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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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?

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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!

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.                

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.

 

12 Music Festivals in South East Asia to Experience Before You Die

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There might not be as many music festivals in South East Asia as there are in other areas of the world, but that is slowly changing.  With the ever-growing popularity of electronic music, more and more festivals are popping up in this region.  You might not come to South-East Asia for the music festivals, but if you’re planning a trip out here, maybe one of these could be worked into your itinerary


Also check out:

Top 10 Electronic Dance Music (EDM) Festivals:  South-East Asia




1.  Wonderfruit Fstival

  • When: Mid – December
  • Where:  Siam Country Club, Pattaya, Thailand
  • Website:  http://wonderfruitfestival.com/
  • Why:  Live.  Love.  Wonder.  That’s the motto of this incredible 3-day camping music and arts festival held on the beautiful Pattaya Fields Siam Country Club.  I normally tell people to avoid Pattaya as a city because it really is a horrific place, but this beautiful venue is 15 KM outside the city, and you’ll fall into festival mode.  The camping area is decent and well equipped, the stages are amazing, and the line-up brings a little something for everyone.  This is one of the best festivals you can attend in south-east Asia.  Read my Wonderfruit Festival 2014 review for more information and pictures.  I was lucky enough to attend the first year, and definitely have plans to make the journey back.   

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2.  Quest Music Festival

  • When:  Early November
  • Where:  Ba Vi National Park, Vietnam
  • Website:  http://www.questfestival.net/
  • Why:  Quest is Hanoi’s weekend music, arts and camping festival.  Tucked away in a beautiful national park, this venue provides the perfect atmosphere that a festival needs.  Stunning Vietnam landscapes, great live-music and DJ sets, and the opportunity to meet incredible new people from all over the world.  Don’t miss out.  Quest Music Festival will be an experience you will never forget.

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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 some of the biggest names in commercial house music.  If you’re looking for a solid party, this one will not disappoint.

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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.

Update:  Zoukout will be heading to BORACAY in 2016!   It’s already one of the best places to party in South-East Asia, so definitely worth a visit over for ZoukOut !

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5.  Road to Ultra – Bangkok & Bali

  • When:  June (Bangkok) — Septemer (Bali)
  • Where:  Potato Head Beach Club, Seminyak, Bali
  • 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 locations in Bangok & Bali.  Two cities known for having incredible nightlife.  If you find yourself out in either of these cities, definitely try to get to one of the these parties.

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6.  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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7.  Maya Music Festival

  • When:  Early March
  • Where:  Bangkok, Thailand
  • Website:  http://mayamusicfestival.com/
  • Why:  This new one-day music festival brings big name DJ’s to a massive venue in Bangkok.  If you’re looking to hear some of the best electronic music while exploring the capitol city, than plan a trip to Thailand in March.

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8.  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.

Shipsomnia is also sailing from Barcelona to Ibiza in June 2017!!

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9.  Big Mountain Music Festival

  • When:  Beginning of December
  • Where:  Khao Yai
  • Website:  http://www.bigmountainmusicfestival.com
  • Why:  One of the biggest festivals for the Thai music scene, this two day festival is filled with awesome stages, hundreds of live acts, and an incredible atmosphere.  Dates for the upcoming festivals haven’t been announced, but they do have other events, so tune into their Facebook for more information.

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10.  Rainforest World Music Festival

  • When:  Mid August
  • Where:  Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia
  • Website:   http://rwmf.net/
  • Why:  Just reading the name of the festival, you can get a good understanding of what you are in for during this unique festival.  Lots of acoustic instruments with a rainforest themed, this will definitely be unlike any festival you’ve ever attended.  Borneo is a beautiful island, and this would be a great way to experience the culture while hearing some great music.

RWMF2015-Performers 

11.  Songkran Water Festival

  • When:  Mid-April
  • Where:  All Over Thailand (Chiang Mai recommended)
  • Website:  —
  • Why:  The Thai Lunar New Year is celebrated by 3 days of absolute madness country-wide.  From personal experience, this was one of the highlight’s of my travels in south-east Asia.  The belief is that “water” washes off all the sins of the previous year, and it’s a fresh start for the upcoming year.  It’s a beautiful festival, but it’s also one crazy party.  There are stages and music playing all over the place, and great clubs and nightlife to go out at night.  The set-up is different every year, but make sure you experience this at least once in your life.  Check out my Songkran 2015 video.

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12. Full Moon Party

  • When:  Once a Month during the Full Moon.  Dates found here.
  • Where:  Haad Rin, Koh Phangan, Thailand
  • Website:  http://fullmoonparty-thailand.com/
  • Why:  Last but not least, no South-East Asia festival list is complete without experiencing at least one full moon party.  Although recently it has gotten negative attention recently, it’s definitely a good night if you’re with the right people.  Koh Phangan is one of the craziest party islands in South-East Asia, and there are ton of other parties to attend on the island as well.

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While I couldn’t list all the music festivals in South-East Asia, this is a solid list of what I think to the best 12.  All of these festivals bring some great live musicians and DJ’s, and will provide a great festival environment for you to dance until your tired, and meet some amazing people.  Make sure you check out my other blog posts on music festivals.

25 Music Festivals in America To Experience Before You Die

30 Music Festivals in Europe to Experience Before You Die

30 Music Festivals in Australia To Experience Before You Die


Am I missing any great music festivals in South-East Asia?  Let me know in the comments section!


Photo Sources:  Wonderfruit, Quest, Neverland, ZoukOut, Ultra, It’s The Ship, Maya, Shipsomnia, Rainforest, Big Mountain


Share this post with your festival travel crew!

10 Amazing Things To Do in Pai, Thailand

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Pai is a small town in Northern Thailand that is truly a must-visit during your time in South-East Asia.  Check out this list of 10 amazing things to do in Pai to help ensure you have to the best time in this amazing place.

Pai is definitely one of those places where you “only plan on staying for a couple nights”, but end up staying at week or two.  It’s incredibly relaxed, beautiful ,and has amazing food!  I fell in love with Pai, and I know you will too!  Hope you enjoy my list of the best things to do in Pai!

If you haven’t already, check out my Budget Travel Guide to Pai, Thailand.

1.  Rent A Moto

Northern Thailand is easily one of the best places to rent a moto and explore.  There’s a couple different view points, waterfalls, and hills to ride around and get lost in.  It’s also perfect because the transportation system in Pai isn’t the best, so it will make your stay in Pai much easier if you have your own transportation.  You can rent one in Pai for very cheap, around 100-150 Baht per day.

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2.  Walking Street Night Market

There’s no chance you’ll visit Pai without wandering the market at night.  This is where all the action happens, and it’s amazing to check out all the different shops and food stalls.  If you walk by a lady who sells Nachos, try them.  As well, there’s some amazing dumplings right next to her you have to try!  You can get bargain clothes and souvenirs, just remember to haggle!

3.  The Fluid Pool

The fluid pool is an amazing place to spend a nice relaxing day in Pai.  The entrance fee is only 60 baht, and it’s just a solid atmosphere.  People lounging around, reading books, ordering delicious food and drinks, and jamming out to decent music.  This is particularly great on a hot and humid day, which are pretty common in Thailand.

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4.  Sunset Bar

A nightlife favorite tucked away from the main action in Pai.  Equipped with a pool table, hammocks, and colorfully decorated, you definitely need to check out Sunset Bar.  Believe it or not, it’s also a great spot to watch the sunset!  If you’re lucky, you might even have a good laugh watching people enjoy their mushroom shakes!

5.  Chinese Village View Point

Just a 15 minute drive away from Pai is a small little Chinese Village.  It’s actually nothing special, but the view point is well worth the drive.  You pay 20 baht to get into the view point, but it comes with some delicious Chinese Green Tea.  Definitely gives you amazing views of Pai district.

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6.  Pai Canyon

Located around 8km’s outside of Pai, this is a must-see while visiting Pai.  Beautiful landscape, and if you want you can hike around and get lost in the canyon for hours.  Also, a great spot to watch the sunset go down past the mountain ridge.

Hiking through Pai Canyon...

Hiking through Pai Canyon…

7.  The Container

A really cool cafe with interesting egg shaped chairs that overlooks the Pai hills.  Definitely an amazing spot to relax for a few, enjoy a cold drink, and just relax.

Straight up chillin at the container...

Straight up chillin at the container…

8.  Breakfast / Lunch at Om Cafe

Easily the best place to eat in all of Pai.  Trust me, you’ll eat there once, and you’ll be going for every meal possible.  With a pretty big selection of food at affordable prices, you’ll become obsessed with Om Cafe.  Insider tip:  try the deserts!  The carrot cake and coconut cheesecake are mouthwateringly delicious!

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9.  Thom’s Elephant Camp

You can’t go to Thailand without checking out elephants.  This is one of the highest rated experiences in Pai, and you’ll love the experience.  It’s 800 baht per hour to swim and bathe with them, but you can also just go and feed them some bananas for free!

10.  Party at Don’t Cry

This is the afterhours party venue that stays open after all the other bars in Pai close (which is relatively early around midnight).  Located right across the river, you’ll love having a drink or two, or three at Don’t Cry.

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Backpacking Pai, Thailand: A Budget Travel Guide

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Backpacking Pai Thailand should be considered a must visit while exploring this beautiful country.  Pai is such an amazing city, and has this strange power that can keep you there longer than expected.  The minute you get there you get swept away by the relaxed nature of the place.  People walk the streets of the small town rocking their comfy elephant pants, and it feels that no one is stressed about anything.  This is truly a hippy / backpacker’s haven, that has a strange vortex that makes you never want to leave.

One of the many view points on the drive back from Pai to Chiang Mai. Such an amazing moto ride.

One of the many view points on the drive back from Pai to Chiang Mai. Such an amazing moto ride.

Accomodation

When it comes to accomodation in Pai, there are definitely a bunch of solid options, with a couple favorite backpacker hostels that will provide a comfortabe stay, and a great environment for meeting other travelers.

  • Spicy Pai Backpacker’s Hostel —  Easily one of the most recommended hostels among the young backpacker crowd, you’ll definitely enjoy your stay at Spicy Pai.  Located across the river from the main action, it’s definitely advisable to rent a moto to make things a bit easier.  There’s a great chill-out area, and a really relaxed vibe.
  • Common Grounds Pai — Perfectly located in the heart of walking street, this hostel / guesthouse will make your stay in this wonderful city unforgettable.  With a great atmosphere, pool table, and comfortable 4-person dorm rooms, you’ll have a nice comfy stay at Common Grounds.
  • Diamond de Pai City Hotel For those people who are looking for a great deal on a hotel room, then this your best option.  With double rooms available for around $18, you’ll get a clean and comfortable room, and just a short walk away from all the action in Pai.
Straight up chillin at the container...

Straight up chillin at the container…

Activities

For being a small and quiet city, there is still plenty of amazing things to do.  Check out my blog post on 10 Amazing Things To Do in Pai.  Some of the highlights are renting a moto, exploring the waterfalls, the chinese village view point, the fluid pool, sunset bar, Pai pub, among many others.

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Food

The food in Pai is absolutely incredible!  Everywhere you go are amazing restaurants and great street food stalls.  There’s so many different options, is hard to choose, but I’m going to talk about 3 different places you have to try in Pai!

  • Om Garden Cafe — Hands down my favorite place to eat during my stay in Pai.  After my first meal there, I ended up eating there for every breakfast and lunch meal until I left.  They close everyday around 3:00 or 5:00 P.M depending on the time of the year.  I’ve tried a lot of the meals, and they were all amazing.  But I would also recommend trying their deserts as well!  The coconut cheesecake was insane!
  • Witching Well — The atmosphere at this place is great, and the witch theme makes this place really special.  The staff is really friendly, the food is adequately priced, and everything was delicious.  They are also famous for their homemade carrot cake.  Definitely worth a visit during your time in Pai.
  • The Walking Street Market —  This place is the perfect spot for amazing food while sticking to your budget.  You can get amazing fried rice dishes or pad thai noodles, among other dishes.  There is one place that makes decent Nachos among other meals, and right next to it there are incredible chicken dumplings you have to try!
BBQ Chicken Burger at OM Cafe!

BBQ Chicken Burger at OM Cafe!

Nightlife

Pai might not be your first destination in Thailand you think of when it comes to crazy nightlife, but I think that might be changing in future years to come.  During my stay in Pai, I went out every night even if it was just for one or two drinks, and it was always a good time.  These are the 5 Places I would recommend going:

  • Pai Pub — A really great pub.  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.
  • Yellow Sun Reggae Bar — Another great bar with tons of seating, beer pong, great and wide variety of music, and a cool spot to chill at for a bit.  The staff are really friendly as well.
  • 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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Nightlife Budget Tip:  Buy your beers or drinks at 7-11 or the mini-markets.  They are basically double the price at all the bars.  You might get in trouble here or there for bringing in outside booze, but it’s makes so much more sense to do it that way. 

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Well, there you have it.  Pai is seriously one of the best places I’ve been to in South-East Asia, and I definitely plan on spending more time there in the future.  Just be careful when you go there, you might only plan on staying for 2 days, but that could easily turn into 2 weeks!

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The Best Hostels in Thailand

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Planning a trip and looking for the best hostels in Thailand?  I’m here to help!  I’ve spent several months traveling throughout this amazing country.  I’ve stayed at some great hostels, and I’ve also stayed at some very questionable ones.  I’ve done a ton of research, and compiled the best hostels throughout Thailand.  Now this the list of the places that I recommend; there are definitely a wide variety of places to stay; from budget hotels, guesthouses, and bungalows…I wanted to talk about specifically hostels, especially rooms with dorm beds and social atmospheres ideal for the travellers looking to meet people.

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Let’s Start With the North

Northern Thailand is absolutely amazing, and I think it’s completely different then the rest of the country.  The vibe is much more relaxed, even in Thailand’s second biggest city Chiang Mai, it seems to have a really chilled out atmosphere.  If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, don’t skip the north.  From doing some research, asking fellow travelers, and staying at a couple; these are the best hostels in Northern Thailand:

Chiang Mai

  • Soho Hostel — This hostel is definitely one of the ones that comes up the most when people are asking for recommendations for Chiang Mai.  It’s perfectly located within walking distance to the nightlife districts, night markets, and cheap food.
  • Hug Hostel —  Located at the northern tip of the Old City, you’re in a prime location for exploring the city.  This hostel is well equipped with a social atmosphere, clean facilities, and excellent reviews.  Definitely one of the best places to stay in Chiang Mai.
Renting that apartment in Chiang Mai for the month was a solid decision. I loved the city, songkran was amazing, and watching different versions of this sunset from my balcony every evening was incredible. Ill miss Northern Thailand, but im pretty sure ill be back there soon.

Sunset in Chiang Mai

Pai

  • Spicy Pai Backpacker’s Hostel —  Easily one of the most recommended hostels among the young backpacker crowd, you’ll definitely enjoy your stay at Spicy Pai.  Located across the river from the main action, it’s definitely advisable to rent a moto to make things a bit easier.  There’s a great chill-out area, and a really relaxed vibe.
  • Common Grounds Pai — Perfectly located in the heart of walking street, this hostel / guesthouse will make your stay in this wonderful city unforgettable.  With a great atmosphere, pool table, and comfortable 4-person dorm rooms, you’ll have a nice comfy stay at Common Grounds.
The Chinese Village lookout point gives you a great view of Pai distirict. So great to relax, enjoy some green tea, and marvel at the beauty of Northern Thailand...get here soon, because it most definitely will not look this way in 10 years...

Overlooking Pai

Chiang Rai

  • Fun D Hostel —  Only a short distance outside the city center, this hostel has excellent facilities for an unbeatable price.  Wifi in the rooms, clean showers, and breakfast is included.  Room rate start around 250-300 baht per night.
  • Mercy Hostel Beautiful hostel, clean facilities, pool table, full kitchen, and comfortable rooms, all perfectly located during your visit in Chiang Mai.  Room rates from 160-200 bahtt.

BANGKOK        

Whethere you’re backpacking southeast Asia for five months, or just cruising out to Thailand for a few weeks, you’ll most likely find yourself in Bangkok at one time or another.  These are the two best options for hostels.

  • Nappark Hostel — This is easily the most popular and most recommended hostel when it comes to Bangkok.  Located perfectly around Khao San Road and The Grand Palace, you definitely will not regret staying here.  You’ll meet tons of fellow backpackers, have a comfortable stay, and probably have a couple crazy nights out partying on the streets of KSR.  It is a tad bit expensive for prices in Bangkok at around $12 per dorm bed, but I think it’s a fair price for what you get.  The wi-fi works well, the facilities are clean, and the beds are comfy.  Perfect for solo travelers looking for a good time in Bangkok.  For reservations, availability, and room rates, click here.
  • Green House Hostel –  This is the absolutely perfect location for the solo traveler who does not want to sleep in a dorm bed.  Located on Rambuttri Road (adjacent to KSR), this location simply can’t be beat.  The beds are decent, there is wifi in all areas of the hostel, and the restaraunt serves up some delicious food.  There’s tons to do in the area, and it’s super easy to meet people.  You can get a private single room for only $8, or if you are with two people, you can split a a room with two twin beds for only $15.  For reservations, room rates, and availability click here.

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THE ISLANDS

Koh Tao

  • Jizo’s Hostel —  I stayed here for 4 nights the last time I was on Koh Tao, and really enjoyed my stay.  It’s absolutely perfectly located in Koh Tao, right along the main strip, just a couple shops down from the Australian Pub where the Koh Tao Pub Crawl starts.  The social vibe is there, but not the best of the hostels I’ve stayed at.  The facilities are okay, and at around $8 – $10 bucks a night depending on the season, you’ll enjoy your stay.

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Koh Phangan

  • Echo Beach Backpackers ResortThis is the best place to be for people looking to meet people, party like crazy, and really enjoy your time on Koh Phangan.  The staff are really informed about all the parties going on, there’s tons of chairs and seating room, awesome pre-games, amazing music, and delicious food.  I honestly love this place.  It’s not the cleanliest of hostels, but if you’re coming to KP for a good party, this is where you want to be.  It’s located in Ban Tai, so it’s about a 15 minute drive to Haad Rin where the FMP is, but they organize the rides for everyone.

Koh Samui 

  • Behind The Scene Hostel — The top rated youth hostel in Koh Samui is definitely the top pick for backpackers who make their way to Samui.  A lot of backpackers skip this island because it is a litte bit more expensive, and over touristic, but there is actually lots to do on this beautiful island.  The nightlife area around Chaweng beach is awesome!

Koh Phi Phi

  • Paradise Dorm Room — During my second stay on Koh Phi Phi, I had no accomodation booked.  I walked around, and stumbled upon this one, and really enjoyed my stay.  The beds are comfortable, the wi-fi works really well, and it’s right in the middle of everything.  There’s also an amazing Indian restaraunt next door you should try at least once.
  • Flower Bungalows — This is for the budget traveler.  I stayed here during my first trip to Phi Phi, and met an amazing group of people.  I’ll admit, it’s not the most comfortable place to stay, but it’s defintiely budget friendly, and well located.

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Krabi Town

  • Pak-Up Hostel — This hostel is absolutely amazing!!  One of my favorites that I’ve ever stayed at in all my travels.  The location is perfect in Krabi town, you’ll meet a ton of people.  The rooms are comfortable, great storage space for your stuff, and amazing showers / facilities.  There’s not much to do in Krabi town, but you definitely have to stay at the Pak-Up Hostel!  Just make sure to book in advance, because this place sells out on a very regular basis.

Ao Nang

  • Slumber Party Hostel —  The name says it all.  If you’re looking for the backpacker party area, but also clean facilities, quick wifi, and comfortable beds — this is the spot.  They put on amazing pub crawls, island hopping, and beer pong tournaments.  It’s a bit of a walk from the beach, but if you want to spend the extra cash, check out their  Slumber Party Hostel At The Beach hostel.
  • Ao Nang Backpacker For those who are a bit more budget conscience, head over to this spot.  It’s literally just across the street from Slumber Party, but costs a bit less.  The dorm room is massive; definitely the hostel with the most beds I’ve ever stayed at, but you get what you pay for.

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Koh Lanta

  • Peacock Hostel — Super awesome atmosphere with a large deck equipped with hammocks; the perfect spot to meet people and relax.  Koh Lanta isn’t the island for partying, but you’ll still meet some awesome people here, and enjoy your stay.  It’s really affordable, and highly recommended.

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Koh Chang

  • Pajamas Koh Chang — This place might seem a little pricey, but it’s actually an amazing place to stay!  This beach house boutique hostel is located just 2 min to lovely Klong Prao Beach in Koh Chang. They’ve got really nice and modern accomodations, and an amazing swimming pool.  If you’re a solo traveler, this is the spot for you.

 

Well, there ya have it.  Obviously, I did not cover every city or area, just the places I’ve been and the more popular spots.  I didn’t include Phuket or Pattaya, because I personally think they are two of the worst places to visit in Thailand.  Anyways, hope you found what you were looking for!  All of these hostels are awesome!  Safe Travels.

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Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you book through these links I will receive a very small commission at no extra cost to you.  This helps with the cost of running the site, and basically just help me buy my next beer along my travels.  : )  

The Ultimate Travel Resource Guide for South-East Asia

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I’ve spent over a year living, traveling, studying, and working around South-East Asia.  When it comes to travel resources, these are my absolute favorite websites and tools for finding the best accommodation, cheap flights, awesome communities, and more.  For those planning a trip around South-East Asia, these will all make a big difference and save you time and money

Accommodation

Agoda.com — This has been my go-to recently for everything.  They’ve got great prices on hostels and hotels, and is a great and easy platform.

Hostelworld — My favorite for booking hostels.  Really easy to use, great user reviews, and you can always find a cheap place.

Hostelbookers — The alternative to the above.  It’s good, and sometimes you can find a cheaper price online.

Booking.com — I used this one a lot in Europe, and still check it often for price comparisons out in South-East Asia.  It has tons of options, and is still a great resource for booking a place to sleep.

Hotels.com — I just love this site because you get a free night for every 10 nights you book.  Yeah, it does not add up to much, but it’s still cool.   I’m the type of guy to eat at a place just to get his stamp card stamped.

AirBNB — Great for when you’re traveling in a group, and need to find an apartment.  You can find some amazing villas in Bali, or cheap apartments in Chiang Mai.  Definitely a great site to use once or twice.

Budget Airlines

Skyscanner — Rule of thumb: before you do anything…check Skyscanner.  Amazing platform, and you can figure out the best options.  My favorite aspect is being able to search from one city (or country) to another, and view prices for a specific day or entire month.

AirAsia — My FAVORITE airline in the world.  I’ve flown AirAsia at least 15 times in the past year.  They constantly have promotions, sales, and extremely low fares.  They are also the largest budget airline, and have won a ton of awards.  I couldn’t recommend them enough.

NokAir // Thai Smile — These airlines are particularly great for domestic flights in Thailand.

Malindo Air // Firefly — These are are flights for domestic flights in Malaysia.

VietJet — A decent budget airline for flights for getting to Vietnam, and domestic flights.

Cebu Pacific — The main budget airline for travel throughout the Philippines.

Communities

Couchsurfing — If you don’t have an account already, you should definitely start one.  This is listed under the communities, but can also be a place for free accomodation.  It can be great when you are traveling solo, and want to go to a CS meet-up in a city.  Lots of expats and travel lovers are active all over the world.

Trampolinn — This is a new website that offers a cool mix between Couchsurfing & AirBNB.  Definitely worth looking into, although I haven’t used it yet.

Facebook Groups — Whenever you travel to South-East Asia, look for backpacker groups, expat groups, and other forums for fellow travelers.  It’s a great resource for asking questions, recommendations, and meeting other people abroad.

Helpful Websites

Travelfish — This website is full of incredible useful information for South-East Asia.  It goes over just about everything, and you can definitely get lost on the website looking through all their content.

Tripadvisor — This website needs no introduction, the “Bible” of top things to do, hotel reviews, and so much more when traveling.

E Visums — A great website that goes over all the visa questions you have when traveling to SEA.

Lonely Planet  — Another awesome website that gives great detailed information, active user forums, and can provide a ton of useful information.

Man In Seat 61 — This is the specialty when it comes to overland travel.  This will go over train and bus schedules, fares, and information on how to book online.

Vietnam Tours — Really great website for tours especially for Halong Bay.

Travel Insurance

World Nomads  — The number one provider of traveler’s insurance.  Don’t leave home without it.

Blog Posts

The Ultimate Guide To Backpacking South-East Asia — Migrationology

South-East Asia Travel Tips — Nomadic Matt

Planning a Trip to South-East Asia – Goats On The Road

Motorcycle Adventures in South-East Asia — NOMADasaurus

Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you book through these links I will receive a very small commission at no extra cost to you.  This helps with the cost of running the site, and basically just help me buy my next beer along my travels.  : )  

The 5 BEST PARTY ISLANDS in SOUTH-EAST-ASIA

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Looking for the best places to party in South-East Asia?  Well, I’m here to help.  I’ve spent a good time traveling, backpacking, and partying around this corner of the world, and this place definitely has some top-notch places to have some drinks, dance all night, and meet new people.  This post is specifically about the best party islands in South-East Asia.  If you’re making your way to any of these incredible islands, you (and your liver) better be ready for a damn good time!


 

Check out my other blog post about:

The 15 Best Party Places to Party In South-East Asia


 

1.  Koh Phangan, Thailand

When it comes to partying in South-East Asia, you can’t miss out on the craziness of Koh Phangan.  Yes, it is home to the notorious Full Moon Party, but there are actually so many better parties on the island.  I like to refer to this as the “Ibiza of South-East Asia”, because every night of the week, there is a different party, at a different venue on the island.  Although there have been some issues with the cancellations of parties, I really doubt that will actually ever happen.  If you’re making your way to Koh Phangan 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.

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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.

2.  Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

The Gili Islands are my absolute favorite place to visit in all of South-East Asia.  The beaches are beautiful, the sunrises / sunsets are magical, and you’re guaranteed to meet a ton of amazing new friends.  Gili Trawangan is the most developed island, and is known as the “party island”.  Every night there’s a few different parties to check out, and solid music to listen to.  You’ll most likely encounter people on various illicit substances like magic mushrooms or ecstasy, because there is no police on the Gili Islands.  It’s strange, people are put into jail on Bali for smoking weed, but anything goes once you cross over to the beautiful party paradise of Gili Trawangan.  According to this Gili Islands website:

“Currently the schedule is Monday night for the famous Blue Marlin rave party, Wednesday nights at the beachfront ‘Shipwrecked Bar’ is the ‘Tir na Nog’ Irish bar party, with a mix of funky house music, Friday night is at Rudys Bar, & Reggae music most nights at Sama Sama bar.”

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If you’re lucky, you will show up when there is the Gili Trawangan Full Moon Party at Space bar.  It’s a damn good time!

THE ONE ABSOLUTE MUST EXPERIENCE ON GILI TRAWANGAN IS THE BOOZE CRUISE.  It’s honestly one of the most fun experiences I’ve had while traveling.  It’s on an amazing boat with great music playing, and a solid trip time cruising around paradise.

3.  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.

Sunset on Long Beach, Koh Rong

Sunset on Long Beach, Koh Rong

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!

4.  Boracay, The Philippines

When most people are backpacking through South-East Asia, they tend to skip the Philippines.  I’m not quite exactly sure why, because it’s easily one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.  Boracay, specifically, is stunning.  With that being said, people have often complained of the over-commercialism, and how it’s “too touristy” these days.  Yeah, there’s a McDonald’s and a Starbucks, but it’s still amazingly beautiful, and has amazing nightlife.

For starters, you have to experience The Boracay Pub Crawl.  It’s an absolute blast, and really does “Turn Strangers Into Friends!”

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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 main action, but there are only parties twice a month for the full moon and half moon parties.  If this place isn’t open during your visit, then check out what EPIC Nightclub.    

There’s tons of other bars and nightclubs in Boracay to discover; it really just depends on what you are into and where the night takes you.  The main stretch along white beach is pretty long, and there’s heaps of options!

      

5.  Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Similar to Boracay, Koh Phi Phi is often criticized for being beautiful, but ruined by being over-developed and too much tourism.  If you haven’t been, make no mistake; Koh Phi Phi is one crazy party island.  There is tons of amazing things to do on Phi Phi, and definitely a lot of great places to party.

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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.

 

Well, there you have it.  These are the 5 best party islands in South-East Asia.  I’ve had amazing times on all of them, and I’m sure I’ll find myself at each of them again sometime in the future.  If you have any questions about these islands, feel free to shoot me a message.  I’m more than happy to help you out!

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Songkran in Chiang Mai, 2015; The World’s Largest Water Fight

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The day had finally come.  I had literally been waiting for this day for one entire year.  After backpacking South-East Asia from January – April in early 2014, I had to fly home just a few days before Songkran started for a family wedding.

For those who have backpack, you know how quick and easy it is to meet people, and friend them on Facebook.  Well, when I got back home, and was preparing for wedding festivities, my entire Facebook and Instagram feed were blown up with photos from friends from all over the world celebrating Songkran.  Once I saw those photos, I vowed to myself I would experience Songkran in Chiang Mai 2015.  

I got checked into my AirBNB a couple days before the festival started, and had no idea what the next 3 days had in store for me.

I’ve been to a lot of festivals and parties around the world, but I can honestly say that you definitely can not fully understand until you actually experience it for yourself.  There is this vibe in the air that just makes everyone so incredibly happy.

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Something that I actually had to keep reminding myself was that this is the THAI NEW YEAR.  People saying, “Suk San Wan Songkran” and “Sah Wah Dee Bee Mai”, meaning Happy Songkran and Happy New Year.

Thousands of locals, tourists, expats, and backpackers run through the streets armed with toy weapons that will bring out the child within.  I remember my friend telling me about her experience, and the phrase she always said to explain Songkran was, “You’ll feel like a kid again!”

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Everyone is running around, getting splashed with buckets of water, hoses going off in every direction, and various areas with DJ’s playing a variety of tunes.  The music stays pretty commercial, but there were a couple stages that were playing some pretty sick techno and drum & bass.

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If you are planning a trip to Thailand anytime in 2016, I would most definitely recommend going to Chiang Mai for Songkran.

Check out my video below and leave me a comment and tell me about your Songkran experience.  WATCH IN HD

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Celebrating Songkran in Chiang Mai was easily one of the craziest and most fun experiences I’ve had in a long time.  I’ve spent a good amount of time in South-East Asia, but this definitely made my top 3 highlights of my travels.  Do yourself a favor, and get yourself here next year!  I don’t know where I’ll be, but I’m definitely trying to figure out a way be back in Thailand for these 3 days of insansity.

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