Top 10 Tips For Traveling South-East Asia on a Shoestring

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Traveling South-East Asia truly changed my life in many ways, and I’m always recommending people to plan a trip out this beautiful region of the world.  So many people think that traveling is expensive, but that honestly can’t be further from the truth.  South-East Asia is the perfect place for budget travel, and I’ve learned quite a bit during my time out there.  So if you’re looking for some travel tips for Asia on a shoestring, I’m here to help!


1 )  Travel Slow

To begin, when I was backpacking through South-East Asia, I had all the time in the world.  I arrived in Bangkok on a one-way ticket, and had no set return date.  If you’re in the same situation, then my absolute best tip I can give you is to travel slow.  Stay in each destination a bare minimum of 4-5 nights.  This is going to give you the opportunity to get to know each destination, figure out the best and affordable accommodation, and learn your favorite budget places to eat.  You never know, you might enjoy a place so much you will find yourself getting a job at the local pub-crawl or hostel.  However, if you’re on a ‘Travel Talk Tours’ Thailand Tour then you’ll be on a bit more a time schedule.


2 )  Eat Like The Locals

South-East Asia is the street food capital region of the world.  In almost every place you will visit, there will be night markets with delicious food stalls, and I can guarantee they will always be cheaper than any restaurant.  This is especially crucial if you are in Thailand, which is my personal favorite for street food dining!  I stayed in Chiang Mai for one month, and the food was absolutely incredible!


3 )  Stay at Hostels

This should be an obvious one for anyone looking to save money in Asia.  There are so many incredible and budget friendly options to choose from, and you can find beds for as low as $5 per night.  I always like to do ample amount of research on Hostelworld before I book anything, and try to find a hostel with a lively backpacker atmosphere!  Traveling is all about the people you meet, so you want to be in an environment where it’s easy to meet like-minded travelers


4 )  Practice & Master Bargaining

You’re definitely going to get ripped off once or twice.  Don’t worry — it happens to all of us, but you will need to practice and master your bargaining skills.  The locals in these countries will try and get as much money out of you as possible (especially in Vietnam), so know how much you should be paying for each item, and bargain them down!


5 )  Bring Your Own Drinks

If you were to walk into a restaurant in the U.S or Australia with your own water bottle, you might be told that that’s not allowed or get some awful looks.  Well, in South-East Asia it is completely fine!  I NEVER ordered drinks when I ate out, because the price were always much higher than what you would find at the 7-11 across the street.  It’s a tip that I think can save tons of money throughout your trip in Asia.


6 )  Pre-Game Wisely

South-East Asia is one of the best places to party, but just like anywhere in the world, drink prices will add up.  That’s why I always recommend buying a bottle of a local spirit, and play some drinking games at the hostel before you go out.  It’s a fantastic way to start your night, make some friends, and save some money (since you won’t have to spend a lot out at the bars).


7 )  Don’t Buy Souvenirs

As a long-term solo traveler, I never had the space nor budget for souvenirs.  It’s my personal belief that the best souvenirs and pictures and the memories.  Obviously, if there is something you really want, then definitely get it!  Just be careful, it can be very easy to see all these fancy little tourist shops and want to buy stuff, only to realize you don’t have the space or need for any of it.


8 )  Join The Facebook Groups

While this may not be an actualy money saving tip, these groups are absolutely essential!  You can ask all your important questions here (or feel free to email me), and learn about cool stuff going on in each destination.  I was an active member in the south-east Asia backpacker groups during my time out there, and truly found them useful!

Check out these ones:


9 )  Overnight Busses & Trains / Cheap Flights

While some people may disagree with me on this point, I always found that the overnight busses and trains were a great way to save money.  They can get you from Point A – Point B in a decently comfortable way, and they save you a night of accommodation.  With that being said, South-East Asia has some incredible budget airlines that you can find some great deals on!  If you can take a 2-hour plane ride instead of a 12 hour bus…then why not?


10 )  Download My Free E-Book

If you’ve found these tips helpful, then you will absolutely love my Free E-Book “77 Amazing, Helpful, Money Saving Tips for Backpacking South-East Asia“.  I wrote while I was staying on Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia — and tons of people have said they really love it!  It’s short, easy to read, and you will learn a lot.  *Download link below post*


If you’re ever planning a trip, feel free to email me and ask me any question you can think of.  I love helping people plan their travels!

THANKS FOR READING!


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& Add Me On Snapchat: — JonesATW

25 Tips for Backpacking Thailand

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Backpacking Thailand is like enrolling in “Backpacking 101”

It’s the absolute perfect destination for new backpackers.  It’s an amazing country with a little something to offer everyone!  With that being said, going to any new destination can be a little intimidating.

Hopefully these 25 tips will help you along your travels through Thailand.  

1.  Practice and Hone Your Bargaining Skills.  

Almost everything is negotiable in Thailand.  You will most definitely get ripped off at least once or twice, but the more you do it — the better you’ll get.  I always recommend the “walk-away” method.  Figure out what you want to pay, and if they won’t agree then start to leave and see if they will accept then.          

2.  Book in Advance for Big Holidays or festivals.

If you’re planning on going to a Full-Moon party, a music festival, or a famous holiday celebration like Songkran — then you need to take care of your accommodation in advance.  Places book up quick.

Check out my video I made of Songkran 2015 in Chiang Mai.  

3.  Shop Around & Compare Prices

When booking anything, check prices at least 3 or 4 different travel agencies.  This goes for island hopping tours, bus + ferry tickets, and hostels / guesthouses.   You can definitely get a better deal and bargain with them to get the best deal.          

4.  Join Facebook Groups with like-minded travelers.

I’m a member of multiple different Facebook groups for travel throughout South-East Asia.  You can post travel questions, share cool photos, make new friends, etc.

These are all groups that can be helpful and entertaining.

There’s honestly tons more if you just search in Facebook

5.  Bring an Unlocked Smartphone and get a local SIM

Purchase a one-month unlimited data plan.  You have no idea how much it will come in handy.  This goes for directions, looking up information, booking last-minute places, making calls, etc.

You can also tether it to your laptop or tablet, and use it on long bus journeys, train rides, or ferries.  

I personally recommend getting a SIM through the company AIS.  I always used them in Thailand, and it worked perfectly.  


Read:  The Ultimate Travel Guide to Thailand [Instagram Checklist]


6.  Street Food.  Eat it often.  

Thailand is the street food capital of the world (in my opinion).  

It’s very delicious, and also budget friendly to save you much some baht.

If you’re looking for the best cheap places to travel, then coming to Thailand and eating the street food is definitely a solid option.

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7.  Take a Sleeper Train

It’s actually a comfortable train, you save on a night of accommodation, and it’s a good experience.

I’ve taken two, and thoroughly enjoyed it both times.

A popular route is between Chiang Mai and Bangkok.      

8.  Debit & Credit Cards  

These tips are great for anyone planning on traveling a lot in the future.  

Try and plan ahead and have a debit card that refunds all ATM Fees.  I know it’s not very common, but to use any ATM in Thailand cost 180 Baht (Approx $5).  

The U.S best bank for this would be Charles Schwab

The same goes for Credit Cards without a foreign transaction fee.

I’d recommend applying for the Capital One Venture Card      

9.  Avoid Phuket & Koh Samui

They are extremely touristy, expensive, and there are much better places to be spending your time.  I know some people have had some good times there, but I wouldn’t bother.

Just skip them.

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10.  Fresh Coconut Water & Fruit Smoothies

It’s very important to keep yourself hydrated while traveling through Thailand.

The fresh coconut water is delicious, healthy, and great for curing hangovers.

There are also fruit juice & smoothie stands all over the place.  They are cheap and tasty.

Drink them often, and stay healthy while traveling.

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11.  Pack Light   

You’re traveling through Thailand, and there really isn’t that much need for a wide-variety of clothes.

Everything you’ll pretty much need can be bought for cheap while traveling as well.

You’ll just need some basic clothes that can be worn in a lot of different settings.

If you’re anything like me though, you’ll spend a lot of time on beaches and islands, and won’t need much.

12. Budget Airlines

While most backpackers prefer to travel overland, sometimes you can find a really cheap flight!  This could particularly come in handy if you need to get up to Chiang Mai quickly.

It can also be annoying traveling on bus and trains because you’ll always have to stop in Bangkok for the longer trips.  It just depends on your itinerary, but getting a budget flight can save some time, money, and energy.

13. Get Massages  

This is probably a no-brainer, but the Thai massages are just so cheap and amazing.  If you are an expert for finding the best deal, you can find them for as cheap as 150 Baht for one-hour.  These aren’t very common anymore, but you’ll never really pay more than 500 Baht for a solid massage experience.  If you’re in Bangkok or Chiang Mai, you could also check out Groupon Thailand.

I always like getting a quick 30-minute foot massage after a long day of walking / sight-seeing.

14.  Try the “Toasties” from 7/11

Trust me.  Just do it.  They are absolutely heavenly.

My personal favorite is the Ham & Cheese Croissant toastie, but there are ton of options.  

 They only cost 25 Baht, they’re insanely delicious, and perfect for a quick snack.

15.  Let’s Talk About Elephant Rides & Tiger Temples.

DON’T DO IT

Elephants aren’t meant to be ridden.  Simple as that.

The Tiger Temples are absolutely atrocious, and drug the poor tigers.  

Check out this great article for 8 Responsible Alternatives to the Tiger Temple.

I actually made the mistake of doing the typical “tourist elephant ride” once during my first time in Thailand, and I still regret it.    


Read:  The Best Hostels in Thailand


16.  Underwater Camera or GoPro

You’ll definitely be wishing you had one if you don’t bring one.  Thailand has some amazing underwater adventures that I’m sure you’ll want to document.    

My GoPro is one of my favorite travel accessories.  It takes some amazing photos, and your Instagram feed will be full of beautiful photos.   

Just jump in! Fan photo ?: @everchanginghorizon

A photo posted by Official Thailand Tourism (@thailandinsider) on

17.  Play Pool

I’ve seriously never played more pool in my life than my time spent backpacking in Thailand.

It can be a great way to meet people, relax around the hostel, or enjoy while enjoying some beers. 

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18.  Bring Sunscreen

 I’m not too sure why, but this essential item can get pretty expensive out in Thailand.  I saw one store trying to sell some sunscreen for 1200 Baht ($35!).

If you do purchase this in Thailand (or any other cosmetic), just be careful it doesn’t have the skin whitener added into it.       

19.  Buy the Lonely Planet Book  

It’s honestly full of useful information, and great to browse through while in transit.  If you don’t buy it, look out for it in hostel book shelves, and check it out.  Can definitely be a great asset. Buy it now               

Wat Tourist…

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on


Read:  3 Week Thailand Itinerary


20.  Get Off The Beaten Path

Make sure you do this at least once or twice.  There’s so many amazing places in Thailand, you don’t want to just be on the same tourist path as everyone else.  Thailand has become a pretty popular touristy destination, but there are still a few places that aren’t often traveled.  

I’d recommend checking out Koh Mook in the Trang province in southern Thailand.  People sometimes stop here on an island hopping tour from Koh Lanta, but it’s a beautiful place to spend a few days depending on how long you have.        

21.  Go to a Music Festival  

There are tons of music festivals in South-East Asia, and quite a few are in Thailand.

I’d recommend going to any of the full-moon parties, Songkran Water Festival in April, or Wonderfruit festival in December for an epic weekend experience.

Yoga Bass during the sunset during Wonderfruit day 2. What an awesome experience. Namaste.

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

22.  Get a Tattoo 

If that’s your thing?  It’s a pretty popular souvenir, and I’ve seen some pretty cool travel tatoos.

I never got one, but it’s definitely something I want to do when I get back to Thailand.  

Just make sure you plan ahead, and don’t do it when you’re planning on doing a lot of swimming. 

23.  Island Hopping Tours 

In my opinion, these are always a great decision.  They normally only cost around 500 Baht, and include a full-day of snorkeling / sight-seeing in beautiful places.  

Another cool aspect is that you’ll most likely meet some awesome people as well.  If you’re traveling solo, this can be a great opportunity to kick it with some fellow travelers.  

2 Americans, 2 Dutchmen, 1 Boat, 5 islands, 3 bottles of whiskey, and tons of fish. That was one epic snorkeling trip

A photo posted by Dave ✈️ Jones Around the World (@jonesaroundtheworld) on

24.  Stay In Each Destination for at least 4-5 days

This obviously depends on how long you have for your backpacking itinerary in Thailand, but getting from Point A – Point B in Thailand can take much longer than expected.

If you move too quickly, you’ll feel like you’re always in transit instead of enjoying your time in the country.

25.  Stay In Hostels 

Last but not least.  You’re backpacking so you gotta stay at hostels!

Hostels provide the perfect opportunity to meet fellow travelers from around the world.  It’s not about the destination, it’s about the people you meet and spend time with that make traveling so life-changing.

Agoda.com — This is easily my favorite site for finding the cheapest deals on hostels, hotels, and guesthouses in Thailand.

Hostelworld — Really easy to use, great hostel reviews, and you can always find a cheap place.  However, prices can be a bit more expensive than if you were to book in person.

Booking.com — It has tons of options, and is still a great resource for booking a place to sleep.  What is nice is you can often pay in full, or just reserve your spot without any credit card needed.  This can be great for price comparisons.  You never know where you’ll find the cheapest deal.

Hostelbookers — The alternative to Hostelworld.  It’s really great, and sometimes this is where you”ll can find the cheapest price.


BONUS TIP

Down at the bottom of this post you can download my Free E-Book “77 Amazing, Helpful, & Money-Saving Tips for Backpacking South-East Asia” below.  It goes over most of these tips, but includes a lot more information.  It’s a quick and easy read, and free to get just for signing up for my monthly newsletter.

Any questions?  Feel free to shoot me an email or comment down below and I’d be happy to help out.  


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Follow my adventures Around The World on FacebookInstagram, Twitter 

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10 Fun & Awesome Things To Do In Malaysia

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A visit to Malaysia is bound to be nothing less than a trip you’ll never forget! There are so many things to see and do in Malaysia, that wherever you go, you’ll surely run into something unique and surprising! Whether it is food, adventure, shopping, or entertainment, Malaysia never ceases to surprise its visitors. The country is blessed with astounding natural beauty too, including pristine beaches, the world’s oldest tropical rainfrest and the oldest national park, ideal for hiking enthusiasts.  Check out this list of 10 fun & awesome things to do during your next trip to Malaysia!

1) Snorkeling / Diving around The Perhentian Islands

Easily one of the most beautiful parts of the country, spending a day on a boat exploring the underwater life around the Perhentian Islands will be a highlight of your vacation.  You’ll be left speechless at the underwater life, beautiful corla, and you’re also pretty much guaranteed to see a couple turtles!

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2)  Genting Highlands, Kuala Lumpur

Welcome to the ‘City of Entertainment’ – Genting highlands – a magnificent resort perched on a hilltop, about 50km from the city of Kuala Lumpur, offering the coolest getaway to re-charge yourself! Home to the only casino in Malaysia, Genting Highlands also offers indoor and outdoor theme parks, over 50 fun rides and about 150 outlets comprising numerous restaurants and shopping centres.

3)  Exploring the Cameron Highlands

Just a bit further north from the Genting Highlands, you’ll find yourself mesmerized incredible green and luscious rolling landscapes.  Choose between jungle trekking, exploring tea plantations, or stunning view points.  The Cameron Highlands is a visit to

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4)  Butterfly Park Tour, Kuala Lumpur

Who wouldn’t want to recall childhood day trying to catch colourful butterflies, or trying to fly like one?! Serenity of nature, a beautifully manicured garden with lush greenery and colourful flowers, and a haven where one can relax on the benches or soak in the sweet incense of exotic flowers, the Butterfly Park in Kuala Lumpur is a must-visit! An ideal destination for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers, this is the largest butterfly park in Southeast Asia, where you can admire up to 6000 butterflies from over 120 species!

5) Pulau Payar Marine Park, Langkawi

Time to bid goodbye to all your worries and gear up for some excitement! Go snorkelling or swim with the colourful fishes at the Pulau Payar Marine Park. This uninhabited, well-preserved marine park, surrounded by coral reefs and ideal for an extensive array of water-sport activities, is one of the most exciting places to visit in Malaysia. If you are not a fan of water-sports, go and check out the surrounding hiking trails or simply sit back and admire the endless ocean – a diverse mix of shades of blue!

6)  Try Malaysia’s delicious Cuisine!

Do we even need to mention the food trails of Malaysia? Malaysian cuisine is not about a few particular foods, rather, it’s all about the country’s culinary diversity and dynamic mixture stemming from its multi-ethnic population of Indians, Malay, Chinese, Eurasians, and the indigenous people of Borneo. Malaysian food is all about letting your senses tantalise your taste buds by sampling the best dishes of Malaysia. Truly, feasting on the heavenly Malaysian cuisine on your holiday is a one-of-its-kind experience which shouldn’t be missed!

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7)  Experience Paradise on Pulau Kapas

While not one of the most well-known islands in Malaysia, Pulau Kapas might just be the most stunning islands I’ve ever visited.  This idyllic island is just a short 20 minute boat ride from the mainland, and will keep you there much longer than expected.  With no roads on this island, you’ll truly experience the laidback island lifestyle.  There’s amazing snorkeling just a short swim off the beach, crystal clear water, and a few amazing spots to eat!

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8)  Khoo Kongsi, Penang

One of the best things to do in Malaysia is visiting the famous Khoo Kongsi clan house. Hidden in a maze of alleys, this clan house was built more than 100 years ago. One of the country’s hidden gems, the grandest clan temple is surrounded by tall buildings, and inside clan temple, you will witness elaborate murals and carvings that reek of a rich history. Believers come here for religious reasons, while non-believers come to feast on its ornamental architecture. Whether it is a New Year’s celebration or a cultural show, the grandeur of this place has to be seen, in order to be believed.

 

9)  Cable-car ride and oriental village tour, Langkawi

Not a hiking enthusiast? Not a problem! Hop onto a cable-car that will take you to the peak of Mount Mat Chinchang, from where you can soak in legendary views of the fascinating island of Langkawi. The breath-taking scenery, the rustic ambience enhanced by rich flora and fauna, and the spectacular limestone formations – Langkawi is an idyllic retreat. Experience the thrill of speed while riding the longest free-span single-rope cable car ride of the Oriental Village through the virgin forest of Langkawi, and immerse yourself into in the serenity of the environment.

10) Rooftop Views in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur has made this list a few times already ,but for good reason.  Whether you’re enjoying a drink on a helipad, or swimming in one of the most amazing infinity pools, you definitely can’t miss the opportunity to get an amazing view of the city from up above.

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I collaborated on this post with the awesome people over at HolidayMe to promote some of their amazing tour packages in Malaysia!  As always, all opinions are my own, and think Malaysia is an incredible country that I strongly encourage people to visit!  

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The 15 Best Places To Party in South-East Asia

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Looking for the best places to party in South-East Asia?

You’ve come to the right place…

Whether you move over here to teach English, book a short vacation, or embark on long-term backpacking trip — you are going to fall in love with South-East Asia.  The food, the culture, the beaches, the islands, the cities, the hostels…and the epic parties.  This region of the world has it all.

I’ve spent over 18 months in total traveling around South-East Asia, and I’m always down for a good rager.  I’ve always said that I’m happiest when I’m on a tropical beach, listening to good music, and watching the sunset (or sunrise after a long night of dancing).

I’ve put together this list of which I believe to be the best 15 places to party in South-East Asia.  If you’ve been to any of these places, I’m sure you can agree that they are all amazing places to get a little boozy, meet fellow travelers, and have a solid night.  If you’re planning a trip to any of these destinations, feel free to Contact Me with any questions you have.  I’d be happy to help out anyway with any questions.

How many have you already visited…?


1)  Koh Phangan, Thailand

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While most people head to Koh Phangan just for the infamous Full Moon Party — this island actually has so much more to offer.  I like to refer to Koh Phangan as the “Ibiza of South-East Asia”, because there is literally a different party every night of the week.   If you’re planning a trip anytime soon, make sure you check out a website called the Phanganist.com.  They go over all the parties, hostel information, and other useful tips for visiting Koh Phangan.

Parties On The Island To Check Out Other Than The Full Moon Party  

  • Merkaba Beach Club — A really cool Ibiza style club with a pool, and amazing underground house music.  Check the FB page for upcoming party dates.  I actually went here one night instead of the FMP!  Located just a short drive away from Haad Rin Beach.
  • Maya — A beautiful and colorful venue in the jungle.  The type of music varies for each party, but it’s definitely worth a visit.
  • Guy’s Bar / Eden — An absolute must attend during your visit to Koh Phangan.  Tucked away in the deep part of the jungle, these are two of the best places to party on the island.  Known for it’s long hours, it’s the party that doesn’t stop.  It’s hard to get to, where you have to take a jungle taxi or boat to get to, but it’s well worth it!
  • The Jungle Experience — Normally happens before and after each Full Moon.  A bit expensive for the entry charge at 400 baht, but it’s a solid party with amazing music.  You’ll meet a ton of people, and see some pretty interesting characters dressed up in crazy body paint.
  • Sandcastle — A small club venue located in Haad Rin that is the best place to party during the Full Moon Party.  It’s not located directly on the beach, but definitely cruise here for a couple drinks.
  • Backyard Afterparty — If you go to the FMP and don’t see the sunrise, consider yourself a failure.  As well, part of the Koh Phangan experience is going to an afterparty.  Go to BACKYARD.  It’s amazing.

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2)  Vang Vieng, Laos

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The hedonistic party capitol of Laos has gotten a bad reputation in the past decade for being a destination fueled by booze, drugs, sex, and irresponsible backpackers.  Several years ago a few backpackers died in Vang Vieng, and the local authorities finally cracked down on the city.

While the current party status of Vang Vieng might be a little bit more tame than “the glory days”…have no fear– this place is still absolutely insane.  If you’re not careful — you will lose your mind.

Tubing in Vang Vieng is an absolute blast.  It’s basically a bar crawl, but instead of walking from place to place, you float down your tube (beer in hand), and get pulled back to the mainland with a rope at the next bar.  The backpacker vibe is awesome.  Everyone is here to meet people, drink, and have a good time.

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One of the bar stops while tubing in Vang Vieng

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When you’re not tubing,  you’ll most likely find yourself paryting at one place — SAKURA BAR.  The motto of this place is “Drink Triple, See Double, Act Single.”  This place gets ridiculous at night, and you’ll definitely love it.  They offer free alcohol every night before 8 P.M, decent drink specials, and sell large laughing gas balloons.

If you happen to find yourself in Vang Vieng on a Friday night — make sure you check out the weekly Jungle Party.  It’s about a 15 minute drive away from the main strip, but there is free transportation available outside Sakura bar.  The venue is really cool, the party lasts all night, and it’s amazing underground house music.  Don’t miss out!  They also sell mushroom shakes there if you’re feeling like taking a trip down the rabbit hole.

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3)  Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

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The largest of the three Gili Islands has been nicknamed “The Party Island” — and for a very good reason.  Gili Trawangan isn’t just one of the most beautiful places in South-East Asia, it’s by far one of the craziest places to get your drink on.  There is a “weekly schedule” on the island for which bars / clubs to go to, and each and every one of them is a pretty damn good time.

As well, Gili Trawangan has two booze cruise parties that are too epic for words.  You join dozens of other young backpackers on a beautiful boat, sail around idyllic islands, and listen to amazing music.  The booze can get really pricey, but it’s all worth it for the experience.  The atmosphere on the boat is awesome, and watching the sunset while sailing around Indonesia with a bintang in your hand is something you’ll never forget.

Gili Trawangan Booze Cruise

Gili Trawangan Booze Cruise

As well, Gili Trawangan throws their own version of the “Half-Moon” & “Full-Moon” Parties.  It’s basically just an all night beach rave about a 20 minute walk from the night market, but it’s hands down one of the best parties on the island.  If you’re feeling like getting a bit more crazy, there are (practically legal) mushrooms on Gili Trawangan that are guaranteed to take your night to the next level.

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4)  Halong Bay Castaway Island, Vietnam

Halong Bay.  Castaway Island tour.  Pure debauchery.  If you’ve been on this tour already — then you know what I’m talking about.  If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam and are keen for an intense 3-day booze bender while visiting one of the most stunning areas in South-East Asia, then you need to book this Castaway Island Tour.  If you’re a budget backpacker, than the price of the tour is probably going to piss you off.  Yes, it’s damn expensive — but it’s honestly a really great experience.

However, I was fortunate enough to go on this trip with an incredible group of people and two awesome tour guides (Shoutout to Emilio & Tom).  But just with any packaged group tour, I think a trip like this ALL depends on the people you travel with.  I think the majority of the time you’ll meet some great people, drink heaps, and enjoy sailing through one of Vietnam’s highlights.  With that being said, not everyone is lucky.

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5) Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

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If people give you advice to skip Koh Phi Phi because it’s become “too touristy”  — ignore them.  Yes, I’m sure visiting Koh Phi Phi 20 years ago was so much better, but it’s definitely still one of the most beautiful places in Thailand!  Oh, and Koh Phi Phi is one the craziest party island in South-East Asia.  

In my opinion, Koh Phi Phi is a backpacker’s paradise.  There’s tons of people everywhere, amazing and cheap food, and really great nightlife.  It’s not a big island, but there’s still plenty to do and explore.  The snorkeling trips are affordable and gorgeous, the view points are stunning, and you can’t leave Thailand without visiting “The Beach”…right?

Favorite Places to Party

  • Slinky’s Beach Bar — This is the place to be when the night comes to an end.  Loud house music, laughing gas balloons, dancing on stages; this place is wild.
  • Ibiza Beach Bar — This starts out as a really chill lounge bar during the sunset and couple hours after, but things start to pick up towards the end of the night.
  • Stones Bar — Located right next to Ibiza Beach Bar, another great option to chill, play pool, and start your night.
  • Banana Bar — Happy hour from 4:20-6:20, Movie’s play every night at 7:00 P.M, then after the movie the party starts with beer pong, loud music, and tons of people.
  • Stockholm Syndrome —  A great place to beer pong, meet people, and party before making your way to the beach.

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6)  Bali, Indonesia

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The “Island Of The [Party] Gods”.

Bali is one of those destinations people visit once, and will keep going back for another stint in paradise.  There’s a little bit of something for everyone, and that includes those looking for an epic night of partying.  There are basically two main areas to party in Bali:

Kuta, Legian, & Seminyak Area

Sky Garden — This legendary mega club is a place you need to party at least once during your time in Bali.  There are so many different areas and rooms, and there are often big name DJ’s that stop by and play.  If you get in early, there can be ridiculous drink deals as well.  Insider tip: Try to rooftop buffet for dinner…it’s incredible and affordable.

Potato Head Beach Club — This probably needs zero introduction.  Potato Head Beach Club is one amazing venue in Bali, and is definitely the best location for a bit of Bali day drinking!  It is probably one of the most expensive places in Indonesia, but sometimes you have to forget about the budget, and “treat yo self”.  The pool is the perfect place to have a few beers, watch the sunset, and chat up other travelers.  I’d recommend eating before you go there, because the food is heaps expensive.

Jenja — If you’re in Bali on a Friday or Saturday night, this is where you want to go for a night of excellent house music.  This is a much fancier and more elegant venue than the majority of other clubs in Bali.  So dress in your finest, be ready to pay an entrance fee, and prepare for a quality clubbing experience.  Check out their Resident Advisor page for upcoming DJ appearances.    

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Saturday Night Parties on Padang Padang Beach — Every Saturday locals, travelers, and head down to Padang Padang beach for an awesome night of live music, followed by DJ sets playing some commercial house tunes.  Who doesn’t love a beach party…?

Sundays Sessions at Single Finn — The absolute best party on Bali is found every Sunday night down at the beautiful Single Finn venue.  Perched at the top of Uluwatu Beach, this is the ultimate place to enjoy dinner, drinks, and the gorgeous Uluwatu Sunsets.  Around 9-10 P.M the place gets absolutely packed with beautiful people, and everyone dances to some top-notch electronic music.  You won’t be hearing any obnoxisous EDM here, just quality deep and tech house.  Definitely have a few drinks before you go in, because it can turn into a pretty expensive night.      


7)  Boracay, Philippines

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While Boracay might not be on the typical South-East Asia backpacker route, it’s hands down one of the best places to party in South-East Asia.  For starters, you have to experience The Boracay Pub Crawl.  It’s an absolute blast, and really does “Turn Strangers Into Friends!  ”

After that, you need to check and see if there is a party at Area 51:  Top Secret Party Facility.  It’s an amazing venue away from the all main action, but there are only parties twice a month for the full moon and half moon parties.  If this place isn’t having an event during your visit, then check out what EPIC Nightclub has got going on.    

There’s tons of bars and nightclubs in Boracay to discover; it really just depends on what you are into and where the night takes you.  Check out this Ultimate Guide to Boracay’s Nightlife  for a more comprehensive look at all your options.

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8) Koh Rong, Cambodia

“Nothing Can Go Wrong on Koh Rong” is the motto of this Cambodian paradise.  What is awesome about this place is that it can be exactly whatever you want it to be.  If you want to relax, do nothing, and forget about all your worries; that’s definitely possible.  But for those looking for a good time, Koh Rong has a lively and active party scene.  If there was one place to get to soon in South-East Asia, I would recommend Koh Rong.  Things are changing quickly on the island, but it currently still has it’s authentic charm.

Partying on Koh Rong is simply, all you have to do is walk up and down the main street, and follow the crowd.

When I was there, I spent a good amount of time at Vagabonds.  Definitely swing by there for a drink or two, and then see what else is going on.  The main stretch on Koh Rong isn’t large at all, so it won’t be too hard to find where the party people are at.  As well as the above two islands, Koh Rong does offer it’s own version of the Full Moon Party.  There’s no body paint or neon tanks, but there’s a party tucked away in the jungle with amazing underground house music.

No matter whether you want to party or not, just make sure you get to Koh Rong.  It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places in all of South-East Asia!


9)  Langkawi, Malaysia

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Two words come to mind when I think of Langkawi:  TAX FREE.  Yup, Langkawi is a “duty-free” island, which makes the price of alcohol extremely cheap compared to the rest of Malaysia.  During high-season, this place is packed with budget backpackers and vacationers looking for a good time.

While there may not be heaps of options of party locations, that doesn’t really seem to matter here.  There are a few beach bars located on Pantai Beach which can be a great place to start the night with a few cocktails.  My recommendation would be to grab dinner and drinks at Yellow Café.  It’s a popular spot on the island, and should be visited at least once during your time on the island.

After grabbing dinner and a few drinks, you pretty much one have option — Sunba Retro Bar.  This is where you will be doing the majority of your partying when you’re on Langkawi.  This is pretty much the only club on the island, and it’s a damn good time.  It’s not the biggest venue, but the music is excellent, and it’s a great atmosphere inside.  If you’re not feeling like heading inside the club, just check out the bar right next door to Sunba.


10)  Koh Tao, Thailand

While backpackers normally flock to Koh Tao for the affordable PADI Scuba-Diving courses and rich marine biodiversity, that is only one of the aspects that make this island a must visit during your travels in Thailand.

Koh Tao nightlife is serious business — and you’re in for a couple crazy party nights here.  For starters, you can’t go wrong the Koh Tao Pub Crawl.  This is a great way to see some of the best bars on the island, attend a Lady Boy Cabaret, and meet fellow travelers.  The pub-crawl guides always do an excellent job of keeping everyone entertained, there are drink specials at each stop, and you’ll be looking good rockin’ a “Koh Tao Pub Crawl” singlet.  Don’t miss out.

Maya Beach Club —  The only bar on Koh Tao that has real DJs every night and a “NO CHEESE” music policy, top shelf cocktails and an imported wine list.  Both local and imported DJs spin tunes every night from sunset till late from a variety of genres that aren’t crappy remixes.

The Castle —  Probably the most well-known and respected venu on the island, The Castle is where you go for a quality night of dance music.  It’s about a 10-15 minute drive from Sairee Beach, and they host events about 2-3 times per week.

The truth of the matter is that you really don’t even need any advice about partying on Koh Tao — it’s as simple as partying hopping up and down Sairee Beach.  There are so many different venues playing a variety of different styles of music, fire jump roping (be cautious), and heaps of people to meet.  It’s a damn good time.

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11) Sihanoukville, Cambodia

The main beach area of Cambodia “snookville” is definitely one wild and crazy party destination.  Start your evening with dinner & drinks at one of the many beachfront restaurants on Serendipity Beach.  Enjoy a beautiful sunset, a game or two of pool, and few pints of delicious Angkor beer.

The Two Main Party Hostspots in Sihanouvkville are the Dolphin Shack & JJ’s Playground.  There are several other bars and places to hang-out, but if you’re out partying in Sihaouvkille, there’s a 99% chance you’ll end up at one of two of these bars.  They both play similar music of EDM, hip-hop, and throwback classics.  The beers are cold, the drinks are cheap, and the backpacker vibe is amazing.  You’ll  drink, meet people, and will have one epic party night.

Both the Dolphing Shack & JJ’s Playground offer their own Booze Cruise — which I highly recommend.  Is there anything better than drinking while on a boat?   

12) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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The capital of Malaysia might not be the most popular place to party among South-East Asia backpackers — but this is one incredible city with an abundance of amazing nightlife options!  I’ve spent a decent amount of time in Kuala Lumpur, and I’ve had some really great nights out partying in the city.

Bar 51:  Welcome to your Kuala Lumpur starting point for the night.  Bar 51 is an upscale restaurant and bar located in the heart of Changkat Bukit Bintang, the main nightlife area in Kuala Lumpur.  There is one reason you come to this place — 5 MYR MOJITOS.  Yeah, that’s right.  You can get delicious mojitos for only $1.25 USD.   This special ends at 9 P.M every night, but you can order as many as you’d like right before the time ends, and they’ll keep bringing them out to you.  It’s an amazing spot, perfectly located, with very friendly staff.  If you’re going to Kuala Lumpur and fancy a delicious and cheap mojito, then definitely cruise over to Bar 51.

Heli Lounge This was once a helipad, but they turned it into a bar with amazing 360 degree views of the city.  Pretty cool concept, yeah?  While it might not be the best place to spend your entire evening, it’s definitely a must-visit during your visit to KL.  Go to the top about an hour or so before sunset, enjoy the views during the day and the night, and then head out for the night.

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Reggae Mansion Rooftop BarFor all the backpackers out there, this is definitely one of the most popular hostels in all of South-East Asia.  The rooftop bar is a perfect place to spend a night drinking, even if you’re not staying there!  There is a DJ playing some fun dance music, a pool table, and decent drink specials.

Zouk KL 

UnderNINE:  For underground house and techno fans — this is where you’ll want to go.  The crowd is really great, the music is excellent, and the venue is pretty cool.DSC_0805


13)  Pai, Thailand

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Haven’t you heard…?  Pai is incredible!  When you’re traveling around Thailand, it will be pretty damn hard to find someone who doesn’t think Pai is absolutely amazing.  That includes me.  The whole city is so relaxed and chilled out.  It’s truly a backpacker / hippy’s paradise.  While many will often claim that “Pai is not what it used to be” or “Pai has changed so much” — the Pai that I visited was still pretty awesome.  These were some of my favorite spots in Pai.

  • Pai Pub — A really great spot.  Decently priced beers and mixed drinks, a cool outdoor patio, a well kept pool table; a perfect place to spend a couple hours and start the night.  Located just a couple minutes away from the night market, you can’t miss the giant Kangaroo out front.
  • Sunset Bar — This a great place to chill and spend a few hours.  You’ll most likely encounter some people enjoying a joint, or maybe see some people tripping on a mushroom shake.  It’s a cool place, good music, and you’ll definitely enjoy having a drink or two.  It’s also a great place to watch the sunset (obviously).  Located on a quiet street about a 10 minute walk from the main area of Pai.
  • Don’t Cry Reggae Bar — This is the “after-hours” bar that does not close until really late at night.  When all the main bars and pubs close in Pai, the party crowd all flock to this one venue.  Awesome music and vibe, including a campfire — you’ll love ending your night at Don’t Cry.
  • Moon Parties — In the past few months, Pai has been throwing their own version of the full moon, half moon, and black moon parties.  They don’t happen all the time, but if you’re there, you should ask around or check online and see if there is one happening.

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14) Perhentian Kecil, Malaysia

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While the Perhentian Islands aren’t really a destination people normally visit for it’s crazy nightlife — there are still opportunities for amazing nights out drinking.

Perhentian Kecil is known as the “backpacker island”, and that means that it’s pretty damn easy to meet fellow travelers.  The last time I visited I only planned on staying for 4 or 5 days, but I ended up staying 10.  I met an amazing group of people, and practically every night we went out drinking!

 

What’s nice is that it’s just very simply to party here because people only really go to 2-3 different spots.

  • Panorama Bar:  Probably the most lively spot with a really great atmosphere.  They also have AMAZING PIZZA that you should try at least once.  They are kind of expensive at 25 MYR, but definitely worth it.
  • Monkey Bar:  This is just across the street from Panorama bar, and where I bought the majority of my alcohol.  You could buy a bottle of rum, cups, ice, and two mixers for 45 MYR — which is a really great deal there!
  • Pirates of Perhentian:  This is where the fire-show is held every night at 10:30 P.M.  The entertainment is really great, they play great music, and this is where pretty much everyone who is going to party for the night will be.  You sit down on the beach, order some beers, smoke some hookah, and watch some extremely talented people play with fire.

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15) Bangkok, Thailand

Last but not least, how could I write a post about partying in South-East Asia without mentioning “the Big Mango”.  Bangkok is the “Gateway to South-East Asia”, and there’s never a dull moment when you’re exploring the city, and the nightlife is guaranteed to make you come back for another round.

Khao San Road:  Street food, shopping, and tons of amazing restaurants and bars.  Partying on Khao San Road is something that every South-East Asia backpacker must do before the end of their trip.  You’ll drink towers of Chang Beer, listen to loud electronic music, and meet fellow travelers from around the world.

Sukhumvit:  This major road / district in Bangkok is your best option for when it comes to a good night out partying in Bangkok.  There are tons of different clubs in Sukhumvit , it’s almost intimidating trying to choose which one to go to.  My advice would be to check out Resident Advisor Thailand  to see if there are any special events coming up.  A few clubs I have been to and would personally recommend would be BASH, Insanity, and Spicy.

While you’re in Bangkok, make sure you visit all the temples, various shopping markets, and hit up a rooftop bar!

These are the Best 15 Places to Party in South-East Asia!!

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Agree?  Disagree?  Think I missed a certain destination?

Let me know in the comments sections!

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Singapore to Bangkok Overland Backpacking Itinerary

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Introduction

One of the most common routes for backpacking in South-East Asia is traveling from Singapore to Bangkok overland.  It’s an absolute amazing trip with tons of incredible places to see along the way.  From starting out in amazing metropolitan cities like Singapore & Kuala Lumpur, and then breaking away to gorgeous islands — this is definitely going to be a trip you’ll never forget.  This Singapore to Bangkok guide will go over my proposed route, travel tips, helpful websites, and some of my favorite blog posts I’ve written along my travels.

Brief Overview & Itinerary Route

  1. Singapore
  2. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 
  3. Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
  4. Penang, Malaysia
  5. Langkawi, Malaysia
  6. Koh Lipe, Thailand
  7. Koh Lanta, Thailand
  8. Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
  9. Ao Nang / Railey Beach, Thailand
  10. Koh Phangan, Thailand
  11. Koh Tao, Thailand
  12. Bangkok, Thailand

Starting in Singapore (2-3 Days)

Singapore is an absolutely gorgeous city, and it is often overlooked by South-East Asia backpackers.  This tends to be a very popular “layover” destination, and I always hear people who have only seen the airport, or max spent a day in the city.  I would personally recommend staying in this city for at least 2-3 nights!  There’s a lot of amazing things to see, places to visit, and incredible food to eat!

Check out this article written by fellow travel blogger Adventurous Miriam titled,” Top Free Things To Do in Singapore“.  This is a great starting point for planning your travels in this amazing city.

Note:  Singapore is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and definitely the priciest place in South-East Asia.  Try to limit your expenses here, or else you might break your budget here!  My personal advice — don’t go out drinking.  Maybe a beer here or there, but don’t go out partying.  It’s so expensive, and it will be better to save your party energy for other destinations on this itinerary 😉

 

Bus Or Train to Kuala Lumpur (3-4 Days)

From Singapore, it is incredibly easy to get up to the Malaysian Capital, Kuala Lumpur.  Your choice between Train, Bus, or Flight.

Train & Bus Bookings:  Easybook

Welcome to Kuala Lumpur.  This is truly a special place with friendly people, beautiful sights, and delicious food (just like the rest of Malaysia).  During my travels in South-East Asia , I was lucky enough to call this city home for awhile.  The first time I visited Kuala Lumpur I actually didn’t enjoy the city too much, but after spending more time there I discovered how special the city really is.

For more information on Kuala Lumpur, check out the following blog posts I’ve written:

This is one of my favorite cities in South-East Asia, and definitely worth the visit for a few days.  If you’re on a time crunch, you won’t want to spend too much time here.  Just make sure you cover all the city highlights.

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Bus to Cameron Highlands (2-3 days)

The Cameron Highlands is a stunning hill station in central peninsular Malaysia, and has become a popular destination for visitors in Malaysia. Roughly the size of Singapore, the Cameron Highlands covers a large stretch of land, and there’s tons to see, do, and explore.  You’ll fall in love with the beautiful green tea plantations, and will leave you speechless when you visit the highest peak in the Cameron Highlands

For more information on the Cameron Highlands, check out the guide below!

A Backpacker’s Guide to the Cameron Highlands

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Bus to Penang (2-3 Days)

Penang is the cultural hotspot in Malaysia!  You’ll fall in love with it’s busy streets, beautiful artwork, and enchanting history.  Oh, and the food is absolutely amazing.  Most people come to Penang only planning a few day stay, but end up staying much longer than they expected.  You can spend a day on Batu Ferringi beach, hike through the National Park, and take the journey up to Penang Hill for spectacular views of the entire city.        

Best things to do in Penang:

  • Beach day and sunset on Batu Ferringi Beach
  • Spend some time hiking through the National Park
  • Take a visit to Penang Hill for spectacular views of the city
  • Stroll through Georgetown and check out all the artwork
  • Eat at Penang’s famous hawker stalls
View from Penang Hill

View from Penang Hill

 

Ferry from Penang – Langkawi (4-5 Days) 

Officially known as Langkawi the Jewel of Kedah, Langkawi is an archipelago of 104 islands in the Andaman Sea, around 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia.  It’s right at the border of Thailand, and is a popular place to visit for traveller’s going north/south between Malaysia and Thailand.  It is truly an amazing island with amazing things to do, cheap accommodations, tax-free booze, and beautiful landscape.

Check out some of my blog posts on Langkawi:

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Ferry from Langkawi – Koh Lipe, Thailand  *Seasonal (4-5 Days)

After spending some time on Langkawi, you’re ready to journey further north into Thailand.  You’ll start your Thailand Island Hopping adventures in Koh Lipe, which is known as the “Maldives of Thailand”.  Pristine beaches, incredible food, and amazing sunrises & sunsets.

Ferry from Langkawi – Koh Lipe only available from November – May throughout the year.  If you’re traveling during the low season, you’ll have to take the ferry to Satun, Thailand — and catch the bus + ferry combo ticket from mainland Thailand.  Traveling during this time can be a bit expensive, it just depends on your budget and time restrictions.  It might be best to skip this island if you can’t take the direct ferry. 

Check out this amazing post from my friends at Getting Stamped titled, “The Ultimate Guide to Koh Lipe, Thailand.”  This is one of the most informative guides I’ve ever seen, and will answer all your questions about traveling to this beautiful island.

Sunrise on Koh Lipe. Photo credit

Sunrise on Koh Lipe. Photo credit:  Bambo Corr

 

Ferry from Koh Lipe – Koh Lanta (4-5 Days) 

Also depends on time of the year.  You might have to catch ferry + bus combo ticket up to the Krabi Province. 

After you’ve explored Koh Lipe to your liking, catch a ferry up to your next Thai Island, Koh Lanta.

Check out this awesome travel guide from the crew over at Never Ending Voyage titled, “Finding the Perfect Balance: Our Guide to Koh Lanta“.  This post will go over all the information you need for your time in Koh Lanta.

You’ll fall in love with this incredibly relaxing island.  There’s incredible beaches, a beautiful national park, and loads of other stuff to explore.  My main recommendation would be to hire a moped, and explore the entire island.  It’s the best way to see the island.   You can pack a bag, take breaks at all the beaches, and see how beautiful the island is.

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Ferry from Koh Lanta – Koh Phi Phi (4-5 Days)

When you’re ready to leave Koh Lanta (which can be harder than you think), you’ll be on your way to one of the most beautiful, photogenic, and most well-known places in Thailand — Koh Phi Phi.  Known primarily for the nearby Maya Bay being the film location for the Leonardo DiCaprio hit movie — “The Beach”.

Some people criticize Koh Phi Phi for being too touristy now, and too focused on partying — but it is still an absolute must visit during your time in Thailand.

Read my following blog posts on Koh Phi Phi

Leaving Koh Phi Phi is no easy task.  The party vibe is solid, there is amazing food, and you’re guaranteed to make some amazing new friends!  I personally think it’s the most beautiful area in Thailand!

 

Ferry from Koh Phi Phi – Ao Nang, Railey Beach, & Krabi (4-6 Days)

After spending the past couple weeks on Islands, it’s time to cruise back to the mainland.  Ao Nang is a really beautiful beach area, has a decent nightlife scene, and is definitely worth a visit.  There’s an island hopping tour that goes to nearby places, and a really fun pub crawl at night.

Don’t spend too much time in Ao Nang though — make sure you get over to the beautiful Railey Beach & Ton Sai Bay.

You can also hire a mo-ped and explore Krabi town, and the surrounding highlights.

Read:  The Best Hostels in Thailand

 

Book a Bus + Ferry Combo from Krabi to Koh Phangan (5 Days)

There are loads of travel agencies around Ao Nang and the Krabi that will help you book this ticket.  I typically travel with Lomprayah .  It is by the most established and organized company out there, and enjoy my travels when I book with them.  During peak season, they can sell out tickets.  (Especially prior to a Full Moon Party.)

Koh Phangan is one of the craziest party islands in South-East Asia !  You’ll often hear bad things about the Full Moon Party, but too be honest — it’s a damn good time (if you’re with the right people).  There’s something really fun about getting dressed up in Neon, covering yourself in bodypaint, and dancing all night with fellow backpackers.

To be perfectly honest though, the best party on Koh Phangan isn’t the Full Moon Party.  There’s so many better clubs, venues, and events that you should look into!  If your trip doesn’t align well with a date for the FMP, definitely still go to Koh Phangan!  It’s a great place to spend some time, relax, meet people, party, and enjoy paradise!

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Ferry up to Koh Tao (4-5 Days)

Koh Tao is the very first island I visited in my travels in South-East Asia, and it is by far one of my favorite places in Thailand.  This is a scuba-diver’s paradise, and is the perfect location to get your PADI certifications.  If you don’t want to do the full course, make sure you at least do a “Discover Scuba” one-day course.  It’s one of the most affordable places to try out scuba-diving, and is absolutely beautiful.  When you’re not scuba diving, Koh Tao is an amazing island to explore by moto.  Just choose carefully where you rent it, because this island is notorious for rental places taking advantages of tourists and withholding passports until the pay ridiculous “damage fees”.  Also make sure you do a day-trip to Koh Nang Yuan, Mango View point, The Koh Tao Pub Crawl, and party hard on Sairee Beach!

Read:  7 Amazing Things to do on Koh Tao  

 

Ferry from Koh Tao to Bangkok

You’ve seen the best islands Thailand has to offer, now it’s time to finish your trip in the “Big Mango”.  Bangkok is truly an amazing city, and there’s tons of amazing things to do, see, and explore.  It’s the gateway to South-East Asia, and most backpackers out here find themselves in Bangkok more than once.  The street food is delicious, the people are friendly, and you’ll absolutely love exploring all the temples, malls, and rooftop bars.

ReadWhere to Stay in Bangkok

Read10 Amazing Things to do in Bangkok

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Congratulations!  You’ve just crossed off three amazing countries in South-East Asia, and some of my favorite spots in the world to visit!

Substitutions & Other Destinations

  • The Perhentian Islands:  When you are traveling up through Malaysia, you could easily head over to the stunning Perhentian Islands.  It’s all the way on the east coast of Malaysia, so it’s a bit out of the way for this itinerary- but it would be incredible.  You could get a bus + ferry here from the Cameron Highlands.  Then when you’re ready to leave, take a bus over to Penang to continue the itinerary.
  • Phuket & Koh Samui:  Two of the most popular touristy destinations in Thailand, but I always recommend people to skip them.  They are overcrowded, expensive, and you can find much better places to spend your time.
  • Thailand National ParksKo Yao Nai National Park & Ko Tarutao are both absolutely gorgeous, and could easily be worked into this itinerary during your time on Koh Lipe, and Koh Phi Phi.

Travel Tips & Suggestions

  • Travel slow.  I give a recommended time in each place, but if you’re in not on a time crunch, then take it slow and enjoy your time in each place.  Otherwise, you might be spending a lot of time in transit.
  • Buy a Local Sim Card.  This always comes in handy in Malaysia & Thailand.  There are really cheap data plans.
  • Download my Free-Book.  “77 Amazing, Helpful, Money-Saving Tips for Backpacking South-East Asia” for all my best backpacking tips.
  • Stay in Hostels.  This is such an awesome backpacker route, and the best way to experience these destinations is to interact with other travelers!
  • Eat often!  The food in all three of these countries is absolutely amazing!  There are plenty of places for cheap eats, and all the meals are delicious.

Check out These Articles About This Region

Malaysia Travel Guide: Trip Highlights, Destinations, & Itineraries

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Thailand (Instagram Checklist)

Thanks for reading my Singapore to Bangkok Backpacking Trip Itinerary!

If you’re planning a trip to South-East Asia and have any questions, feel free to Contact Me with any questions you have!  I’ve spent a lot of time backpacking around the area, and love helping people plan their travels!  Also, make sure you sign-up for my Newsletter below to download my FREE E-Book below that is full of amazing tips and information.

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The 5 Best Places To Trip on Magic Mushrooms in South-East Asia

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You might be surprised to find out that Magic Mushrooms are pretty common in several destinations around South-East Asia.

This hallucinogenic party drug shouldn’t be taken lightly though — the powerful components in these mushrooms can send you off on a wild and crazy experience!  I’m a firm believer that if you take these in good company and in comfortable setting (and don’t take too much), you’ll have an amazing time.  I’ve always said that mushrooms basically just turn you into a retarded baby.  Everything is hilarious, you’ll feel euphoric, and things just look much more vibrant and colorful.  With that being said, drugs effect everyone differently.  If you’re unsure, than maybe it’s best you pass on this recreational drug activity.

I’m not here to educate people on the drug, or convince people to try them.  I just want to inform those people who are interested in some recreational hallucinogenic fun.

If you’re curious about the these drugs, take a read through this thorough Beginner’s Guide to Mushroom Tripping.

“The Mushroom Shake”

Before I had backpacked around South-East Asia, I had never heard of people consuming magic mushrooms in “shake” form.  This basically just means that they blend the mushrooms together with ice, various fruits, and sometimes Coca-Cola.  Each place you’ll buy them at has their own special recipe.

Fair warning — these typically don’t taste too great, but sometimes you’ll find a person who can make them actually enjoyable.

So Where Can You Trip on Magic Mushrooms in South-East Asia?


1) Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

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When it comes to magic mushrooms in Indonesia, there’s no better place to take a trip than on the island paradise of Gili Trawangan.  Grab a couple friends, head over to the sunset side of the island, and chug down a delicious Mushy Shake.  Okay…they’re not delicious — but the experience you’re about to embark will be something you never forget.  The sunsets on Gili Trawangan are some of the best in the entire world — add the hallucinogen affects, and you’ll be feeling magical.

As well, when the feeling starts to wear off — you’re in one of the best party destinations in South-East Asia .  You can continue the party at one of the many bars and clubs, meet fellow backpackers, and share your stories with others.

Where to buy mushrooms on Gili Trawangan? 

You can buy mushroom shakes at tons of different places on the island.  While you walk around the island, you’ll probably see a couple signs advertising the mushrooms.

Check out the bar opposite Rudy’s Pub, Sunset Bar, or simply ask a local bartender (they can point you in the right direction).

Cost:  150K – 200K ($13-17 USD)






 (2) Koh Phangan, Thailand

Most widely known for the location of the notorious all night beach rave, “The Full Moon Party” — Koh Phangan is definitely one of the best places to trip on magic mushrooms in South-East Asia.  There is literally a venue nicknamed Mushroom Mountain!

Head down to Haad Rin beach and walk all the way to the left.  You’ll see a staircase leading you up to this hippy paradise bar.  There’s tons of comfy seating overlooking the beach, chill music, and is decorated really funky.  Even if you don’t want to take any mushrooms, this is still an amazing spot to check out during your time on Koh Phangan.

This is often a highlight of people’s visits to this epic party island, and shouldn’t be missed!

Cost:  500 Baht ($15 USD)


3)  Vang Vieng, Laos

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This party capitol of Laos has gotten a somewhat bad reputation in recent years for being a hedonistic destination ruined by drunken debauchery.  Well, I completely disagree.  Yeah, Vang Vieng is definitely a top party destination, but it’s also one of the most relaxed and beautiful places in Laos.

Vang Vieng will definitely be a highlight of your time backpacking in Laos, and it’s also a pretty perfect spot for a little bit of hallucinogenic fun.  The vibe in this town is really relaxed (in certain spots), the shakes are strong, and you’ll be surrounded by like minded travelers looking for a good time.  Read about this guy’s experience taking mushrooms in Vang Vieng .

Where to buy mushrooms in Vang Vieng

Definitely check out the Jungle Party every Friday.  Some friends of mine bought a shake there and had a wicked trip

Cost: 100K -120K Lao Kip


4)  Pai, Thailand

This hippy backpacker paradise in Northern Thailand is one of the most relaxing places in South-East Asia.  The whole town is super chilled out and slowed down.  Your days can be spent exploring the countryside by moto, chilling by the pool, or bathing with elephants.  Every night you’ll wander through the night market, eat some delicious (and cheap) food, and have a few beers at the various nightlife hubs.  There are plenty of things to do in Pai  , and taking a little mushroom trip can easily be done.

ReadA Backpacker’s Guide to Pai

Where to buy mushrooms in Pai?

Simple — Sunset Bar Pai.  It’s an awesome bar with plenty of seating (including hammocks), colorful decorations, a pool table, and friendly staff.  An awesome place to sit back, relax, and expand your brain a bit.

Cost:  500 Baht ($15 USD)






5)  Gili Air, Indonesia

While most backpackers searching for a good party head over to Gili Trawangan — taking the quick 10-15 minute boat ride over to Gili Air in search of a fun mushroom trip will definitely leave you satisfied.  This honestly might be the better option between the two islands, because it has a much more relaxed vibe.

When it comes to the Gili Islands:

Gili  Trawangan = Party  //   Gili Meno = Honeymoon // Gili Air = Mix of both

The best way to enjoy a mushroom trip on Gili Air is to start out on the sunset side of the island.  Take them about 30 minutes before sunset.  There are tons of beachside restaurants and bars with plenty of comfortable seating, cheap drinks, and delicious Indonesian food.  I’d definitely recommend taking a stroll around the island, some stargazing, and maybe a night swim if you’re up for it!

Where to buy mushrooms on Gili Air?

The majority of bars on the sunset side of the island can arrange mushroom shakes.  If you are near Matahari Lodge…walk down the street (away from the beach) towards the other side of the island, and there’s a bar that play PsyTrance.  Get them there!

Cost: 150K – 200K ($13-17 USD)


Magic Mushrooms Tips & Advice

  1. Take mushrooms in a small / medium group of people that you know and trust.  You want to feel comfortable and safe around your fellow trippers.
  2. Stay away from crowded bars and clubs.  If there are tons of strangers and loud music, it might spark some negative vibes.
  3. Music is essential to a quality mushroom trip.  If you can, find a quiet area to hang out where you can play your own music — or chill out a relaxed place with tunes you like.
  4. Always watch the sunsetIt’s magical, and the best way to start your hallucinogenic journey.
  5. Stay hydrated.  Drink some water, but don’t be scared to knock back a beer or two.
  6. Don’t eat prior to taking mushrooms.  This will lessen the effect of them.  Definitely have some food in your stomach, but don’t have a big meal, and then consume your mushroom shake.  It will be a waste of money.
  7. Eat some dark chocolate to intensify the effects.  I don’t think this is scientifically proven, but it’s a common theory that “cacao is an excellent synergist… most known is combining with psilocybin mushrooms.”
  8. Stay calm.  If your new to recreational drug use, then the feelings of mushrooms might be very intimidating at first.  Relax, breathe, and enjoy the feeling.
  9. Start with 1/2 a shake if you’re nervous.  You should still feel some minor effects of the drug, and will help you feel more comfortable with taking another half.
  10. Only take Magic Mushrooms if you’re happy.  You shouldn’t take these if you’re feeling depressed or going through a hard time.

If your backpacking South-East Asia and find yourself in one of these popular destinations, then definitely think about embarking on magic mushroom trip.  It’s actually pretty common among backpackers, and be a really amazing and memorable experience.  You’ll laugh a lot, things will look cooler, and you’ll feel pretty happy.

SAFE TRAVELS AND ENJOY YOUR TRIP

“TO THE MOON AND BACK”

Disclaimer:  Drugs can affect everyone differently.  Proceed with cautin.  I’m not writing this article to convince people to take drugs, I’m simply informing people who are interested in the topic. 

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Magic Mushroom in South-East Asia!

MALAYSIA Travel Guide: Trip Highlights, Itineraries, & Tips

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Welcome to Malaysia! 

Malaysia is an amazing and diverse country that has something to offer everyone.  If you’re looking for amazing food, gorgeous islands, and beautiful landscapes — Malaysia is a destination you should highly consider for your next holiday.  I have traveled pretty extensively through Peninsular Malaysia, and it has grown to become one of my favorite countries in entire world!  I’ve compiled this Malaysia Travel Guide as a source for people planning trips to this amazing country.

This guide will go over trip highlights, how to get around Malaysia, Malaysia itineraries, and general travel advice!

Hope you enjoy reading my Malaysia Travel Guide and favorite photos from my travels!

Note:  This Malaysia Travel will focus entirely on Peninsular Malaysia.  I have never traveled to Sabah or Sarawak, and am not too well informed about those areas of the country. 

Trip Highlights

Kuala Lumpur

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You’ll most likely be starting your Malaysian holidays in the amazing capital city — Kuala Lumpur.  This is truly a special place with friendly people, beautiful sights, and delicious food (just like the rest of Malaysia).  During my travels in South-East Asia , I was lucky enough to call this city home for awhile.  The first time I visited Kuala Lumpur I actually didn’t enjoy the city too much, but after spending more time there I discovered how special the city really is.

For more information on Kuala Lumpur, check out the following blog posts I’ve written:

 

Penang

Penang is the cultural hotspot in Malaysia!  You’ll fall in love with it’s busy streets, beautiful artwork, and enchanting history.  Oh, and the food is absolutely amazing.  Most people come to Penang only planning a few day stay, but end up staying much longer than they expected.  You can spend a day on Batu Ferringi beach, hike through the National Park, and take the journey up to Penang Hill for spectacular views of the entire city.        

Best things to do in Penang:

  • Beach day and sunset on Batu Ferringi Beach
  • Spend some time hiking through the National Park
  • Take a visit to Penang Hill for spectacular views of the city
  • Stroll through Georgetown and check out all the artwork
  • Eat at Penang’s famous hawker stalls

 

Langkawi

Officially known as Langkawi the Jewel of Kedah, Langkawi is an archipelago of 104 islands in the Andaman Sea, around 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia.  It’s right at the border of Thailand, and is a popular place to visit for traveller’s going north/south between Malaysia and Thailand.  It is truly an amazing island with amazing things to do, cheap accommodations, tax-free booze, and beautiful landscape.

Check out some of my blog posts on Langkawi:

 

Cameron Highlands

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The Cameron Highlands is a stunning hill station in central peninsular Malaysia, and has become a popular destination for visitors in Malaysia. Roughly the size of Singapore, the Cameron Highlands covers a large stretch of land, and there’s tons to see, do, and explore.  You’ll fall in love with the beautiful green tea plantations, and will leave you speechless when you visit the highest peak in the Cameron Highlands

For more information on the Cameron Highlands, check out the guide below!

 

Taman Negara

Teman Negara National Park is the perfect place for travelers who love wild life viewing, jungle trekking, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, camping and many more. It is well established as one of the most popular ecotourism in Malaysia.  Popular activities include the canopy walk, jungle trekking, rapid shooting, cave exploration, and boat cruises.

Recommend days spent here:  1-2 days max

Check out the Teman Negara National Park website for more information

 

The Perhentian Islands

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Welcome to paradise.  The Perhentian Islands consist of both Perhentian Kecil & Perhentian Besar.  They are both absolutely stunning, and the minute you step foot on of the two islands you’ll never want to leave.   I’ve visited Perhentian Kecil on two different occasions now, and I definitely would not mind going back for a third.  The beaches are gorgeous, the atmosphere is relaxing, and the nightlife can get pretty crazy.

Perhentian Kecil is more for a younger crowd.  It’s much more lively at night and has an incredible fireshow.  Perhentian Besar has a lot more resorts, and is a bit more family oriented.

If you’re going to Malaysia — you’d be mistaken to skip the Perhentian Islands!

Check out my blog posts on this paradise island!

 

Pulau Kapas

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Pulau Kapas is an idyllic island escape for those looking for a bit more of a remote location.  You won’t find any big crazy resorts, fast wi-fi connection, or luxury restaurants.  What you will be rewarded with is amazingly beautiful water, suburb underwater life, and an extremely laidback atmosphere.  Pulau Kapas is truly a Malaysian gem, and I guarantee if you go for a couple days you won’t regret it!

For more information about traveling to Pulau Kapas:

 

Tioman Island

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If you’ve looking for some more island action, than definitely make your way over to Tioman Island.  It isn’t as gorgeous as the Perhentians or Kapas, but it has some of the best scuba-diving sites in the whole country.  The island is pretty massive, and is a 2-hour ferry ride from the mainland.  It is a DUTY-FREE island, which makes drinking on this island pretty cheap!  It’s a popular destination for weekend trips from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, so book in advance if you plan on being there on a Saturday & Sunday.  If you do plan on going, I’d definitely recommend staying on ABC Beach.

When I was there, I happened to catch really bad weather, and had some transportation issues.  I still had a great trip.  Read about it below:

 

Melaka

Melaka is just a short bus ride away from Kuala Lumpur, and can be a great place to spend one night.  It’s small enough to walk around, explore, and try some delicious food.  There’s not a whole lot to see here, but it’s definitely worth the visit.

To plan your visit, check out this post titled:

 

 

Getting Around Malaysia

The Malaysian transportation is some of the best I’ve found in all of South-East Asia.  Prices are relatively low, there’s tons of options, and they are all relatively comfortable.

Flights / Airfare

Malaysia is actually a really easy country to book extremely cheap domestic flights.

If you know your exact dates, you can actually get great flight deals.  Malindo Air is really great and includes 1 20kh checked bag.  These are particularly useful for flights to/from Kuala Lumpur.

Perhentian Islands

Perhentian Islands

 

Busses

Traveling around Malaysia on the bus transport is actually really easy, budget friendly, and comfortable.  There are loads of different companies that offer a ton of different routes.  None of the journeys take that long, and the busses can actually be really nice.  For bus schedules, routes, and fares, check out the website below.  I’ve booked online tickets with them, and made the process extremely easy.  You can just show the email confirmation at the bus station, and receive your ticket.

Pulau Kapas

Pulau Kapas

 

Hitchhiking in Malaysia

Just like in any destination, you should be careful when hitching a ride alone.  With that being said, Hitchhiking in Malaysia can be done, and it’s actually not too difficult.  I met these Spanish girls on Pulau Kapas who found a ride all the way from Teman Negara – Kuala Terranganu.  It’s not that it saves a ton of money, but it’s a great way to meet some local people, and have a unique travel experience.  For more information on Hitchhiking in Malaysia check the website below:

Kuala Lumpur

Jalan Alor in Kuala Lumpur

 

Trains

I’ve actually never taken a train in Malaysia, but I have heard that the system works out.  I almost boarded a train from Penang – Kuala Lumpur, but ended up extending my stay in Penang, and finding a flight that was cheaper than the train!  I honestly think that dealing with trains on other routes would just get complicated, so I’d just personally recommend Flights and Busses over taking trains in Malaysia.

Sunset on Tioman Island

Sunset on Tioman Island

Renting A Car

I’ve never rented a car and explored Malaysia on my own (mainly because I’m a solo budget traveler), but I have had some friends rent a van and go on weekend trips from Kuala Lumpur.  It’s definitely not the best option for everyone,

Jeep Excursions in the Cameron Highlands

Jeep Excursions in the Cameron Highlands

 

Malaysia Trip Itineraries

If you look at each of these locations on a map, you can see that it actually fits pretty well

One Week Malaysia Itinerary

If you are only in Malaysia for a brief visit, than you want to enjoy your holiday.  My advice would be to enjoy 2-3 days in Kuala Lumpur, and fly to either Penang for 3-4 days.  You don’t want to rush around each destination, because you will want enough time to enjoy each place and do all the activities.

 

Two Week Malaysia Itinerary

Days 1-3 — Kuala Lumpur

Take a morning bus to Teman Negara

Days 4-5 — Teman Negara

Book the early bus ticket to the Cameron Highlands

Days 6-7 —  Exploring the Cameron Highlands

Book the early departure bus to Penang

Days 8-10 — Penang

Catch the two hour ferry to Langkawi

Days 11-13 — Langkawi

Catch a domestic flight from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur

Day 14 // End of Trip — Kuala Lumpur for your outgoing flight..

Island Hopping Boats in Langkawi

 

Three Week Malaysia Itinerary

Days 1-3 — Kuala Lumpur

Take a morning bus to Teman Negara

Days 4-5 — Teman Negara

Book the early bus ticket to the Cameron Highlands

Days 6-7 —  Exploring the Cameron Highlands

Book transportation to Marang Jetty for access to Pulau Kapas (Close to Kuala Terranganu)

Days 8-10 — Pulau Kapas & Gem Island

Book early morning boat back to mainland, and get to main bus station.  Book transport to Perhentian Islands

Days 11-15 — The Perhentians Islands

Book Domestic Flight from Kuala Terrananu Airport – Penang.  Cheap fares available if booked in advanced. 

Days 16-17 – Penang

Catch the two hour ferry to Langkawi

Days 18-20 — Langkawi

Catch a domestic flight from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur

Day 21 // End of Trip — Kuala Lumpur for your outgoing flight..

Water & Lights show at KLCC

Water & Lights show at KLCC

 

One Month in Malaysia Itinerary

If you have a full month in Malaysia, I honestly would just recommend to follow the 3-week itinerary, but travel slower.  This will also allow flexibility with the domestic flights, and also spending less time on travel.  I would also recommend staying in Kuala Lumpur for an extra couple days, and doing a one-day trip to Melaka.  If you want to see it all, you can switch up this itinerary to add Pulau Tioman, but I would honestly skip it.  I found it to be really touristy, difficult to get to, and there are much better islands and beaches in Malaysia.

If you have even more time in Malaysia, look out for cheap domestic flights over to Borneo.  You could scuba-dive off the coasts of the world famous Sipadan island, or hike the highest peak in Malaysia — Mt. Kinabalu!

 

 

General Malaysia Travel Advice

Eat as much as you possibly can!  The food in Malaysia is absolutely incredible.  When you get to Kuala Lumpur, check out a Nasi Kandar and try the various curries, Roti Canai, and Nasi Lemak!

Interact with the locals!  Malaysian people are extremely friendly, and generally speak really great English!  They are very open and welcome to tourism, and can be a great experience.

Understand you are in a Muslim country!  Be respectful with your clothing!

Get a local SIM card!  Malaysia has a wide variety of phone plans, and it will come in handy to have 3G / 4G internet when your traveling.  I’d recommend Tune Talk.  There are great prices and deals, and it’s good coverage.

Download my Free E-Book — 77 Amazing, Helpful, Money-Saving Tips for Backpacking South-East Asia.  This goes over a ton of valuable information for Malaysia!

10 Amazing Thingsto Do (5)

 

If you haven’t figured it out by reading this post, I have traveled pretty extensively throughout Malaysia.   I think it’s an amazing country, and am always thinking about going soon and exploring different parts.  I’m actually dying to get over to Borneo, but I’m sure that time will come eventually.

If you’re ever planning a trip to Malaysia, feel free to Contact Me with any questions!

Thanks for reading!

Share the Malaysian Love!

 

One Month

The Ultimate Guide to Pulau Kapas, Malaysia

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Pulau Kapas is one of the most beautiful and relaxing places you will ever visit.  It’s truly an island paradise that has a strange power to keep you there longer than you planned on staying.  It’s not a rich and glamorous place with tons of 5 Star Resorts or expensive restaurants.  It’s a very minimalistic island, which is what makes it so special.  There’s not tons of electricity, or decent internet connection — meaning it’s the perfect holiday escape.  The beach is amazing, the water is perfect, and you’ll be left speechless when you first arrive.

I’m hoping that this Travel Guide for Pulau Kapas will answer all your questions and get you stoked for your time on this idyllic island!

I’ve even gone as far as claiming it’s the most beautiful island in Malaysia!

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So Where Is Pulau Kapas?

Kapas is located just a few kilometers off the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia in the Terengganu province.

Know Before You Go

  • Pulau Kapas shuts down during the monsoon season between November and February.
  • Bring CASH.   There are no ATM’s on the island.
  • The Best Time to Visit Pulau Kapas is from April – August!
  • There are a lot of mosquitos on Kapas island!  Bring insect repellant!
  • Bring a flashlight at night to walk around the island!

How to get to Pulau Kapas

The boat ride is only a short twenty minute journey, and leaves several times per day from the Marang Jetty.  The closest city is Kuala Terranganu.

  • Marang Jetty.  Take the public bus from Kuala Terrenganu to Marang.  It’s a short bus trip, just make sure you ask the bus driver to drop you off at Marang!
  • Earliest boat at 9:00 A.M  — Last boat at 6:00 P.M.
  • Round-trip boat tickets.  Make sure you book round-trip tickets.  These should cost about 30-40 MYR depending on the time of the year.

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Flying to Pulau Kapas

There is no airport on Kapas island, but you can always book a flight on one of the many budget airlines in Malaysia to Kuala Terrenganu Airport.  Ideal for those looking for a weekend trip from Kuala Lumpur, Penang, or Singapore.

Bus to Pulau Kapas

The transportation in Malaysia works really well, and the busses are actually pretty nice!  You can easily check timetables to Kuala Terrenganu

For booking busses in Malaysia — check out the helpful website EasyBook I’ve searched and booked many bus tickets through Malaysia with them, and would recommend them to other traveling throughout the country.

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Where to Stay on Pulau Kapas

Pulau Kapas is a very small island, and there are only about 11 or 12 different places to choose from.  These are a couple that I’ve stayed at or have heard great things about.

LongSha Campsite Beach Camping

This is for the ultimate budget travelers, backpackers, and camping  fanatics.  It’s an awesome place to stay.  I stayed there for 5 night during my time on Pulau Kapas, and I highly recommend it.  It’s more than a campsite, it’s a community of like-minded people.  You’ll definitely have a blast if you choose to stay here.  Read my review of the Longsha Campsite on Pulau Kapas!

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Kapas Island Resort

This place is definitely your best choice if you’re not trying to go camping.  With rooms costing as low as $35 U.S.D, it’s clean, comfortable, and well located right by the ferry.  It’s also one of the only places on the island that has a swimming pool.

The Kapas Island Resort is also the only place you can really book online before you arrive on Pulau Kapas.  So if you’re looking for some guaranteed accommodation, this is your best bet.

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Captain’s Longhouse

For the people who aren’t fans of beach camping, wander over next door to Captain’s Longhouse.  It isone of the only other budget places to stay on Pulau Kapas.  I stayed here for one night, and had an enjoyable time.  They have double private rooms, and also a large dorm room as well.  The listed price is 40 MYR for a dorm bed, but you can easily talk them down to 30 MYR.  This definitely

Kapas Beach Chalet

By far one of the best places to spend your time on Pulau Kapas!  Kapas Beach Chalet, more commonly referred to as KBC, is where I spent the majority of my days on the island.  The restaurant meals are delicious, there’s tons of books to browse through, and the staff are all really friendly.  The owner of KBC is a Dutch man who moved to Pulau Kapas and fell in love with it.  It’s a really relaxed vibe here, and I highly recommend eating and spending some time here.

Kapas Turtle Valley Resort:  If you’re not on a strict budget, than this is the perfect place for you.  Located at the very end of Kapas, with it’s own private and secluded beach, Kapas Turtle Valley is an amazing place to spend your holiday.  The owners are really friendly, and the snorkeling right outside the property is fantastic.  Double rooms are still somewhat budget friendly for 190 MYR including breakfast.  There is also family rooms that fits up to four people.  Wi-Fi is also available here!


Best Places to Eat on Pulau Kapas:

Jetty Café

This is the first place you’ll see when you get on to Pulau Kapas if you get dropped off on the Jetty.  The family who owns this place is extremely nice, and the food is incredible!  At the end of my stay, I feel like I had tried the majority of the meals, and they all had me coming back for more.  They even make chicken nuggets, which are pretty great, and only cost 6 MYR.  It’s also one of the only places to find internet on Pulau Kapas.  It’s not really fast, and sometimes does not work too well, but if you need to send a few emails — head here.

Kapas Beach Chalet

As mentioned above, definitely cruise over to KBC for a few meals.  If you’re there on a Friday night, they do amazing BBQ’s!  It’s a little expensive at 45-50 MYR, but it’s absolutely delicious.

Cook Your Own Meal

This is meant specifically for those who are camping at Longsha Campsite!  They have an awesome kitchen, and it can be fun to get a group of people together and cook a communal meal.  All you need to do is to remember to go to the grocery store before you get on the speedboat to the island!

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Best Activities & Things To Do on Pulau Kapas:

Snorkeling / Scuba Diving

One of the main reasons you should be visiting Pulau Kapas is to be exploring it’s underwater biodiversity.  I only went snorkeling, but it was a daily activity!  I always saw beautiful fish (tons of nemo), turtles, coral, and even a couple sharks!  All you need is a mask, and you can swim out just a minute off the shore, and experience some amazing stuff!  Scuba-diving around Pulau Kapas is supposed to be amazing as well.  For scuba-diving on Kapas island, you’ll want to contact Aquasport Divers.

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End-to-End Beach Walk

All the places to stay, eat, and drink on Pulau Kapas are on the same side.  You can easily walk from one end, all the way down to the other end in about 30-40 minutes depending on how fast you are going.  It’s an amazing way to see all the main beaches, and soak up the truly relaxing nature of the island.  The best part about doing this — the beautiful golden staircases that you will follow.  They just remind me of a stairway to heaven.  Such a beautiful sight!

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Day trip to Gem Island

There are a few places on the island where you can book transportation to Gem Island.  Just go to the guys at the Longsha Campsite , and they’ll be able to organize a boat trip for you.  Gem Island is a small island just off the coast of Kapas.  There are two really nice beaches that are perfecting for swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing.  This is also home to one of the “Shark Bays”, where you have a chance of swimming with sharks.  (Don’t worry, they won’t bit).  I saw two sharks during my time out there, and they were incredible!  There is also one really beautiful resort on the island.  It’s definitely a little pricey, but would be an awesome place to spend a holiday.  Check out the Gem Island Resort & Spa .

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Hammock & Read

Pulau Kapas is one of the best places in the world to just sit back, relax, and enjoy your time in paradise.  A lot of places around the island have hammocks, book swaps, and beautiful soft sand.  In between meals, snorkeling, and swims — just take a nap in the hammock, or catch up on your reading.

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Jungle Walks

There are two different jungle walks you can do to the other side of the island.  I was actually do lazy to do these during my time on the island (and because I didn’t have any shoes), but I heard they were both pretty quick and enjoyable.

Beach Volleyball

There are a few different volleyball nets on Pulau Kapas.  Get some people together, and get a game going!

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Budget Tips

Beach Camping is definitely my best travel advice for visiting Pulau Kapas.  It’s cheap, fun, and you’ll meet some amazing people.

Bringing your own food from the mainland can save you some money on food costs.  The restaurants on the island aren’t TOO expensive, but if you were to go grocery shopping you could save some money for sure.

Bring your own booze because there aren’t many places that sell beer on the island.  The few places that do will charge you around 10 MYR for one can of beer.   

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Conclusion

A weekend or extended trip to Pulau Kapas will be a trip that you’ll never forget.  The beaches are amazingly beautiful, the underwater life is incredible, and you’ll get stuck in the relaxing island vibe.

It might not be the most popular destination in Malaysia to visit compared to the metropolitan Kuala Lumpur, stunning Cameron Highlands, or popular Perhentian Islands — but that is exactly why Pulau Kapas is so special.

 

Thanks for reading!  Share with your backpacker friends!

 

Top 10 Electronic Dance Music Festivals (EDM): Southeast Asia

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South-East Asia = Party Paradise

Electronic Dance Music (E.D.M) is all over South-East Asia.  Whether you’re partying on Khao San Road in Bangkok, or walking through a night market in Malaysia — you will definitely hear quite a bit of EDM during your travels in this area of the world.  Music Festivals and Raves in Asia might not be as abundant as they are in Europe or America , but over the past few years more and more festivals and events are popping up in different countries.  I’ve scowered the internet, and I’ve compailed this list which I blieve to be the Top 10 Electronic Dance Music Festivals in South-East Asia.

1 )  Shipsomnia

  • When:  Beginning of January
  • Where:  Singapore – Phuket – Langkawi – Singapore
  • Website:  http://www.shipsomnia.com/
  • Why:   A MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL MEETS HI SEAS MYTHICAL ADVENTURE.  Unofficially nicknamed, “Tomorrowland At Sea”, Shipsomnia has gotten a lot of positive media attention.  With the growth of music festivals at sea, like Holy Ship or It’s The Ship (#6), Shipsomnia looks like it could be the next big thing.  Sailing from Singapore – Phuket round-trip, with a quick stop in Langkawi, this looks like a party that can’t be missed.  This all-inclusive music festival is guaranteed to be one epic vacation.

2 ) Road to Ultra – Singapore, Bangkok, Bali, & Manila

  • When:  Various Dates
  • Where:  Singapore, Bangkok, Bali, and Manila
  • Website:  http://www.ultramusicfestival.com/
  • Why:  Ultra Music Festival seems like they have one goal in mind — global domination.  From Miami, Croatia, Korea, Japan, South Africa — it now looks like they have turned their eyes to South-East Asia, and have added several festival locations throughout the region.  If you find yourself on a backpacking trip through South-East Asia, plan your trip wisely and hit up a Road to Ultra event!

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3 )  Neverland Manila

  • When: Early October
  • Where:  Manila, Philippines
  • Website:  http://neverlandmanila.com/
  • Why:  Known as the “biggest EDM event in The Philippines”, this festival brings a massive line-up full of commercial house music.  If you’re looking for a solid party, this one will not disappoint.  Upcoming festival dates haven’t been posted yet, but be on the look out because this will be one crazy rave.       

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4 )  ZoukOut Music Festival

  • When:  Mid-December
  • Where:  Singapore
  • Website:  http://www.zoukout.com/
  • Why:  The people behind one of the biggest and well-known clubs in Asia, “Zouk”, have created it’s own music festival, and it’s been one of the more popular festivals out in South-East Asia.  Located in Singapore, you’ll find the tickets, drinks, and accomodations a bit more expensive, but you can’t complain when they bring A-list talent, incredible stage production, and an overall amazing atmosphere.

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5 )  DJakarta Warehouse Project

  • When:  Mid December
  • Where:  Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Website:  http://www.djakartawarehouse.com/
  • Why:  If you take a look at the current and past line-ups, that will be reason enough to visit this massive party.  Jakarta might not be everyone’s favorite place to visit in Indonesia, but with this line-up stacked with heavy hitters, you’re definitely in for a wild night.   

6 )  808 Festival

  • When:  Mid December
  • Where:  Bangkok, Thailand
  • Website:  http://www.djakartawarehouse.com/
  • Why:  If you take a look at the current and past line-ups, that will br reason enough to visit this massive party.  Jakarta might not be everyone’s favorite place to visit in Indonesia, but with this line-up stacked with heavy hitters, you’re definitely in for a wild night.   

7.  It’s The Ship

  • When:  Late November
  • Where:  Singapore – Langkawi – Singapore
  • Website:  http://www.itstheship.com
  • Why: IT’S THE SHIP is Asia’s Largest Festival on a cruise. Setting sail on the The Royal Caribbean International’s luxurious Mariner of the Seas– will play host to over 30 international and regional headlining acts.  Sailing out of Singapore to Langkawi, Malaysia, this is guaranteed to be a voyage unlike any other.

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8.  S20 — Songkran Music Festival

  • When:  April 12 – 14, 2016
  • Where:  Bangkok, Thailand
  • Website:    http://www.s2ofestival.com/
  • Why:  Songkran is 3-day celebration of the Thai New Year, and it was one of the most epic experiences of my travels in South-East Asia.  I would personally recommend people to experience the madness up in Chiang Mai, but if you find yourself in Bangkok — checking out this S20 Festival is an absolute must.

9.  Mysterious World

  • When:  Mid April
  • Where:  Kuching, Malaysia
  • Website:  www.facebook.com/MysteriousFest
  • Why:  For Electronic Dance Music fans, there is no better time to fly over to the Malaysian side of Borneo than to experience Mysterious World.  The line-up is never “stacked”, but it would definitely be an experience you’ll never forget.  Kuching is absolutely beautiful, Malaysians are really fun to party with, and tickets are really affordable.

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10.  The Experience

  • When:  New Years Eve ( 4 Day Festival )
  • Where:  Koh Tao, Thailand
  • Website:  www.facebook.com/MysteriousFest
  • Why:  If you’re a die hard PsyTrance fan, then The Experience on Koh Tao, Thailand will be your definition of paradise.  Over these four days there is practically non-stop psy trance bumping the entire time.  While a lot of people flock over to Koh Phangan for New Years Eve, do yourself a favor and check out The Experience!  The fast BPM, the neon colors, and the atmosphere are a recipe for a damn good time.                

My Top 25 Experiences in South-East Asia

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I’ve spent over a year living, working, studying, and traveling around South-East Asia.  I have fallen in love with this corner of the world.  The cheap prices, amazing sights, and great friends — it’s hard for me to leave.  I wanted to reflect on how awesome my travels have been, so I put together this list of my top 25 favorite South-East Asia experiences.  Beware — after reading this you might just book a one-way ticket to Bangkok to begin your own epic adventure.

1.  Exploring Bali by Moto

Bali is one of the best places to rent a scooter, hit the road, and explore the island.  I had ridden motos around different parts of South-East Asia, but I really think that driving in Bali is when I really “perfected” it.  Driving through rush-hour traffic in Bali my first time was intense, but now I feel like I can drive anywhere.  From resort crashing in Nusa Dua, watching the surfers in Uluwatu, or driving to Tanah Lot to check out the sunet…Bali is defiintely one of my favorite places for moto adventures.

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2.  Island Hopping in Palawan

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Palawan is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  It’s definitely in my top three places in South-East Asia, and island hopping around Coron and El Nido was truly amazing.  I met great groups of people, swam in pristine waters, and was surrounded by beautiful limestone cliffs.  For people looking for natural beauty, you can’t beat Palawan.

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3.  Songkran Water Festival

Hands down one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.  Songkran was 3 days wandering the streets of Chiang Mai armed with a super soaker and a bottle of Hong Thong.  I met a ton of great people, shotgunned plenty of beers, and celebrated the Thai New Year the way it should be done.  Why don’t more countries have a nationwide water fight?  That’s a question that deserves an answer.  If you haven’t seen my video, check it out!  Watch in HD.  

4.  Guest Ex-Pat in Kuala Lumpur

I’ve been using Kuala Lumpur as my “home-base” for all my travels out in South-East Asia.  I got some great friends out here, a fancy luxury apartment, and one bad-ass rooftop infinity pool that overlooks the city’s impressive skyline.  Every time I come back to KL I get a nice mix of detox and relaxation, to crazy parties and poker nights.  I didn’t like this city too much the first time I visited, but now it’s one of my favorite places in South-East Asia.  I even applied for a few jobs to turn myself into a full-time expat, but I ended up going a different route.

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5.  Paradise Living on Gili Trawangan

Living and working on Gili Trawangan was definitely one of the best decisions I made during my time in South-East Asia.  I know I’ll be moving back there for another round soon enough.  Don’t know exactly when that time will come, but I’m definitely looking forward to getting back to my favorite island in South-East Asia.  The perfect beaches, the gorgeous sunsets, and amazing backpacker vibe — one visit to Gili Trawangan will not be enough.

6.  Snorkeling Around Flores

Hands down the best snorkeling of my entire life, I had the greatest time exploring different snorkeling spots around Komodo and Flores.  It actually made me kind of sad I don’t scuba dive, because I think it made me realize how spectacular exploring the underwater life can be.  I thought about getting my PADI, but I have a hearing condition I don’t want to hurt my ears anymore

7.  Halong Bay Castaway Cruise

Ohhhh, this trip.  This crazy 3 day catastrophe was a whole mess of fun.  The entire trip is basically a 3-day long booze cruise.  One night got a little too crazy for me, which happens from time to time…But I met the coolest people on this trip, sailed and kayaked through Halong Bay, and had a blast.  I have to give a shoutout to the entire Halong Bay crew.  You guys are the greatest.  #NoDoubt

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8.  Maya Bay Sleepaboard

Most people who visit Koh Phi Phi make the trip over to Maya Bay, the famous film location of Leonardo DiCaprio’s hit movie “Th Beach”.  While there are often complaints that this tourist spot is too crowded, I was lucky enough to actually get to sleep on the beach.  I went on the Maya Bay Sleepabroad trip, and could not recommend it enough.  I even recommend it as the absolute best thing to do on Koh Phi Phi.

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9.  Wonderfruit Music Festival

There might not be many music festivals in South-East Asia, but Wonderfruit was definitely one of the best weekends I’ve had in Thailand.  The venue was beautiful, I met some awesome people, and the music was bumping 24/7.  I don’t know where I’ll be in December, but I’m definitely trying to go again this year.  Read my review of Wonderfruit.

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10.  Koh Phangan Raving

Love it or hate it, Koh Phangan is one of the best places to party in South-East Asia.  While most people flock to this hedonistic island for the “Full Moon Party”, there are other parties on the island which are actually much better.  I’m a big fan of music festivals and good techno music, but the music scene isn’t that great out in South-East Asia.  Koh Phangan is one of the few places out here where you can really some amazing DJ’s play some of the best underground house and techno.

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11.  Komodo Island Trip

This 4 day adventures sailing from Lombok to Flores was a highlight of my travels in Indonesia.  Our boat was full of great people, and the entire trip I was surrounded by beautiful Indonesian islands.  Great snorkeling, beautiful beaches, and big ass dragons.  I think this area was also one of the most beautiful regions of South-East Asia.  If anyone is planning a trip out to Indonesia, I would definitely recommend them going on one of these Komodo tours.

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12.  Waterfalls, Beaches, Sunsets, and Parties in Langkawi

Ive now visited Langkawi three seperate times, and I’m not mad about that at all.  The waterfalls in Langkawi are beautiful and provide perfect spots for a swim.  The beaches are clean with great soft white sand, and the sunsets on Pantai Cenang are absolutely stunning.  Backpacking Langkawi should be a priority for people in South-East Asia.

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13.  Hiking Mt. Rinjani

One of the hardest hikes I’ve ever done, Rinjani is not for the weak hearted.  When you think you’re getting closer to the top, you’re not.  You just keep climbing up and up, until your legs can’t move anymore.  The sunset and sunrises up there though make the whole trip worth it.  I have no plans to do this hike ever again, but I’m really glad I did.  I even got a picture of mine featured on Buzzfeed!

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14.  Christmas on Koh Tao

Although it was hard to spend Christmas away from California, spending the holiday season on Koh Tao was a great experience.  It was awesome being surrounded by fellow backpackers all wearing santa hats and red singlets, and enjoying Chang beers while watching beautiful Koh Tao sunsets.

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15.  Falling in Love with Laos

I had been living and traveling in Asia for awhile before I finally made the decision to visit Laos, and I absolutely fell in love with that amazing country.  It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, but Don Det was one of the best last minute decisions I’ve ever made.  As well, partying in Vang Vieng for a week was absolutely insane.  I also met two awesome English girls that I traveled with the entire time.  The whole 2 weeks I had in Laos was filled with nothing but good times.

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16.  Moto Journey from Chiang Mai – Pai

This ride was absolutely beautiful, and definitely the most fun and adventurous way to get to Pai.  It’s only a 3-4 drive from Chiang Mai, and a relatively easy ride.  It does get really curvy for awhile, but it’s all apart of the experience.  Then on top of that, Pai was one of my favorite places I’ve traveled to in Thailand.  Backpackers in Pai can often get stuck there because of the extremely relaxed vibe.  The food is delicious, there’s some decent nightlife, and there is no shortage of amazing things to do in Pai.

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17.  Resort Crashing

One of my favorite things to do in South-East Asia is sneaking into fancy 5 start resorts, and using their amenities.  I’ve done this in Langkawi, Bali, and Thailand.  It might not be the most ethical activity in the world, but it’s a lot of fun.  I just love paying $5-$10 a night for a hostel bed, and swimming in luxury pools.

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18.  Future Music Festival Asia

This was the first music festival in South-East Asia I attended, and I had an absolute blast.  It was unfortunate though, because the last day was cancelled due to deaths.  The first two days were solid though!  I was with a great group of people, and I was pretty impressed with the actual festival.  The first night Deadmau5 played a decent set, and the next night at ASOT was nothing but quality trance music.

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19.  Island Hopping & Snorkeling on Koh Chang

I hadn’t really heard too much about Koh Chang, but I’m really glad I went there.  The island hopping tour we went on was really cool, and we turned it into our own little booze cruise.  I think we finished 3 large bottles of Hong Thong between four people.  Yeah, it got sloppy.  The Chinese tourists didn’t know what to do with us.

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 20. Waterfalls & Whale Sharks in Cebu

Spending one month in the Philippines was one of the best experiences of my entire life.  Swimming with whale sharks in Oslob was incredible, and I had no idea about how beautiful the waterfalls were on Cebu island.  My 30 days in the Philippines wasn’t enough, but I know that the next time I find myself in South-East Asia, I’ll be back for another amazing backpacking trip.

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21.  Submitting My Final Paper For My Master’s Degree in El Nido

I’ll never forget the feeling of finishing my master’s degree, and celebrating on a private island party in Palawan.  I met a great group of people in El Nido, and it was a great way to finish my Master’s Degree.

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22.  Koh Rong

“Nothing can go wrong on Koh Rong.”  I might have only spent 5 days there, but it was definitely five of the chillest days I’ve ever had.  Nothing to do all day besides relax, swim, and enjoy paradise.  Long beach is absolutely stunning, and I witnessed one of the most incredible sunsets of my life.  I was lucky enough to be there during the Full Moon Party as well, and had a solid night partying until the sun came up.

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23.  Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

Not technically South-East Asia, but when you find a $42 flight to Hong Kong for Chinese New Year…you take it.  Hong Kong is an amazing city, and experiencing it during this incredible celebration was worth every penny.  It was ridiculously expensive, but I definitely had a blast.  It was also really great to check out Hong Kong Disneyland (since I grew up in Anaheim), as well as go on the Hong Kong Pub Crawl.  Oh, and those fireworks!  Incredible to witness in person.

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24.  Perhentian Island Paradise

I was a backpacker on the Perhentian Islands during my first trip to South-East Asia, and wasn’t too impressed.  Luckily, I made the last-minute decision to head back for a second time, and could not be happier that I did.  I met a solid group  of people, and realized how beautiful these two islands are.

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25.  Friends Visiting from California

Being a long-term traveler has been incredible, but there have been times where I’ve been extremely homesick.  When two different friends of mine contacted me to plan a trip out to South-East Asia, I got really excited to show them around some of my favorite places.  Shoutout to Rashad and Gina!  We had some epic times out here, and I can’t wait to for our next adventures — wherever in the world they may be.

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THANK YOU SOUTH-EAST ASIA

If you’re thinking about booking one-way ticket to South-East Asia…do it.  As you can see from these 25 experiences, I’ve had the absolute best time traveling this region of the world.  I don’t know when I’m going back, but I’m definitely looking forward to adding to this list soon.

Sometimes it’s not about the journey or the destination..but about the people you meet along the way.” — Nishan Panwar

Shoutout to everyone I’ve met during my travels out here.  Whether we traveled together for weeks or months, or we only had a brief encounter– you all were apart of what made my time in South-East Asia so incredible!

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Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok Overland: Backpacking Trip Itinerary

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Introduction

One of the most common routes for backpacking in South-East Asia is traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok overland.  It’s an absolute amazing trip with tons of incredible places to see along the way!  From starting out this trip in an amazing metropolitan city like Kuala Lumpur, and then breaking away to some gorgeous islands — this is definitely going to be a trip you’ll never forget.  This Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok overland travel guide will go over my proposed route, travel tips, helpful websites, and some of my favorite blog posts I’ve written along my travels.

Brief Overview & Itinerary Route

  1. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 
  2. Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
  3. Penang, Malaysia
  4. Langkawi, Malaysia
  5. Koh Lipe, Thailand
  6. Koh Lanta, Thailand
  7. Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
  8. Ao Nang / Railey Beach, Thailand
  9. Koh Phangan, Thailand
  10. Koh Tao, Thailand
  11. Bangkok, Thailand

 Kuala Lumpur (3-4 Days)

Welcome to Kuala Lumpur.  This is truly a special place with friendly people, beautiful sights, and delicious food (just like the rest of Malaysia).  During my travels in South-East Asia , I was lucky enough to call this city home for awhile.  The first time I visited Kuala Lumpur I actually didn’t enjoy the city too much, but after spending more time there I discovered how special the city really is.

For more information on Kuala Lumpur, check out the following blog posts I’ve written:

This is one of my favorite cities in South-East Asia, and definitely worth the visit for a few days.  If you’re on a time crunch, you won’t want to spend too much time here.  Just make sure you cover all the city highlights.

Train & Bus Bookings:  Easybook

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Bus to Cameron Highlands (2-3 days)

The Cameron Highlands is a stunning hill station in central peninsular Malaysia, and has become a popular destination for visitors in Malaysia. Roughly the size of Singapore, the Cameron Highlands covers a large stretch of land, and there’s tons to see, do, and explore.  You’ll fall in love with the beautiful green tea plantations, and will leave you speechless when you visit the highest peak in the Cameron Highlands

For more information on the Cameron Highlands, check out the guide below!

A Backpacker’s Guide to the Cameron Highlands

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Bus to Penang (2-3 Days)

Penang is the cultural hotspot in Malaysia!  You’ll fall in love with it’s busy streets, beautiful artwork, and enchanting history.  Oh, and the food is absolutely amazing.  Most people come to Penang only planning a few day stay, but end up staying much longer than they expected.  You can spend a day on Batu Ferringi beach, hike through the National Park, and take the journey up to Penang Hill for spectacular views of the entire city.        

Best things to do in Penang:

  • Beach day and sunset on Batu Ferringi Beach
  • Spend some time hiking through the National Park
  • Take a visit to Penang Hill for spectacular views of the city
  • Stroll through Georgetown and check out all the artwork
  • Eat at Penang’s famous hawker stalls
View from Penang Hill

View from Penang Hill

 

Ferry from Penang – Langkawi (4-5 Days) 

Officially known as Langkawi the Jewel of Kedah, Langkawi is an archipelago of 104 islands in the Andaman Sea, around 30 km off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia.  It’s right at the border of Thailand, and is a popular place to visit for traveller’s going north/south between Malaysia and Thailand.  It is truly an amazing island with amazing things to do, cheap accommodations, tax-free booze, and beautiful landscape.

Check out some of my blog posts on Langkawi:

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Ferry from Langkawi – Koh Lipe, Thailand  *Seasonal (4-5 Days)

After spending some time on Langkawi, you’re ready to journey further north into Thailand.  You’ll start your Thailand Island Hopping adventures in Koh Lipe, which is known as the “Maldives of Thailand”.  Pristine beaches, incredible food, and amazing sunrises & sunsets.

Ferry from Langkawi – Koh Lipe only available from November – May throughout the year.  If you’re traveling during the low season, you’ll have to take the ferry to Satun, Thailand — and catch the bus + ferry combo ticket from mainland Thailand.  Traveling during this time can be a bit expensive, it just depends on your budget and time restrictions.  It might be best to skip this island if you can’t take the direct ferry. 

Check out this amazing post from my friends at Getting Stamped titled, “The Ultimate Guide to Koh Lipe, Thailand.”  This is one of the most informative guides I’ve ever seen, and will answer all your questions about traveling to this beautiful island.

Sunrise on Koh Lipe. Photo credit

Sunrise on Koh Lipe. Photo credit:  Bambo Corr

 

Ferry from Koh Lipe – Koh Lanta (4-5 Days) 

Also depends on time of the year.  You might have to catch ferry + bus combo ticket up to the Krabi Province. 

After you’ve explored Koh Lipe to your liking, catch a ferry up to your next Thai Island, Koh Lanta.

Check out this awesome travel guide from the crew over at Never Ending Voyage titled, “Finding the Perfect Balance: Our Guide to Koh Lanta“.  This post will go over all the information you need for your time in Koh Lanta.

You’ll fall in love with this incredibly relaxing island.  There’s incredible beaches, a beautiful national park, and loads of other stuff to explore.  My main recommendation would be to hire a moped, and explore the entire island.  It’s the best way to see the island.   You can pack a bag, take breaks at all the beaches, and see how beautiful the island is.

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Ferry from Koh Lanta – Koh Phi Phi (4-5 Days)

When you’re ready to leave Koh Lanta (which can be harder than you think), you’ll be on your way to one of the most beautiful, photogenic, and most well-known places in Thailand — Koh Phi Phi.  Known primarily for the nearby Maya Bay being the film location for the Leonardo DiCaprio hit movie — “The Beach”.

Some people criticize Koh Phi Phi for being too touristy now, and too focused on partying — but it is still an absolute must visit during your time in Thailand.

Read my following blog posts on Koh Phi Phi

Leaving Koh Phi Phi is no easy task.  The party vibe is solid, there is amazing food, and you’re guaranteed to make some amazing new friends!  I personally think it’s the most beautiful area in Thailand!

Ferry from Koh Phi Phi – Ao Nang, Railey Beach, & Krabi (4-6 Days)

After spending the past couple weeks on Islands, it’s time to cruise back to the mainland.  Ao Nang is a really beautiful beach area, has a decent nightlife scene, and is definitely worth a visit.  There’s an island hopping tour that goes to nearby places, and a really fun pub crawl at night.

Don’t spend too much time in Ao Nang though — make sure you get over to the beautiful Railey Beach & Ton Sai Bay.

You can also hire a mo-ped and explore Krabi town, and the surrounding highlights.

Read:  The Best Hostels in Thailand

Book a Bus + Ferry Combo from Krabi to Koh Phangan (5 Days)

There are loads of travel agencies around Ao Nang and the Krabi that will help you book this ticket.  I typically travel with Lomprayah .  It is by the most established and organized company out there, and enjoy my travels when I book with them.  During peak season, they can sell out tickets.  (Especially prior to a Full Moon Party.)

Koh Phangan is one of the craziest party islands in South-East Asia !  You’ll often hear bad things about the Full Moon Party, but too be honest — it’s a damn good time (if you’re with the right people).  There’s something really fun about getting dressed up in Neon, covering yourself in bodypaint, and dancing all night with fellow backpackers.

To be perfectly honest though, the best party on Koh Phangan isn’t the Full Moon Party.  There’s so many better clubs, venues, and events that you should look into!  If your trip doesn’t align well with a date for the FMP, definitely still go to Koh Phangan!  It’s a great place to spend some time, relax, meet people, party, and enjoy paradise!

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Ferry up to Koh Tao (4-5 Days)

Koh Tao is the very first island I visited in my travels in South-East Asia, and it is by far one of my favorite places in Thailand.  This is a scuba-diver’s paradise, and is the perfect location to get your PADI certifications.  If you don’t want to do the full course, make sure you at least do a “Discover Scuba” one-day course.  It’s one of the most affordable places to try out scuba-diving, and is absolutely beautiful.  When you’re not scuba diving, Koh Tao is an amazing island to explore by moto.  Just choose carefully where you rent it, because this island is notorious for rental places taking advantages of tourists and withholding passports until the pay ridiculous “damage fees”.  Also make sure you do a day-trip to Koh Nang Yuan, Mango View point, The Koh Tao Pub Crawl, and party hard on Sairee Beach!

Read:  7 Amazing Things to do on Koh Tao  

Ferry + Bus from Koh Tao to Bangkok

You’ve seen the best islands Thailand has to offer, now it’s time to finish your trip in the “Big Mango”.  Bangkok is truly an amazing city, and there’s tons of amazing things to do, see, and explore.  It’s the gateway to South-East Asia, and most backpackers out here find themselves in Bangkok more than once.  The street food is delicious, the people are friendly, and you’ll absolutely love exploring all the temples, malls, and rooftop bars.

ReadWhere to Stay in Bangkok

Read10 Amazing Things to do in Bangkok

 


Congratulations!  You’ve just crossed off three amazing countries in South-East Asia, and some of my favorite spots in the world to visit!

Substitutions & Other Destinations

  • The Perhentian Islands:  When you are traveling up through Malaysia, you could easily head over to the stunning Perhentian Islands.  It’s all the way on the east coast of Malaysia, so it’s a bit out of the way for this itinerary- but it would be incredible.  You could get a bus + ferry here from the Cameron Highlands.  Then when you’re ready to leave, take a bus over to Penang to continue the itinerary.
  • Phuket & Koh Samui:  Two of the most popular touristy destinations in Thailand, but I always recommend people to skip them.  They are overcrowded, expensive, and you can find much better places to spend your time.
  • Ko Yao Nai National Park & Ko Tarutao are both absolutely gorgeous, and could easily be worked into this itinerary during your time on Koh Lipe, and Koh Phi Phi.

Travel Tips & Suggestions

  • Travel slow.  I give a recommended time in each place, but if you’re in not on a time crunch, then take it slow and enjoy your time in each place.  Otherwise, you might be spending a lot of time in transit.
  • Buy a Local Sim Card.  This always comes in handy in Malaysia & Thailand.  There are really cheap data plans.
  • Download my Free-Book.  “77 Amazing, Helpful, Money-Saving Tips for Backpacking South-East Asia” for all my best backpacking tips.
  • Stay in Hostels.  This is such an awesome backpacker route, and the best way to experience these destinations is to interact with other travelers!
  • Eat often!  The food in all three of these countries is absolutely amazing!  There are plenty of places for cheap eats, and all the meals are delicious.

Check out These Articles About This Region

Malaysia Travel Guide: Trip Highlights, Destinations, & Itineraries

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Thailand (Instagram Checklist)

Thanks for reading my Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok Backpacking Trip Itinerary!

If you’re planning a trip to South-East Asia and have any questions, feel free to Contact Me with any questions you have!  I’ve spent a lot of time backpacking around the area, and love helping people plan their travels!  Also, make sure you sign-up for my Newsletter below to download my FREE E-Book below that is full of amazing tips and information.

 

13 Things You’ll Get Tired of While Backpacking South-East Asia

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South-East Asia is arguably the best region of the world for a long-term backpacking trip.  There is a great network of transportation in between the countries, a well paved backpacker trail, and loads of budget accommodations for travelers.  I’ve spent over 15 months backpacking around South-East Asia now, and it is has truly changed my life.  There are way too many reasons why SEA is an amazing place to backpack:  food, culture, nature, parties, people, etc.  But that’s not what this post is about…

All backpacking trips have their challenges, and these are 13 things you’ll get tired of while backpacking South-East Asia…

1.  Consistent Bug Bites

 One of the most annoying aspects of traveling through-out South-East Asia is being eaten alive by the various bugs.  Whether it be the troubling mosquito, pesky sand fly, or a devilish bed bug, there’s no doubt you will bit quite a few times during your travels.  

For some reason, these bugs always seem to destroy my feet, and I can’t help the terrific feeling of scratching them.  They turn into open wounds, take forever to heal, and even scar.  You can try holding back the urge, but sometimes it’s just damn near impossible.  Thank God for Tiger Balm.    

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2.  Bargaining for Everything

Bargaining in general can be really fun, and it’s great when you feel you got the best deal — but it can get pretty tiring having to do it all the time.  Especially when you know they are trying to squeeze as much money as possible out of you.  It’s particularly bothersome when they start so ridiculously high! Listen, I know I can get these singlets or sunglasses for $3-$5, please don’t ask $30 for a pair of fake ray-bans.  

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3.  Not Being Able to Drink The Tap Water

South-East Asia is hot.  Very hot.  It’s extremely important to keep yourself hydrated on the road to maintain your health.  My goal is to drink around 1-1.5 gallons per day.  Water is so important for your immune system, and I hate getting sick abroad so I’m constantly drinking water.  I don’t mind buying bottled water because it’s not too expensive, and there are some cities where you can fill up a bottle of reverse osmosis drinking water for practically nothing, but after awhile you really wish you could fill up a glass of water from the sink.  Especially if you had one too many drinks the night before, and forgot to buy a bottle before passing out.  

4.  The Extremely Long Travel Days

If your’e backpacking South-East Asia on a budget, you’ll understand that even though these destinations might look close to each other on a map, it’s still going to take awhile to get there.  Those 8 hour bus rides, can easily turn into 12 hours, for no explanation.  You can’t complain though when the whole trip only cost $15-$20.  

Things can go wrong when you travel, and you just gotta go with the flow.

5.  Terribly slow Wi-Fi

It’s important to disconnect from the internet for awhile when you travel, because people can get too caught up with uploading pictures, statuses, or skyping people back home.  With that being said, the internet has changed the way the younger generation travels.  We look up flights, bus times, and ferry schedules.  We research hostels, read reviews, and browse travel blogs.  As great as it is to disconnect from social-media and people back home, wi-fi is a very useful tool for backpackers.  South-East Asia is definitely not the worst place in the world for internet access, but there are many places where it’s basically non-existent.  Or even worse — it says you’re connected, but takes 30 minutes to load a page.  Try booking that last seat to Bali for the promo fare with slow internet.  You’re gonna have a bad time.  

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6.  Cold Showers & Fan Rooms  

Another aspect of budget travel in South-East Asia is staying in the cheapest room or hostel you can find.  You might not have the best night sleep, but you saved money that can now be spent on other activities.  With that being said, sometimes you just want an air-conditioned rooms, a nice hot shower, and a comfortable mattress.  Unless you want to cut your backpacking trip short, than you can’t be doing this every night.

Just don’t forget, every once in awhile it’s okay to “TREAT YO SELF!”

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7.  Bad Backpackers

One of the best parts about backpacking South-East Asia is the friendships you’ll form with people from all over the world.  It’s ridiculously easy to meet fellow backpackers, and for the most part — everyone is really genuine, and is just looking to have a good time.  But there definitely are some people you want to avoid.  For example, check out this hilarious article on The Broke Backpacker titled, “The 7 Backpacker Assholes to Avoid“.  This is a good example of some of the people you’ll meet while traveling.  For me, my biggest pet peeve are those people who really have no idea how to act in other countries.  There are some backpackers out there don’t respect the culture and customs, and it’s a damn shame.  If you’re going to behave like an asshole, stay at home.

8.  Being Treated as a Dollar Sign

 It is common knowledge that a majority of the locals in popular backpacker destinations survive entirely on tourism.  You get used to the idea that people want your money, and they are always attempting to make a sale, but after awhile — you’ve had enough.      

9.  Squat Toilets & Bum Guns      

Imagine you are on a long bus ride, and that Chicken Fried Rice you just ate isn’t sitting well your digestive track.  You wait for the next rest stop, scurry to the bathroom, and realize there are only those damn squat toilets.  Most South-East Backpackers can understand that scenario.  Well, shit happens.  It would be great if at every rest stop there were a nice fancy restaurant, clean toilets, and toilet paper — but that definitely doesn’t happen out here.  You have to learn to embrace the squat toilets and bum guns during your travels through South-East Asia.  But after awhile —  you just want to have a comfortable shit.

11.  Frigidly Cold Bus Rides

No one will ever understand why busses feel the need to have the A/C on full blast.  After several months backpacking South-East Asia, feeling cold can be a really strange feeling.  You always have to remember to bring an extra layer or two on the bus, or else you’ll toes will feel like they have frost bite when you reach your destination.

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12.  The Fear of Malaria & Dengue

Everybody can be a hypochondriac at times.  When you get eaten alive by mosquitos, that thought oftens runs through your head, “I really hope one of these bastards didn’t just give me Malaria”.  From my understanding, the majority of backpackers don’t bother with the Malaria pills.  The side-effects are too strong, and aren’t really worth the extra prevention.  Even if you do take them though, that doesn’t protect you against Dengue fever.

13.  Intense Humidity

Why is it does it have to be so hot and humid all the time?  That shower you just took will only help you feel clean for a few minutes.  You know, once you step outside, it won’t take long before your drenched in sweat again.  It comes as a shock at first, but you eventually get used to it.  There are times though where you just wish you could go outside without dripping bullets.

 Yeah, there are a few aspects about backpacking through South-East Asia that might not be pleasant — but that is all about the full experience.

This is one of the reasons we travel.  To step out of our comfort zone.  To learn how to deal with different situations.  To challenge ourselves.

South-East Asia is truly a backpacker’s paradise.  From the amazing food, culture, beaches, parties, hostels, and people — backpacking through this region will definitely be a life-changing experience.  

Have you backpacked South-East Asia before?  What were a few things that you slowly grew tired of?  Let me know!

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