If you were born and raised in a western household in a western community, then Asia is probably a region full of mysteries and experiences that you’ll want to encounter at some point in life. However, because it’s such a distant and different place than what we’re used to, it can be difficult trying to find the right places to visit and the language barrier can be a problem. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to travel to Southeast Asia without having to spend too much money, and we’ll be discussing some of those tips in this article.
Washing Your Own Clothes
The lighter you are, the easier it is to move around. Lugging around a suitcase is going to cause problems when you’re trying to find cheap transportation, and it can seriously hinder how much freedom you have. From in-flight essentials to your general clothing, make sure you’re not stuffing your bag full of useless junk that you don’t need. Make sure you have enough clothes to last a few days and consider buying cheap clothes as replacements or washing them at a hotel or hostel.
If you want to make some serious savings, then learn to use a sink or bathroom to wash your clothes. One method is to get a heavy-duty ziplock bag and put your clothes inside. Add some detergent, you can buy small packets at most grocery stores that are incredibly cheap. Then add water inside the bag, turn your clothes inside out, add them in and then leave them for about 30 minutes. Once that’s done, take your clothes out and rinse them in fresh water at a sink, then leave them to air dry in your bathroom or near a window. The sink method is similar. Simply plug a sink, add water and some detergent, then leave it to soak for a while. If you can’t find small packets of detergent or would still prefer someone else to do it, then most hostels and hotels will have coin-operated washing machines or laundry drives that are slightly more expensive and might take longer, but they’re convenient nonetheless.
Finding Better Accommodation
Accommodation can be tricky in Southeast Asia. On one hand, finding a cheap rental house to stay at is both easy and inexpensive, but if you’re serious about traveling on a budget, then you might want to find friends that you can stay with.
Rental houses are perfect for groups because of the privacy and amenities. They’ll usually come with basics like cooking utensils and appliances, and they may even come with washing machines and detergent. In a sense, a rental is much like your own little home away from home, but it does hinder your ability to explore and backpack. However, if you’re traveling with a lot of luggage, then it does make a good base of operations to return to. Hostels are cheaper alternatives for groups of people. You may be asked to share rooms if you’re unable to book one for yourself, but they’re just as convenient.
If you’re traveling alone or with a few people, then you may want to consider camping out to save on accommodation costs in general. This can take a bit of getting used to, but it’s definitely the way to go for a budget backpacking trip. If that sounds a bit too wild, then the other option is to stay with friends and family that are in the country you’re visiting. This idea is known as couch surfing and comes with some fantastic advantages, such as living with locals that are willing to show you around town and introduce you to their country.
Whatever you do for accommodation, just avoid typical tourist traps and hotels. Hotels are fantastic because they offer plenty of luxury amenities, but they’re not necessary for enjoying what Southeast Asia has to offer.
Embrace Street Food Culture
This is going to sound obvious, but if you’re a fan of Asian food then your visit to Southeast Asia is going to be incredibly expensive. Rice and noodles are stereotypical staples in Asia, and virtually every meal is eaten with it on the side. Western food exists in Southeast Asian countries, but they’re not exactly common. They’re mainly found in fancy hotels and upscale restaurants, both of which are usually outside of a budget holiday allowance. Even posh local cuisine exists, but the best experiences are going to be found at street food stalls.
Although some may be concerned about the hygiene of cooking out in the open like most street food stalls, there are also many food courts to eat at if you’re visiting countries like Japan, Singapore or Taiwan. Food is plentiful, cheap and incredibly delicious. You may find some strange local delicacies, but that’s part of what it’s like to discover Asia. You’re going to run into some strange foods, but if you keep an open mind, you’re going to find so many new flavors, tastes and textures to fall in love with. Experiencing new things is one of the reasons we travel, so try and keep your mind open when it comes to food.
Do Your Research
Backpacking and traveling is a lot about discovering new things, but that doesn’t mean the discovery has to start when you’re wandering around aimlessly. The discovery process can start at home when you’re on a laptop or a computer. Make sure you do your research when finding places to visit so you can get the most of it. There are so many popular Southeast Asian travel blogs to learn from. Whether it’s finding cultural locations to visit, traditional festivals to attend or foods to taste, there’s no better place to look than travel blogs.
Before you head out anywhere in the city or countryside, make sure you use your phone, laptop or even ask around for places to visit and things to see or do. This will help you avoid running into problems later, and it can give you some ideas on how to go about exploring.