Backpacking is one of our favourite ways to travel, its easier on the bank account and you end up seeing and doing a whole lot more than on your standard beach holiday! Here are our favourite ten backpacking destinations you simply have to visit.
Thailand is a tried and tested destination that never fails to deliver. In fact the country is so synonymous with backpacking they even made a film with Leonardo Di Caprio about it. Its enchanting temples, stunning jungle forests, jewel like islands and mouthwatering food are enough to keep any intrepid traveler occupied. Thanks to its long-standing love affair with backpackers Thailand is almost tailor made for the experience with countless hostels, transport links and route options. On arrival in Bangkok a trip to Khao San Road is the perfect way to see a thriving embodiment of the backpacking experience. Those on a budget can head up to the charismatic north with its charming rural villages where you can easily live on a few dollars a day whilst explore the jungles that are home to elephants and tigers. Those looking for island adventures can roam the tropical beaches of Koh Tao, Ko Phi Phi and Koh Pha Ngan, where you can scuba dive amongst the teeming coral reefs or party the night away at the famous 'Full Moon Party'. No matter where, or how far your trip takes you, Thailand will always provide new surprises.
Anyone who has been to India will tell you that it is an assualt on the senses, from its blistering heat to the smells, sounds and hustle and bustle of its huge cities. They will also tell you that it is entirely worth the culture shock. The sheer size of India means there's a myriad of possible travelling adventures you could embark on. The north plays home to the 'land of kings' littered with historic sites and wonders from the age of the maharajas, which includes the iconic Taj Mahal. Further north still are the imperious and beautiful Himalaya mountains where you can take hikes or experience life in an Ashram. The lingering Portuguese influence in Goa makes it an incredible cultural melting pot well worth a visit. India is incredible value for money as well with the archetypal ramshackle hostel costing even less than Thailand, but if you feel the desire to pamper yourself with a few creature comforts it won't break the bank either. Its pretty much impossible to see all of India at once so be sure to come back for more!
Australia can lay claim to being home to a huge amount of backpacking culture. The vast country is awash with journeyers from around the world all there to take in the chilled Aussie atmosphere whilst seeing some of the most varied and awe inspiring landscapes out there. The Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island, Byron Bay, the Blue Mountains, Swan Valley, and the stuff of Aboriginal legend, Uluru are amongst the highlights to visit. Unfortunately not as economical as our previous picks, many end up choosing to take out a working visa and fully immerse themselves in the Australian way of life. Whether that's in one of its spirited cities, along its sandy coastline or in the midst of its boundless countryside.
Bali is another Mecca for backpackers, but this country of islands has even more to offer than just its sunkissed beaches and perfect surf. Fortunately there are not many easier places to explore; the emblematic scooter can be rented for pocket change and will quickly get you around the rainforested inlands. Then there are the literal thousands of islands out there to be discovered by means of the numerous and affordable boat trips available around the country. The best part is the further you explore off the beaten track the cheaper it gets!
Nothing creates a unique culture quite like an island nation shut off from the rest of the world for decades. Home of rum, cigars and salsa there's plenty to like here and with globalisation creeping in every year there's a certain see-it-before-its-gone urgency that puts this unparalleled island high on the list. Exploring the country on its ancient and characterful buses is the best way to get around. You won't be paying a king's ransom for accommodation either with the country's extensive network of family run B&Bs offering very reasonable rates. To find one of these casas particulares just look for any house with a blue sign on the door, and be ready to be welcomed into someone's home, simple!