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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 September 18, 2020

          7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

          7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

          Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

          Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

          1. Exercise Daily

          It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

          If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

          Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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          If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

          2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

          Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

          One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

          This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

          3. Acknowledge Your Limits

          Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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          Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

          Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

          4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

          Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

          The basic nutritional advice includes:

          • Eat unprocessed foods
          • Eat more veggies
          • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
          • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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          Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

            5. Watch Out for Travel

            Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

            This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

            If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

            6. Start Slow

            Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

            If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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            7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

            Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

            My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

            If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

            I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

            Final Thoughts

            Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

            Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

            More Tips on Getting in Shape

            Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

            Reference

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