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Backpacking in Thailand and Vietnam

Backpacking in Thailand and Vietnam

Backpacking in Thailand, thanks to the many sights, the beautiful scenery, and reasonable prices, is one of the most popular choices among backpackers worldwide. The relatively good infrastructure and a rational number of Thais speaking English makes the land accessible to tourists. Each year, more visitors come to Thailand because it is a very beautiful place to visit.

Many backpackers start their journey through Asia in Thailand, so they can get used to the climate and also to prevent a major culture shock. This is a good start, especially for novice backpackers.

Excellent Locations In Thailand:

Bangkok

    Beautiful sights, interesting nightlife, many backpackers and more.

    Chiang Mai

    Not only is the city itself great, but its beautiful surroundings are worth a visit or two.

    Things to do in Thailand

    Thailand is widely known and admired for  Buddhism.The magnificent temples that can be found almost everywhereI are among the finest temples in the world. While backpacking in Thailand, you’ll undoubtedly see some beautiful sights, experience the people and culture, and encounter monks confidently practising their faith.

    Towns

    Most backpackers begin their journey through Thailand – and Asia – in the capital Bangkok. Bangkok, can be described as the backpacking mecca of the world; most backpackers in Bangkok gather on and around Khao San Road. The locals have responded well to the increasing visits and tours with hotels, souvenir shops, and cheap restaurants and bars. However, our favourite city is Northern Chiang Mai, where there prevails a friendly atmosphere and lots of beautiful sights to see and fun adventures to embark on. From Northern Chiang Mai you can also visit the wonderful village of Pai, a wonderfully relaxing destination.

      Islands in Thailand

      There are lots of islands in Thailand; from uninhabited islands to popular tourist islands. Phuket is the largest island in Thailand and a good base from which you can visit the beautiful small islands in the region, like the southernmost island of Thailand: Koh Lipe. The Phi Islands which, in my opinion, is the most beautiful in Thailand, located near Phuket. Thre is also the famous island of Koh Samui to visit, around which you will also find the party islands, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

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      Arrange for your travel

      Ready to pack up and head out on this adventure? Here are some tips you should follow before you go:

      Savings and Credit card

      Of course, before you think about going on such a fun adventure you already saved up for the trip, I still need to remind you that you will need money. It is advisable that before you leave, you should apply for a credit card. This is better than having to carry cash around.

      Airline ticket

      Plan ahead and compare flights to make sure you get a good deal.

      Backpack

      Backpacking through long distances usually requires packing lightweight essentials to make your journey, easier, smoother and as adventurous as you intended it to be. This is known as lightweight backpackingFind the right pack for your trip through Asia as well as the appropriate items to pack. And read up on interesting backpacking hacks.

      Volunteer work

      Thailand is one of the nicer Asian countries to volunteer. There is a great combination of friendly people, beautiful scenery, and many possibilities to have some fun. You can volunteer, especially in Chiang Mai and some less known (and less touristy) places, where there are projects available. Interested in volunteering? Think of Singburi, Umphang, and Wang Nam Keo.

      Airfare

      Many backpackers start their journey in Thailand— not only because it is a great country, but also because it is easily reachable from the Netherlands. Moreover, you can also fly cheaply from Thailand to other countries in Asia and save some money.

      Nothing will prepare you for the beauty of the country — the Sam mountain to Halong Bay through the sacred temples, Vietnam has much to offer:

      Things To See And Do In Vietnam

        Explore Saigon And Hanoi

        The two biggest cities in Vietnam and yet so different: Hanoi, much more traditional, and Saigon, the city that moves. I find the first more charming, although, there is downright more things to do in the second. However, as some of my friends have disagreed, this remains a personal choice.

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        If you’re in Saigon, I highly recommend you test the ice durian at Bach Dang if you are passing through the city and also have a look at the Museum of Traditional Medicine (IOTF).

        If you go through Hanoi, you can not miss the Tran Quoc Pagoda on the shores of West Lake. You can also make a trip to the puppet show on the water. The theatre is located north of Hoan Kiem Lake.

        Halong Bay

        Halong Bay really needs no introduction.

        This is the Vietnamese tourist site par excellence. I must say it is something to dream about. Yes, during your trip, you will be constantly surrounded by other boats so it’s best to take a 2-night stay, which will allow you to go a little further into the bay and enjoy more quiet scenery. Do not miss Halong Bay Land; it attracts less crowds and offers beautiful landscapes.

        Make The Trek In The North

        Also in the north of Vietnam, Hanoi is the gateway to the various treks and hikes. This is an opportunity to meet some of the ethnic minorities of Vietnam. I suggest you go for a ride to the Ba Be National Park, where a wonderful lake is located; this will offer you a change of scenery and a new experience.

        Hue And Graves

        Discover the imperial city situated in the middle of Vietnam. You can discover its citadel, which is river perfume pagoda (Thien Mu) and tombs. Day visits are organised, and you can also rent a bike and go exploring.

        Hoi An And Cham Islands

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        Located right next to Hue, Hoi An is a small charming town. You will discover the Japanese bridge, its local markets, its old houses, beaches and many other things, like the city lanterns. The opportunity to discover places in a completely different atmosphere at night can be fun and exciting. The streets are lit by candlelight (on the 14th day of each lunar month) and the illuminated harbour holds a medley of colourful lanterns.

        If you’re in Hoi An, take the opportunity to spend a night on the Cham Islands and start each morning (early) by going on a speed boat. Guests can enjoy deserted beaches and a life without electricity.

          Enjoy The Beaches Of Nha Trang

          You want sun and relaxation? Nha Trang is the seaside resort of Vietnam par excellence. Although many would say that it has lost its soul (large hotel beachfronts), it is a city that you should not miss.

          I recommend you rent a motorbike and browse its surroundings; you will have the opportunity of taking in its breathtaking landscapes.

          Do not forget to take a turn towards its hot springs (Thap Ba Hot Springs), where you will have the opportunity to take a mud bath.

          Make The Sky Surf In Mui Ne

          If there is a good spot to indulge in it’s Sky Surf it’s Mui Ne.

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          With nice hotels, favourable wind and great sailing schools every 500 meters, you will not have any excuses. You can rent boards or take lessons (about 100 euros for 3 hours).

          Take the opportunity to also take a ride on the sand dunes where you can go sledging and ATVing. Even better if you have photos to show your friends. In short, it’s a good time and experience to spend a few hours from the Saigon bus.

          Make An Excursion On A Motorcycle To Dalat

          The more mountainous southern city, Dalat, is famous for its flowers and hinterland. So take the Easy Rider motorcycle services and go for a day trip (15 to 30 euros). Enjoy the scenery and the pleasure of a motorcycle ride. As a bonus, you can sip Vietnamese coffee and find out about What’s with the Weasel Coffee.

          Discover Phu Quoc

          The largest island of Vietnam opens its doors. With its sandy beaches, some almost uninhabited, you’ll really feel like you’re on a deserted island. If you love fresh water, know that you can take a dip in the waterfalls as well.

          Happy Backpacking! Happy Adventure!

          Image Credit: Bangkok via Bangkok.com; purple beach via Jonny Clow; food via Harvey Enrile; beach via Auskteez Tran

          Featured photo credit: To Be Frank Magazine via tobefrankmagazine.com

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          Kyra Taylor

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          Last Updated on July 10, 2020

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

          We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

          So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

          Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

          What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

          Boundaries are limits

          —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

          Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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          Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

          Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

          Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

          How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

          Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

          1. Self-Awareness Comes First

          Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

          You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

          To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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          You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

          • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
          • When do you feel disrespected?
          • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
          • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
          • When do you want to be alone?
          • How much space do you need?

          You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

          2. Clear Communication Is Essential

          Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

          Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

          3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

          Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

          That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

          Sample language:

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          • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
          • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
          • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
          • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
          • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
          • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
          • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

          Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

          4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

          Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

          Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

          Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

          We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

          It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

          It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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          Final Thoughts

          Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

          Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

          Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

          The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

          Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

          Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

          They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

          Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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