The whole idea of backpacking around Thailand is so romantic. What is the best way to express any kind of culture or exotic locale: traveling. on the ground. When you travel on the ground and you experience a country inch by inch as you use public transport and take trains, you can’t help but savour the exotic essence of a country. Well, don’t get too excited. What I just described is the idea behind backpacking in Thailand. Your actual experience may vary tremendously. You see what determines whether you end up with a trip that is memorable and enjoyable boils down to two things: proper research and attitude. I’ve already talked about attitude in previous blog posts, I’m not going to discuss that here.
To sum up, you need to have the right expectations. You cannot come into any kind of experience with an entitlement mentality. That, is your recipe for disaster and you’re just simply setting yourself up for disappointment. The best attitude to assume, is to expect that you will be discovering something new. Explore your sense of possibility and indulge your curiosity. If you have this mindset before you go backpacking around Thailand, you increase your chances of having a wonderful time. Best of all, you increase the chances that you will look back fondly to your trip to Thailand. With that said, the other side of the equation is also important. You have to do proper research. Here are my tips regarding this important component:
One of the most common mistakes backpackers make is to research their backpacking trip once they’ve hit the ground. That’s right. They got on the plane, arrive at the airport, then and only then do they decide to research. This is too little too late. Chances are you might actually end up with nasty surprises. Do yourself a favor and hit TripAdvisor and other online resources weeks before you decide to backpack around Thailand. This can help you tremendously because you would know exactly where to go, what to expect and this sets the right mood for you. Another set resource you could check, are travel blogs that deal with Thailand.
Extensive versus Intensive itinerary
This is a very important decision point. When planning any kind of trip, you have to decide whether you want to have an intensive itinerary or an extensive one. An extensive itinerary involves traveling. to as many different places as possible. It’s all about reach and coverage. On the other hand, an intensive itinerary involves a few places, but you really drilled down. You tried to experience the locale like a local would. You step into their shoes and see the local attractions with their pair of eyes. I know it sounds romantic at this point, but this choice between extensive and intensive itinerary setting can actually create conflict.If you’re going to be backpacking around Thailand with a group of friends, you might end up fighting because there’s a pronounced disagreement regarding extensive and intensive traveling. Decide this issue ahead of time. This way, you can diffuse possible conflicts while you still haven’t bought your tickets.
The Pros and Cons of Intensive Traveling
The great thing about intensive traveling., is you really get a sense of what a place is like from the eyes of a person who lives there. You experience the essence of a place that would otherwise be an exotic point in the map. You can tell your friends that you’ve actually traveled and lived in Thailand. When you say this, you know what the food tastes like, you know the problems and the advantages of people who live there have. If anything, it deepens your knowledge of the social, economic as well as the natural reality of the place you’re visiting.
The big disadvantage to intensive traveling. is that it’s too easy to get a slanted view of a particular country. For example, if I was traveling. to Thailand and I spent all that time in the highlands, I would have a much skewed view of what it feels like to live in Thailand. Compare this if I spent the time in their coastal areas, on islands, in Bangkok, and big cities. I get a more holistic view of their country.
As I’ve mentioned above, you’d get a more holistic view, if you travel extensively by packing a lot of diverse locations into your itinerary. You get to view Thailand from many different perspectives. This pays up tremendously if you’re going to be backpacking around the Thailand. The downside of extensive traveling., is you better budget enough time. The last thing you want, is to just spend 1 day in Bangkok and the next day in Phuket. While you’re more than welcome to do that, I’m telling you right now you would walk away with a very superficial understanding and appreciation of Thailand. Thailand has so much to offer. It really would be a shame to spend only one day in these amazing places. This is the big disadvantage of extensive traveling. You’re forced to cut back on the amount of time you can spend truly experiencing a particular location.
Keep Safety First in Mind
Regardless of what you do in Thailand, it’s really important to make sure you keep safety in mind when backpacking around the country. As I’ve mentioned previously, make sure that you made a copy of your passport. Make sure that your important contact information is easily accessible. It’s always a good idea to travel in a small group that is constantly communicating with each other.
While Thailand has its fair share of tourist-related crimes, the good news is that, crime is at a manageable level compared to other travel destinations in the world. Finally, it’s a good idea to take information from the locals regarding where to go backpacking around Thailand. Locals can give you the quick ins and outs of destinations that are off the beaten path. With that said, make sure you cross reference with online resources so you can get a clear idea regarding the overall safety level of the locations recommended by locals.