Ever since I started to do some research about some backpacker tips to help me around Thailand I straight away noticed a difference between the younger backpacker requirements compared to someone like me at the age of 32.
I started to look into options and ideas when I was travelling Europe in my self-built campervan and wanted to share my thoughts on the different priorities getting ready and during my first few weeks in Thailand. Maybe the older backpacker will have some more funds saved up before they left by working a few years and financially supporting themselves before they leave. I saved up for a year before I left the UK in my campervan and had some funds left to go travelling in Thailand, I also rented my house out on AirBnB, and while I’m out now my house is rented out to keep those funds secure.
Places to stay – So from someone who lived in a campervan for the past year and think it’s safe to say getting a warm bed, toilet, shower, clean bedding was going to be enough for places to stay while abroad….how wrong I was. There’s are great hostels out there for very cheap ranging from £3 to £15 around Thailand but I did have a few sleepless nights in some hostels and wished it had aircon, nice bed and a room to myself. To keep it simple I use hostelworld.com to book my rooms as the App is really easy to use and you can select mixed dorm options or single rooms.
Flights– There’s nothing different from a younger backpacker booking a flight via a website like skyscanner.net, www.cheapflights.co.uk , compared to an older backpacker like myself, but we would always want our flight as cheap as possible. Another airline in Thailand is called Nokair.com sometimes don’t show on comparison websites.
Other travel options- If the backpacker can’t afford the flight option then luckily Thailand has some other options to get around the country. I once couldn’t get a cheap enough flight to Bangkok from Chaing Mai, and the train option was fully booked, so I booked the overnight bus which left at 8pm and arrived 6am and this was just 550 baht and booked this with my hostel I was staying at “Sunday Backpackers”. I tried this and wouldn’t recommend this unless you get a 1st class bus where you can lay down fully and not too crowded.
Few advantages of this cheap bus option:
- You were collected from your hostel to the place the bus left for Bangkok.
- You received a bottle of water and biscuits snack for the bus.
- You also received a meal at a service station at 2am just passed the halfway point.
A great website to use to book other travel options other than flights is called 12GoAsia https://12go.asia/en. On here you can book buses, trains and they also look at flights too.
Food- I’m a guy who likes his food and drinks and I’ve seen a lot of backpackers scrimp on funds and eating un nutritional foods, eating leftover pizza from the day before or buying a foot long Subway and having half for lunch and the rest for dinner to save a few pounds. I’m not saying to go out and order 5 star meals but food is your bodies fuel and as an ex Personal Trainer I know the importance of a good diet so I will eat good exciting foods and I’ve noticed older backpackers do the same. I also tried a half day Thai cooking course and really enjoyed it, not only do you learn to cook popular Thai dishes but you get to eat the dishes you made.
Luggage / Backpack- One massive advantage I had before getting the backpack on my back was my travelling around Europe in my campervan because I had already scaled the size of the things I used when I lived at home. So when I was preparing my backpack for Europe I only brought the vital things I used to survive in the campervan. When I was younger I used to have a backpack full of things I wouldn’t use or need as a luxury. I kept it simple and this is what I have in my backpack that weighs just 12KG in a 65 litre backpack.
- Clothes for 5 days of the week (5x Tshirts, 3 pairs of shorts, 5 pairs of underwear)
- Flip Flops.
- 1 set of heavy clothes (Jeans, Hoodie, Trainers, Waterproof Jacket, walking bottoms) Worn for the flight going.
- Wash kit (TeaTree shower gel, Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Shaver, Deodorant)
- Small hand towel as some hostels charge.
- Small first aid kit.
- Drinks mug/ Water mug.
- Electronics (Small laptop, Chargers, Phone power banks x2, Torch, Adapter)
The only things I’ve bought while I’ve been out in Thailand is a few T-shirts, a cap and some bottoms so I could enter the Budda temples as they don’t allow shorts in some of them…..and that’s it. Keep it simple.
Visit the places YOU want to visit, not what people advise or what you read.
If you’re not really wanted to see a certain attraction/ place then don’t waste your time and money. Don’t think you’re going to miss out on things, it may be an older person thing but don’t think you have to visit every attraction recommended or in the guidebook. Go see what interests you, and not your friends.
What I’ve found from this is you’ll not waste money and save time, then when you see something you really want to do you’ll be able to afford it. One example of myself, I really wanted to see these small islands in Greece and instead of going on a boat trip, I hired a boat myself and headed there for half a day. Such a great experience and loved every second.
Sleep is important- I don’t want to sound a total bore but there’s nothing better than getting up to watch the sunrise but the only way you can do this regular is to get a good sleep the night before. When you get up early you have more of the day to do the things you want.
It’s great to meet other travellers and have a few nights out so I now try to do these when I don’t have things planned the next day. Once I went out with some friends but didn’t sleep at all and I was getting picked up at 6.30am to visit the Elephant Sanctuary and I was feeling terrible, great time at the Sanctuary but that was the last time I drank the night before I had something booked or planned.