If you really want to experience a country, I can’t recommend backpacking more. Backpacking puts your feet firmly on the ground. You basically put yourself in a position where you are exploring the country inch by inch. You experience a new country, culture, and society face to face. When traveling from one place to another with a backpack strapped on, you get an opportunity to see, taste, feel, smell, and hear more. This is the way to travel. You’re not just being a tourist zipping from place to place never going beyond the surface. You actually get to dig deep and experience a new place from the perspective of people who actually live there.
You’re also in a better position to meet people at face level. You’re going to be asking questions, you’re going to be put in a position where you’re going to interact with people. It’s one thing to read a travel brochure and say that a country has all this culture, but it’s another to actually experience it with your own set of eyes, your ears, mouth, and nose.
You see, a country is not just a location on a map. It’s a culture. It also is a collection of scents, sights, sounds, and textures. When you’re backpacking, you are in a tremendous position to experience a country through all five senses. Maybe you’re eating at an exotic restaurant or maybe you are listening to local music. Whatever the case is, backpacking really unlocks the mystique, charm, and spiritual wealth of any destination. This is why many people decide to backpack through Thailand.
Unfortunately, like with any other decision, there’s always a right way and a wrong way of doing things. With Thailand, it’s too easy to backpack the wrong way. If you don’t want to leave anything out, if you don’t want to miss anything, and if you don’t want to make a tactical mistake, keep in mind the following.
Take care of the basics
The first thing that you need to do is to care of the basics. This means security. This means ensuring that if anything goes wrong, you can easily get in touch with the U.S. Embassy and ensure that you make arrangements, so you can get to the United States safe and sound. At the very least, you need to make a copy of your passport. Also, you need to get a list of emergency contacts. You simply don’t know what will go wrong. You can’t predict the things that may happen. Make sure that you know who to call in case something bad happens.
Also, make sure that you pack enough cash. This cash must be in a form that it’s not easy to steal. Traveler’s checks, as well as debit cards, are the best way forward.
Plan ahead based on the experience you’re looking for
Now that you’ve decided to backpack through Thailand, the next step is to plan ahead. Make sure that you focus on a particular experience you’re looking for. You see, Thailand is a country that is very rich in culture and naturally best place that there are so many experiences you can walk away with. You can travel Thailand on a nature tour. You can travel Thailand on a food tour. You can travel Thailand on a spiritual tour. Thailand has so many Buddhist temples.
You have to identify the kind of experience that you’d like to walk away with after you’ve backpacked through Thailand. You need to plan this ahead of time. Also, if you’re going to be traveling with other people, make sure that everybody’s on the same page. The last thing that you want is to travel with people who have different agendas. I’ve seen this happen quite a bit.
A group of friends would go to Europe, they would backpack through a couple of countries, and then they would split up because one group would want to see museums, the other group would just want to see nightclubs, and the other group would just want to go on a food tour. Do you see what’s wrong with this picture? So put your heads together and come up with a consensus regarding the common experience you’re looking for.
Space out your itinerary to maximize exploration time
Make sure that when you put things in your itinerary you give yourself enough time to truly soak up the local experience. The last thing that you want is to jump from one point of the map to the next. You’re not in a race. You’re not getting paid for the amount of places you visit. Instead, when you backpack through Thailand your main goal should be to soak up the local experience. It’s all about truly experiencing and living out Thailand from the perspective of the people on the ground. That’s hard to do when you’re zipping through a wide range of travel spots.
Again, you’re not trying to fill a quota here. You’re trying to come back refreshed, and mentally and emotionally energized.
Decide to view Thailand through local eyes
This is non-negotiable. The main reason why I recommend that people should backpack through Thailand is because you’d want to experience Thailand from the ground up. You’d want to experience the local flavours, the local scents, the local colour, and the best way to do this is to experience it through the eyes of locals. Sadly, it’s too easy for western travelers to go to any otherwise exotic locale and strip it of its soul, seriously.
They would just jump from one over saturated tourist spot, complete with tourist traps, to the next. If you wanted to do that, then you did not need to backpack. You could just get on a tourist bus and just go from spot to spot. The reason why you’re backpacking is you want a distinct local and authentic feel to your travel experience. The best way to do this is to plan for this. Try to make local contacts. Try to use the internet to find a local guide. However, if you want to do it, make sure that you get enough local feedback, so you can experience Thailand from a purely local and authentic perspective.