Backpacking is an adventure combined of hiking, sightseeing, and the great outdoors. It is the ultimate hobby for the true wanderlust by broadening your horizons and immersing yourself in new culture. While backpacking through Europe is a dream of many, people often find it very touristy and even overplayed. All of these countries we have unpacked for you offer a variety of outdoor activities that engage you with the wildlife. These countries will dig you down to your ancestral roots of creating a close knit relationship with nature. We have listed six great backpacking vacation destinations for backpackers that offer once in a lifetime experiences and avoid the crowds.
Thailand is one of the best backpacking vacation destinations. This Southern Asian country’s culture is affordably and has a bountiful amount of sights to see and activities to do. Along the Gulf of Thailand there are stunning beaches to walk across either at sunrise or sunset. As you move closer into the country there are dense jungles that hide all types of animals and birds uncommon in the United States. As you walk the modern streets of Bangkok, the modern traditional culture will reveal itself to you, a foreigner. This country’s well-worn backpacking trails is a desirable destination to both well versed backpackers and those who are new to the game. Surat Thani is a top backpacking destination in Thailand because it offers an authentic Tai experience, away from the tourists. This experience includes exploring temples and the majestic pillar shrine. There are even hired boats to take guided tours of the canals surrounding the city.
“Learn to cook authentic Thai dishes in Chiang Mai, rock-climb the limestone karsts (or watch from the sugar-white beaches) of Railay, and trek through dense jungle and stay in tree-top bungalows in Kanchanaburi.”-Lonely Planet
Right next door to Thailand, is another incredibly culture rich country, Vietnam. Vietnam is full of an energy that is both wild and full of hope. The country is best known for its beaches, rivers, Buddhist pagodas and bustling cities. Cities provide travelers with endless opportunities to explore both the country’s complex past and colonial backstreets for local cuisine. Attractions include taking motorcycle rides through Ho Chi Minh highway or taking a boat ride through Ha Long Bay. Mountain tribes, secluded beaches and breath-taking landscapes are just a few of the reasons why it is considered a backpackers paradise. Hà Giang, Vietnam’s most northern province, is often overlooked by backpackers because it is away from the usual sightseeing hotspots. This city offers adventure in the provincial capital, encounters with rural communities and ancient traditions, all among the jaw-dropping rolling green mountains.
New Zealand is a relatively small island, floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, has a number of beautiful landscapes to show off. It has been called the mecca of backpacking with many diverse options to explore. New Zealand is an ideal location for backpackers who love the great outdoors. The country is the adventure capital of the world. With numerous exuberant activities such as hiking, skydiving, caving, bungy jumping, skiing. All of these activities get you out into the raw nature New Zealand holds. Experiences include trekking in Fiordland, white water rafting, skydiving in Queenstown and even surfing in Raglan, which is known for its unusual black sand coastline. There are multiple bus routes specifically for backpacking, to ensure that getting around is not a hassle. In Raglan you can also visit the beautiful Wainui nature reserve, tour ancient volcanos or visit the luscious green Bridal Veil Falls.
Sri Lanka is an island of natural beauty and the cost of a flight is fairly inexpensive, making it a more and more popular backpacking destination. Surrounded by the Laccadive Sea, Sri Lanka offers a wide variety of coast lines to explore and snorkeling experiences. While increasing in popularity, Sri Lanka has yet to become a major tourist attraction, at least not yet. Thirty years of civil war came to an end in 2009, opening up the availability to become a backpacking attraction. In addition to the gorgeous beaches, sights include tea plantations, wildlife viewing, and jungles exploration. The scenic rail system makes getting from the jungle mountains to white-sand beaches relatively easy.
We now head to South America. Peru is full of fun and adventure; a trek to Machu Picchu, drifting down the Amazon in a canoe and exploring the colorful culture in the Andes. These activities should be on every backpacker’s bucket list. Surfing, available on the Pacific coast, is a great way to unwind and, here, beach parties are a plenty. For a more rural approach, Pisac offers exploration of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. You could also browse for local crafts at the Sunday market. Take a wander through the colonial streets of the Old Town and climbing the crowd-free Pisac ruins. If you are feeling really rambunctious, guided treks and explorations go through the Amazon rainforest. Exploring the country’s capital, Lima, holds many ancient cultural ties and architectural phenomena.
“Trek the ancient Inca trail, puzzle over the mystery of the Nazca lines, and wander the stone temples of Machu Picchu and indulge in local delicacies in Lima”-Lonely Planet
Colombia has been associated with drugs, corruption and crime (most likely a result of US anti-communism media of the 60s). Those that have travelled there, as a less pricy alternative to Peru, have found that Colombia has some of the friendliest and inquisitive people that they have ever encountered. The varied terrain offers many sights, such as the remote beaches, tropical jungles and natural pools surrounding Buenaventura. Exploring the virgin jungle and a night-time cave swim with fluorescent plankton are experiences you will never forget. Colombia is country that holds many close cultural neighbors that if you have some extra times are worth checking out, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama. The Amazon Rainforest also covers almost one-third of Colombia and is the perfect place to experience the jungle.
There are so many backpacking vacation destinations to cross off your list. Europe is not the only continent to backpack through, there are many underrated countries that hold rich culture and nature ties.
Are you interested in finding more adventurous destinations to explore?