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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 January 14, 2019

          7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

          7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

          From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

          What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

          1. Take the scenic route.

          Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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          Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

          2. Distract yourself.

          No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

          3. Listen to music or podcasts.

          There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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          4. Bring a friend.

          Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

          Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

          5. Accessorize.

          There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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          For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

          6. Compete.

          A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

          7. Relax.

          The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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          With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

          Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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