t fall for that trap.
If you’re going to be backpacking through Thailand, your days are limited. You don’t have time for such wastes of time, seriously. So avoid tourist traps. If you sense things that hint of or smell like a tourist trap, run far, far away.
Dress accordingly, its HOT baby.
Thailand is hot and steamy. Let’s just get that out of the way. It’s very humid and often times it rains, so dress accordingly. Pack the right gear and most importantly pack the right mindset. If you think that Thailand will have the exact same weather as Nebraska or wherever you come from, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment.
You have to appreciate Thailand on its own terms. It has its own agenda. It has its own axis. Deal with it, move on, and appreciate it based on its own reality. If you’re able to do this, you increase the likelihood that you will have a great time.