Backpacking Asia | Planning Process


When my friend Jackie and I backpacked Europe in 2015 I returned home feeling overwhelmingly pleased and accomplished. I was finally able to cross 'extended travel' off my bucket list! I was also happy to be home and back in the routine of things, but it didn’t take long for the wanderlust bug to bite again. I started looking up articles about Bali's beaches and Thailand's jungles and two months later I was planning our Asia backpacking trip.

I worked full-time all of 2016, planning during my free time. Jackie also got a job as a flight attendant which allowed me to travel to some places for very cheap (Uruguay, Brazil and Costa Rica). We'd also planned to use these airline ‘buddy passes’ to get to Asia but she has since stopped working for them. We will be paying for the airplane tickets out of pocket so if anyone knows of any affordable options, please let me know!

As of right now we plan to leave mid-July 2017, and travel for 6-8 weeks. My Osprey Farpoint 40L is bought and ready to go (!) and we’re putting some final touches on our travel plans. This is where we stand right now:


We decided to fly into Tokyo because it’s one of the biggest hubs in Asia, making it one the cheapest cities to fly into. As of right now we’re looking at a mid-week $468 one-way flight. Flights are always the most expensive part of any trip so hopefully that will be our biggest expense. Our flight back will be covered by American Airlines reward miles.

We decided to by-pass the Philippines (after painstaking deliberation) and head straight to Bali where we’ll spend quite a few days. SO excited for the blue-water beaches and canopies. Follow my Instagram to see the pictures! ;) 

We’re then heading to Singapore for a couple of days and onward to Kuala Lampur in Malaysia. Both of these are really cheap to fly to ($20 and $31, respectively) and they seem like cool, modern cities to check out. 

From there we’re flying to MALDIVES. Yes, beautiful Maldives. This was kind of an impulsive decision but I’ve been dyiiiiiiing to go and it’s only around $120 to fly there from Malaysia – compared to $1400 from the states. It’s a bit out of the way but we figured it’d be our best chance to go.

From there we fly back to Thailand. There’s quite a few places in Thailand we want to see so we’re hitting up a few cities. I really want to go to Ko Phi Phi (or any of the Phi Phi islands), and Jackie really wanted to see elephants so we’re going to Chiang Mai to visit Elephant Nature Park. I recently wrote an article on the importance of ethical traveling and avoiding certain tourist wildlife activities - elephant riding being one of them. You can read it here.

Next on the list is Siem Reap. We’re flying there straight from Chiang Mai (which is more expensive than a bus but SO much more convenient). Of course we’re going there to see Angkor Wat. From what I understand, it’s basically a sin to backpack SE Asia and not visit Angkor Wat.

Finally we fly to Hanoi, Vietnam which is our last destination before heading home. I hope to take a junk boat tour there, which I’ve heard awesome things about!

And that’s the basic gist of where our Asia planning is right now. Jackie and I are both pretty lenient as where to go and what to do so we don’t necessarily like to plan everything in advance. If you guys have any suggestions or ideas feel to email me or send me a message on Instagram! I would especially love to hear from you if you’ve backpacked Asia before and have experience on any of these destinations.