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An In-Depth Guide to Choosing the Best Backpacking Gear

An In-Depth Guide to Choosing the Best Backpacking Gear

I get a lot of questions about my travel gear. The truth is that because of the nature of my work I carry more gear than the average traveler ever needs. A big part of my job is capturing the perfect photo, lining up epic video footage and more.  In fact, I lug around an entire backpack that’s devoted solely to cameras, tablets, wires, external hard drives, etc.

Chances are you won’t need everything on this travel gear list. That being said I do have some favorite items, brands, and devices I recommend. These are pieces of travel gear that everyone will find helpful.

Hands down, one of the most important items of your travel gear is luggage. It is vital to pick quality luggage that caters to your needs. This is stuff you will be carrying down city streets, through busy airports, and loading on and off buses.

For the most part, I still travel with a backpack. But when my family comes to visit they use hand luggage so I have plenty of experience carrying their luggage from A to B. ( I’m a nice guy what can I say)

There are long stretches of time where you can’t get to your luggage. Times where you have hours of sitting there with nothing to do or walking over ten miles a day. Getting the durable, and high-quality clothes that were designed with these types of situations in mind is something to think about when getting ready to travel.  That being said you don’t need a completely new wardrobe just a few items to wear in certain situations.

Travel Insurance

It is vital to make sure you are protected when backpacking around the world. Travel is unpredictable so it is not smart to travel without insurance.

For travel insurance I recommend Roam RIght

Backpacking Thailand best travel insruance

Best Backpacking Gear: Backpacks

It is important to have a good travel backpack.

A couple things to look for are multiple compartments, water resistance, internal frame, and padding.

As I go into depth about why these are important in my post about finding the best travel backpacker,

These are a couple I highly recommend.

Osprey Farpoint

Travel Gear

Why I like it: Osprey is my favorite backpack brand. I like the Osprey Farpoint because it has zippers you can lock, a day pack you can unzip, and has light wire suspension.

Amazon Rating 4.7 out of 5

Osprey Porter –

Why I like it: The Osprey Porter is much smaller than the Farpoint for those seeking a smaller backpack. It is simple and comfortable. The porter is great for both long and short trips and one of the best backpacking gear.

Amazon Rating 4.8 out of 5

Kealty Redwing

Why I like it: Kealty is a brand that is known for making extremely reliable and durable. They backpacks are great for organization and high quality.

Tortuga Travel Backpack

Why I like it: I like Tortuga backpack because of you can carry it on a plane.

Travel Jacket – This jacket was designed with travelers in mind. The jacket is also water resistant, as well as cool looking. A couple features about this jacket that won my heart is the number of pockets. (There are two pockets on the chest that you can open from the outside or inside of the jacket)  These pockets are the perfect size for a passport, wallet, or phone.

However, I think my favorite feature of this amazing jacket is the huge side pockets. There are big enough that I can fit a paper back book or even a 7″ tablet inside the pocket comfortably. If I am on the go, I don’t have to open my luggage to stuff these items in. I just pop them into these massive pockets, rush off, and easily pull them out on the plane. It is awesome!

REI

REI is well known amoung travelers.  fantastic website with top of the line travel gear. They offer everything from clothes to backpacks.

Ex Officio

I Love Ex Officio. They make high quality clothes with travelers in mind.  I love their stuff. The best backpacking gear they make is the Storm Logic Jacket. It doubles as a neck pillow! How cool is that feature.

Prana

This is another high quality brand that offers many styles and well made products. They make cool clothes that will stand the test of time, and a great products to consider when looking for the best backpacking gear.

Patagonia

Patagonia is not the cheapest brand on the list but I don’t mind spend the extra cash to support a good cause. They are socially responsible and they have a mission to help preserve the environment. So while not the cheapest clothes you are supporting a good cause, ever purchases means that you donated to charities.  On Black, Friday Patagonia donated 100%  of their profits to grassroots conservation efforts. In that one day, they raised $10 million to help the environment.

Best Backpacking Camera Gear

Canon EOS Rebel T6

Canon Rebel T 6

Canon is my favorite brand of camera. I find the camera’s extremely user-friendly. They deliver high-quality shots and aren’t too expensive when you compare them to other SLR’s. There are definitely high quality camera on the market but they are pretty expensive.The price of the canon fits into a budget and the pictures are high quality.

Check out the Canon EOS Rebel T6

Steady Camera – DJI Osmo

DJi Osmo best backpacking gear

If you are looking to make an epic video of your travels this awesome product by DJI takes some amazing steady shots. It has a long battery life, gets smooth shots and pans. Plus it is simple and easy to use.

I am in love with my DJI Osmo

Drone: DJI Mavic

Mavic Dji Best backpacking gear

Drones are awesome. They help you get some amazing aerial footage of the world. DJI is the world leader, and the Mavic is a portable drone. The drone folds to the size of a water bottle making it easy to travel with it. Hands down the Mavic is my new favorite piece of backpacking gear.

A couple awesome feature of the Mavic are that it will track you. So if you are going on a epic hike just send the Mavic into the air, tell it to track you, and start walking. it really works.

 

Check out the Mavic here.

Karma – A product I would like to recommend is the Go Pro drone because it is a drone, but also doubles as a steady cam. I’m a big fan of the Go Pro Camera’s and but no experience with the Karma because I have not tested it.  However, feel free to research it. I know the drone itself is cheaper but if you have to invest in a Go Pro camera it becomes around the to around the same price of the Mavic.

Here is a quick clip of my first flight wit the Drone. I am not controlling it at all. It is tracking me. How cool is this! 

 

Day Pack-  A day pack it good because you can lock up most of your belongings and just take out what is necessary.  I think a day pack is among the best backpacking gear when traveling.

The day pack is for carrying the camera, drone ,and items that are essential to your day.

I use this awesome ManFrotto Pack

Man Frotto Backpack

How much to do I need to pack for traveling?

I have a basic packing list that includes

2- Pair of Jeans

4- T shirts

1- Hoodie/Sweater

1- Light/Heavy jacket ( depending on where I am going)

1- Pair shorts ( 2 if I am going to a summer destination)

1 – Pair of board shorts

4 – Pair of socks

1 – Travel Buff

4- Paris of Exoffico underwear

This is most of the travel gear I carry on the road. Though the gear I have might not be the same gear you need. Look at what you will be doing, the weather, and get the right gear.

Experiencing an Onsen and the Rules of Visiting a Japanese Bath House

Experiencing an Onsen and the Rules of Visiting a Japanese Bath House

Let’s talk about proper Japanese Bath House Etiquette. Now, I am not a luxurious traveler. Loud hostel dorm rooms, red eye flights, and uncomfortable day long bus rides are all part of my weekly routine. One luxury I do allow myself is breathing in the steamy air and soaking in the scorching water of a hot spring or bathhouse. Sometimes we all need to wash the road off us!

Am I right?

It goes without saying that visiting the famed bathhouses in Japan was a huge bucket list item for me. Recently I paid a few of these bath houses a visit. I had an incredible day as I soaked in every moment of my bathhouse experience in Aomori. (pun intended) I was fresh of a plane after a whirlwind 48  hours in Tokyo. A bath was just what I needed.

However, as travelers, there are a few rules and customs to pay attention to before visiting an Onsen or Sento (bathhouses) for the first time. They are one of the reasons I fell in love with Aomori.  In this post we will talk about proper Japanese Bath House Etiquttte.

Bath houses I visited in Aomori. 

A Few Rules before visiting an Onsens: Japanese Bath House Etiquette

Onsen Etiquette

Japanese Bath House Etiquette – Are Tattoo’s Allowed in a Japanese Bath House Tattoo’s

Blessed Tattoos

“Are Tattoo’s allowed in Japanese bath houses?”. This is probably the most common question when it comes to visiting a bath house. Sadly, no. If you have tattoo’s most likely they will deny you entry to the bath.

Tattoos have a bad reputation in Japan and are often seen as a mark of being in the Yakuza so entering with them is not proper Japanese Bath House Etiquttte. That being said there are still a few ways to visit the Japanese bath with tattoos.

A few ideas on how to visit a Onsen with a tattoo. 

1- Get a concealer patch. It is possible to find patches that cover your tattoo’s.
2- Ask if there is an empty bath. I have a huge Sak Yant on my back and a handful of other travel tattoos. Luckily when I visited Hakkoda Hotel they had an empty bath that they let me use.
3- Some places might not mind. One bath house in Japan they let me go in even without concealing my tattoo’s. It’s important to be polite and ask. Never just assume you can go in with tattoos.

Wash Before Entering the Bath.

There are little stools and buckets around the path. Use the bucket and nearby hose to wash and rinse yourself off before entering and exiting the bath.

Clean yourself thoroughly. The whole point of washing yourself off is to make yourself clean enough to bathe with other people.
No clothes

No Clothes Allowed

Onsen’s and Sento’s are a no clothes activity. You will be naked surrounded by naked strangers. If this bothers you then you’ll need to opt for a hotel room that has a private bath house. However, these rooms are expensive (at least a few hundred dollars a night), and you will not get the full Onsen experience.

A much cheaper option is to cover yourself with a small towel until just before you get into the bath. Then rest the towel on your head, or around your neck until you are ready to get out.

Nowadays most Onsen and Sento have separate baths for men and women. Traditionally bath houses were co-ed and some still follow this are. Make sure to know what type of bath you’re going into, or you could be in for a surprise.

Show Respect

Respect is a huge part of Japanese culture, and it is important to show as much respect as possible when visiting this wonderful country. This applies to a Japanese Onsen as well. Many people come to the baths to unwind and relax their mind.

Silence is appreciated but talking quietly is fine. Don’t yell across the bath, or splash around in the water. A good rule to have proper Japanese Bath House Etiquette is to imagine your in a flooded library.

Rinse and Repeat

Many of the bathhouses have a cold water pool. Once you have had enough heat, send a shock to your senses by dipping in the frigid water. You will immediately wake from your hot water coma. After the cold water jars you awake head back to the bath and bask in comfort as the warm water engulfs you.

Leave Your Things in the Dressing Room.

Don’t stress about leaving your clothes, wallet, and phone in the changing room before entering the bath area. Theft in Japan is extremely rare. Nobody is going to take your things.

Even hiking in Aomori, I was amazed because if someone dropped something on the trail, the next person to see it would place it on a rail or rock. That way when the person came back for it they would find it easily. People respect each other too much in Japan to steal stuff.

Watch What Other People Do

If in doubt mimic your neighbors. If you are worried, you are doing something wrong just imitate the people around, and you will be okay.

An Onsen is a great traditional experience to have when traveling Japan. This mini guide will help you be prepared for what is expected when taking a Japanese bath and help you get the most out of your time.

What do you think of these rules for a Japanese Bathhouse? Is this an experience you would like when visiting Japan?

How to Spend 48 Hours in Tokyo

How to Spend 48 Hours in Tokyo

Japan has been a dream destination of mine for years. I’ve always felt pulled towards the craggy mountains, fresh food, and rich culture that has made the country famous among travelers.

That same pull is the reason while I’ve not visited Japan until recently. I was scared that my expectations of the country were too high that Japan could never live up to them. Man, was I wrong; and while my visit was shorter than I liked it only increased my longing to go back and explore more of the country.

meiji

Landing in Tokyo, after a 14-hour flight, I knew I had to keep my energy high in order to combat jet lag. After checking into my room, I threw my bags down, chugged a coffee, and immediately headed into the heart of Tokyo.

How to spend 48 Hours in Toyko

20-shopping-area-traffic-in-motion

I only had 48 hours to see the city and I were determined to make the most out of it. The next two days was a beautiful whirlwind as I saw and experienced everything I could in the city.

This is the route I took, and it’s an excellent route to follow if you have limited time in this bright and lively city.

Asakusa / Sanja Shrine

tokyo-market

My first stop in Tokyo and my introduction to Japan was Asakusa Market. This is a famous street market for tourist, and locals visiting Tokyo. I admired the matching white and red shop decorations. I stopped check out the soft silky Kimonos and the hand engraved rice bowls the were ornately decorated.

My nose caught a sweet scent in the air. My eyes widen as I turned towards a corner shop. There windows filled with fresh cookies. A man sat over a stove filling a cookie cutter at the end of a cast iron pole and placing it over the fire.

I knew I had to try the Ningyo-Yaki he was cooking. Ningyo-Yaki is a cookie filled with a red bean paste called “Anko”. I couldn’t say no as my friend Ms. June bought us a bag.

Another traveler wandered up to us asking what we were eating. It turns out he lives an hour from where I grew up in Ohio. It was the first of three people I met on this trip that lives within a couple of hours from where I grew up. It always amazes me what a small world we live in.

We snacked wandering through the rest of the brightly colored stalls. I wanted something to remember my first day in Japan and found perfect chopsticks set that was under $5.

Ms. June also bought me a fancy Tenugui, which is a multi-purposed dyed cloth which is used for things such as hats, greeting cards, or wall decorations.

Asakusa is a fun, and lively market and a fantastic place to get gifts for others, or even a couple items for yourself.

At the end of the market is Asakusa Shrine or better known as Sanja-Shrine. This is one of the most famous Shinto shrines in the city.

Asakusa packs in shopping, treats, culture, and a Shinto Shrine into one stop. This makes it a must when visiting Tokyo.

Shinjuku

shinjuku

Our next stop was Shinjuku right in downtown Tokyo. It is a major gathering hub in the city. Neon signs brighten the streets as waves of people shop, eat , and mingle.

The atmosphere is vibrant similar to Times Square in New York. We spent an hour wandering the shops and hunting for the best view of the downtown.

Dinner – Raku

raku

Not far from Shinjuku is Raku, an amazing local restaurant. Being my first dinner in Japan, I wanted to try everything. Some core principles of Japanese culture is a deep level of respect and perfection.

Every task is done with the attitude of mastering it. It brings quality and care that shows throughout the entire country. One that we don’t seem to have in America.

This carries over to food as well. You can see the love they put into preparing the food from the way the meals are cooked to how they are presented. The food is flavorful and fresh. Everything from the tofu to the Miso Soup was cooked perfectly and presented beautifully.

This attitude towards food is probably why Tokyo has over 226 Millen rated restaurants, and some of the best food in the entire world.

The courses were endless, and I enjoyed ever bite.

48 Hours in Tokyo – Day 2

Ginza

48-hours-in-tokyo-ginza

The next morning my first stop was Ginza. A lovely area of the city to explore. Ginza is where you can find the world renowned Sushi Chef Jiro Ono. The part of Tokyo is famous for its high-quality shopping and restaurants.

While it caters more towards the luxury crowd, Ginza is still a beautiful area of the city to walk around. There are some restaurants, shops, and entertainment that won’t break your budget. My favorite part of my afternoon in Ginza learning the basics of Origami.

Meiji Shrine

6-meiji-shrine-tokyo

Next, I ventured to my favorite area of Tokyo. The Meiji Shrine. Emperor Meiji is one of the most well-known Emperors in Japanese history. This Shrine is dedicated to him and Empress Shōken. Meiji is the beloved Emperor from the 18th century who took Japan into the modern era.

We walked through the lush green gardens, and through the uneven maze of trees. The dirt paths led us beside a little pond. Catfish excitedly swam in circles waiting for crumbs. Walking through the shrine and gardens you fill the overwhelming love and affection they have for Emperor Meiji.

After about 20 minutes we reached the Shrine. A massive building complex full of engravings and decoration.

We paid our respects to the Emperor as a white-clad bride, and her wedding procession zigzagged through the crowds.

Making my way down the stairs, I filled out my first Ema. An Ema is a prayer or wish written on a wooden tablet. The Ema hangs on the wall until a monk reads it, he then prays for your wish before burning the tablet as an offering to God. I wished from good health, success for my blog, and peace.

It was mid-afternoon now, and I was cutting it close as there were still a couple of things left I wanted to see.

Nezu Museum

7-nezu-mesuem-48-hours-in-toyko

Hopping in a cab to save on time we rushed to Nezu Museum. Bright reds, crisp yellows, and mossy greens bathed the beautiful gardens outside. Strolling the stony paths I lost myself admiring the statues.

Over a babbling brook quaint tea houses poked out of the foliage, barely visible through the forest full of red and yellow leaves. I quickly fell in love with this garden and could have easily spent another hour there.

Takeshita Dori Market

8teyan-tei-resteruant-tokyo

By the time we headed got to Takeshita Dori market the sun was down. This market is filled with little knickknacks, trinkets vibrant neon signs, and has everything from furry panda hoodies, to green tea kit kats.

Our dinner was enjoyed in a traditional Japanese Restaurant. We sat crossed legged in a room as once again I stuffed myself to a never-ending amount of mouth-watering food. My favorite was the potato and cheese stuffed crochets with a raw egg yolk to dip them in. I ate at least 5 of these bad boy.

While I only had 48 hours in Tokyo everything I saw, tasted, and experienced made me fall in love with it. It is a city I have barely scratched the surface of and one I can’t wait to explore more.

Backpacking Indonesia: A Full and Complete Travel Guide

Backpacking Indonesia: A Full and Complete Travel Guide

Backpacking Indonesia is a take a journey into a different world.

I have spent months backpacking Indonesia. I’ve had wild adventures with Orangutans, explored remote villages in Wakatobi, and gone surfing in Bali.

However, I have only scratched the surface of the adventures, and rich culture that backpacking Indonesia has to offer travelers. This post highlights all the backpacking Indonesia travel tips I have learned throughout my journeys into one of the best countries in Southeast Asia.

indonesia-travel

Backpacking Indonesia – Why Go?

One of the reasons I love Indonesia is because of all the exciting adventures the country holds. Indonesia offers some experiences that no other country in Southeast Asia can offer.

Indonesia is made up of 17,000 islands, out of which over 900 have people living on them. Across these thousands of islands are over 300 different cultures. All these islands are different both in looks and experiences.

One reason to travel to Indonesia is because it is a vast country made up of islands. This means it is easy to find remote locations, and stray off the beaten path. Trek through the jungles in search of the Komodo Dragons, or bum out on the beaches of Bali; Indonesia has something for everyone.

When to travel to Indonesia

The temperature tends to stay between 70 to 90 F year round.Yep, it is pretty much paradise. Although, the country does have a wet and dry season.

Wet Season – The wet season begins at the end of October and goes until April. This is still a good time to go backpacking through Indonesia just make sure to pack smarter.

Dry season – Dry season begins in May and goes until October.

However, Indonesia is so big that in some places, like Sumatra the seasons are switched.

Peak Tourist Season – The peak tourist season in Indonesia is from mid-summer to the mid-September. This means slightly higher prices, and dealing with larger crowds.

Before Backpacking Indonesia

backpacking-indonesia-kids

How much does it cost to travel Indonesia

Indonesia is affordable to backpackers, and travelers. In fact, you can easily get by with 600-1000 USD a month.

Accommodation – It is easy to find good, and cheap hostels on sites like hostelworld. Indonesia has a variety of hostels to choose from.

For those looking for a little more privacy, Airbnb is a good option.

Right now you can save $35 OFF your first stay with Airbnb using this link.

Daily Budget- This depends on you. You can travel Indonesia for $20 a day if you watch your money. However, A safer budget for Indonesia is around $30 -$40 USD a day.

Travel Insurance- It is always important to travel with insurance. It isn’t so pricey and protects you, and your savings. Traveling without insurance is not smart plain and simple.

For Insurance I use RoamRight. It is a company I love!

Backpacking Thailand best travel insruance

Tour Companies

Some people are who are nervous about traveling to Southeast Asia solo and would rather explore on a tour. While I understand this fear I have to say that I have not had one problem when backpacking Indonesia.

However, a tour is a great way to meet other backpackers and Indonesia travelers. A tour is a great option for those a little nervous.

A couple tour companies I trust are

Best Places to Visit When Backpacking Indonesia

Jakarta

The capital city offers a lot of markets, shopping, and temples. Jakarta is a busy city and has a population of over 9 million people. That is a ton of people. Personally, I wouldn’t suggest spending more than a few days in Jakarta. Indonesia offers destinations that are more fun and exotic.

Things to see in Jakarta.

  • National Museum
  • Grand Indonesia Shopping Town
  • Taman Mini Indonesia

Best Day Trips from Jakarta

Backpacking Indonesia

Bogor – The third largest city in Indonesia offers sits at a higher elevation. This means cooler temperatures and less humidity. Bogor also has famed botanical gardens and the presidential palace.

Pelabuhan – This is a wonderful fishing village. The surrounding area also has some fantastic resorts for those waiting a relaxed holiday.

Borobudur – In all honest Borobudur isn’t a day trip. But Jakarta is a good spot for a home base for those heading to Indonesia’s most famous temple. Borobudur is an hour flight or ten-hour bus ride from Jakarta which means you can be there and back to the city within a few days.

Borneo

backpacking-indnoesia-travel-guide-1

The third largest island in the world offers some unique wildlife experiences. This thick jungle is beautiful, and there are some great tours that let you see it. One of my favorites is the tour to Camp Leaky to see the wild orangutans. The few days I have spent in Borneo are some of my favorite in Indonesia.

Things to do Backpacking Borneo

River Cruise – Spend a few days cruising down the rivers and deep into the jungles of Borneo. You have the chance to see crocodiles, proboscis monkeys, and much more wild life.

See the Orangutans – This is part of your journey when traveling down the river. Borneo is an Orangutans pervasive. It is only one of two places in the world where you can see these impressive “humans” of the forest.

Get up close and personal with these mesmerizing creatures, trust me, it is worth it.

Wakatobi

Indonesia Travel Guide

Photo by JourneyWonders 

Wakatobi and the surrounding islands are a great hotspot for those waiting to get away from the touristic epicenters of Jakarta or Bail. Wakatobi has a chill atmosphere. However, Wakatobi has some amazing experiences.

Things to do when Backpacking Wakatobi

Scuba Diving – Wakatobi has some of the most diverse, and impressive scuba diving in the world. One reason I love the diving in Wakatobi is that not many people know about it. Yep, Wakatobi has insane diving, yet, it is still off the radar. There is a good chance you get these waters to yourself.

Snorkeling – If scuba diving is not your cup of tea then you are in luck. Wakatobi also offers excellent snorkeling showcasing a variety of colorful coral reefs.

Bajo Village – I loved my day at the Bajo Village. This cultural experience takes you to a remote people that live their entire lives on the water. Thier houses are built on stilts in the ocean, and at low tides, they wade out to collect shrimp and out seafood snacks.

Bali

indoneisa-travel-guide

Bali is the grand jewel for travelers backpacking Indonesia. Bali has soft sandy beaches, lush, rice fields, temples to explore. It is a hotspot for yoga, diving, and snorkeling. Bali is the biggest tourism destination in Indonesia.

Ululwata – This cliffside temples complex is a must see when visiting Bali. Uluwatu offers cultural story tellings, scenic sunsets, and monkeys.

Shopping – Bali has fantastic markets to explore, and see. Haggle and get some cool souvenirs

Learn to Surf- Looking to catch some waves. Bali is a great place to learn to surf. In fact, the first (and one of the only) wave I ever caught was in there. There are some awesome surf schools for great prices.

Explore the rice fields- There has some beautiful rice plantations. Rent a bike take some scenic drives or there are even opportunities to do home stays and work in the rice fields for a day. Just are just a few of the many things to do in Bali.

Komodo National Park

Indonesia Travel Guide

Without a doubt one of my favorite stops when backpacking Indonesia is Komodo. This is a land of dragons, indescribable islands, and crystal clear water. Komodo is awesome and a perfect stop for adventure travelers.

Things to do inKomodo

There are a ton of things to do in Labuan Bajo. Here are a few of my favorites.

Trek to See Dragons – Hiking the across a couple incredible islands of Komodo and Rinca to see Komodo Dragons is one experience you will not forget anytime soon.

Scuba Dive – Manta Point is a dive spot in Komodo. On this dive you have a high chance of seeing Manta Rays.

Padar Island – Padar is one of the most stunning Islands I’ve been seen.  Taking a day trip here is worthwhile.

Other Popular Things to do in Indonesia

padar island indonesia

  • Sekumpul Waterfalls,
  • Prambanan Temples
  • The Green Land of Jatiluwih
  • Liberty Shipwreck
  • Lijen Crater
  • Raja Ampat Islands

Some of these tours are tricky to book, but most of them can be found and TripAdvisor’s Indonesia page.

Backpacking Indonesia is a trip that you will remember for a long time to come. When traveling to Indonesia make sure to use these backpacking Indonesia trips. They will help you navigate some of the best spots the country has to offer.

The Perfect Singapore Itinerary for 4 Days

The Perfect Singapore Itinerary for 4 Days

So you have 4 days in Singapore! Don’t worry, this Singapore 4 day itinerary will help you discover everything the country has to offer.

Singapore is a tiny country located just below Malaysia. While it only takes around 40 minutes to travel from one side of the country to the other, it is still important to have a Singapore Itinerary. This will make sure you hit all the right area, sights, and light shows the city has to offer. There are many serviced apartments that make staying in the city affordable.

In this post, I will guide you on the perfect Singapore Itinerary for 4 days.

Singapore city

Why Visit Singapore?

But before we get to the Singapore Itinerary I want to talk about a couple of reasons why I love Singapore.

The Atmosphere – Singapore has an entirely different atmosphere than anywhere else in the rest of Southeast Asia. It has a lively, almost futuristic buzz throughout the city.

The Food – Another reason I love Singapore, and those that have been will agree, is that food. The city is famous for Hawker Stalls where you can grab a variety of different foods from all over the world.

Singapore Itinerary 4 Days

Singapore Itinerary 4 days

Day 1 – I suggest taking your first day in Singapore slow. Enjoy trying snacks at local food vendors, wandering into shops, and walking around the city. When you get hungry enough for an entire meal head to Little India and indulge yourself. After your lunch, you can work off those calories by exploring the great shopping and temples around Little India.

After Little India head to the Asian Civilizations Museum. This is the oldest museum in Singapore and houses national treasures like the Singapore stone which dates back almost 1,000 years.

At 8 P.M. head to the waterfront to catch the spectacular light show from the Marina Bay Sands. ( On Fridays and Saturdays there is an encore light show at 11 P.M.)

I found the best spot to watch the light show is by the Merlion statue.

Day 2 – First, enjoy the morning. If your like me that means a good book and a couple of pots of coffee ( I am a coffee addict). Once you are caffeine fueled, it is time to head back out into Singapore. If you want to do, some more shopping take a bus or cab to Orchard Rd. ( Even Lonely Planet says ION Orchard is a shoppers paradise.)

Next, head to Chinatown. – I would wait until eating until I get there. Take some time to explore the area of the city and check out the shops.

After Chinatown, I would head back to your hotel to relax ( No 4 day Singapore Itinerary is complete without a little relaxation time). However, if you don’t feel like relaxing then there more things to see around the city such as the Trick Eye Museum, or Mt. Faber Park.

At 7:45 p.m. head to the Garden by the Bay to experience an authentic sound and light show. This was one of my highlights of visiting Singapore.

Day 3- We will use day three to get catch any last minute sites we missed. Hire bikes to get a good view of the city while traveling around to the different spots like Singapore Flyer, and the Tiger Sky Tower.

Day 4 – The last day will be relaxing. After breakfast hop on the monorail and head to Sentosa Island where you would spend most of the day. Whether you are after attractions, beaches, or nature, they are easy to find on Sentosa.

Pick the activities that look fun for you and have a fantastic day choosing your own adventures in Singapore.

For your last evening in Singapore, and if you have the budget, go to the Marina Bay Sands Observation Deck. From the top of the deck treat yourself to a birds-eye view of the city and lets you reflect on your time in the city.

Singapore is an amazing city. This Singapore Itinerary for 4 days will take you through all the highlights of the city while allowing you to discover the vibrant atmosphere the city has to offer.

Related Post: Best Way to Get from Malaysia to Singapore / 5 Awesome Things to do in Singapore For Next to Nothing / A Comprehensive List of Malaysia Travel Tips

Backpacking Thailand: Sensational Tips for the Land of Smiles

Backpacking Thailand: Sensational Tips for the Land of Smiles

Backpacking Thailand is an important part of most travels heading into the wondrous part of the world known as South East Asia. In fact Thailand is one most peoples backpacking through Asia itinerary for a few reasons.

I mean, Thailand’s culture is friendly ( though it seems backwards sometimes), the food delicious, the islands, like Koh Lipe , are picturesque, and the nightlife is out of control.

Mix that all up with the cheap price tag, and it is easy to see why Thailand draws hundreds of thousands of tourist and backpackers every year. After all what more do backpackers want!?

Chaing Mai Backpacking

Before we get any further, I am going to come clean. I have a massive love affair with Thailand so that this post might seem a little bias about the awesomeness of the country. If you don’t stay on your toes you’ll be sucked into the culture and soon be head over heels in love.

While it is impossible to sum up such a complex and beautiful country in a couple of thousand words, this guide will help give you the information you need to start planning your travels in Thailand.

After reading this guide, you will have a better understanding of what to do and what to expect when backpacking Thailand.

So, if you are backpacking Thailand you are in the right place.

Know I know what you are saying to yourself, ” No offense, Stephen….but there are a ton of backpacking Thailand blog post, why should we listen to yours?”. 

Vaild question! Well, one reason is that I have spent over a year of my life traveling the country. It is also a country I have lived in twice. Basically (not to talk myself up) but I have spent more than my fair share of time backpacking Thailand.

Why Go Backpacking in Thailand

Thailand Islands - Backpacking Thaland

Let’s talk about why you should take a trip backpacking Thailand.

Thailand is special because it caters to every traveler need, and also every type of traveler. Whether you are a luxury traveler or a dirty backpacker (like myself), you are going to get the trip you want.

A lot of backpackers travel Thailand to party all nights on the islands like Koh Phangan.

Looking to sip cocktails, sit on the beach, and never leave the resort then head to Koh Samui.

Others, like myself, love the north of Thailand for the trekking, road trips, and culture.

Thailand is a country that caters to your every need, and you can have whatever type of trip you want.

Best Time to Visit Thailand

Peak season- Thailand’s peak tourist season is from November to February.

Weather- There are two major seasons in Thailand. Hot/rainy, and warm/dry.

Summer Temperatures – Summer in Thailand is March to June. April tends to be the hottest month with temperatures being around 96 °F to 104 °F (36-40 °C).

Winter Temperatures – Thailand cools off November to February. Temperatures are still warm. Somewhere around 80 °F. (30ish °C)

How Much to Budget when Backpacking Thailand

Backpacking Thailand

Monthly Budget – The cost of backpacking Thailand varies a lot. The country has a ton of fun activities to indulge. Backpacking Thailand on a small budget will cost around $900.

However, it is possible to backpack Thailand cheaper. I’ve known people to travel Thailand for $600 a month.

However, I wouldn’t recommend it. Why would you want to fly all the way to Thailand to sit in a hostel eating noodles? Make sure you have some cash to have some fun right?

If you want to add scuba diving, island hopping, partying,a Sak Yant tattoo, trekking, motorbike rentals, and other things I would budget for at least $1200 a month.

Daily Budget – I’ve spent less than $10 a day in Thailand and more than $100. It depends on what you are doing. A safe backpacking Thailand budget is $30 a day.

For more info on the cost of backpacking thailand check out Nomadic Matt’s post How Much does a Holiday in Thailand Cost and Backpacker Banter post How Much to Budget for a Month in Thailand.

Things to Know Before Heading to Thailand.

Flight – Flights to Thailand are cheaper than you think. I’ve flown from the U.S. to Thailand one way for under $300. Using some tricks to find insanely cheap flight, and knowing the right websites like Kayak Flights is essential to finding a right flight.

Travel Insurance – I use RoamRight for all my travel insurance. They are a great company, and I have never had a problem with them.

Here is why travel insurance is a must. Dengue is rare in Thailand, but it does happen. I have a friend that just got Dengue Fever in Thailand.

She spent five days in the hospital, and her bill was over $5,000. Luckily she had insurance, and they covered the whole thing.

Dengue might be rare in Thailand, but it does happen.

Another buddy of mine got bit by a dog and had to get $1600 in shots.

Which the insurance covered.

Backpacking Thailand best travel insruance

Where to Stay in Thailand

I recommend a couple of type of accommodations

Airbnb – Renting a room in a house is a fantastic way to meets some locals. There are cheaper ways to stay in Aisa, bit Airbnb is a good option if you are looking for privacy or staying with a local.

Also, Airbnb is cheap if you are staying in the same city in Thailand for a month or longer.

(Get $35 OFF your first stay with Airbnb completely FREE when you use this link)

Hostel –Hostels in Thailand are awesome! I live in hostels and Thailand has a few of my favorites. Hostels are a great way to meet like-minded travelers.

I always use Hostelworld when booking my hostels.

I’ll tell you more about what hostels are the best in Thailand when we discuss cities. A few of my favorite are Lub’d in Bangkok.

Hotels: Thailand has some fantastic hotels that won’t break the bank. For example these awesome hotels in Chiang Mai.

Eating in Thailand

Things to eat in Thailand

The food… man oh man the food. A couple of the best dishes are the rich coconut curries, spicy salads, and chicken stir fried with vegetables.

Personally, I always head straight for the hole in the wall restaurants or indulge in street food. They have the cheapest price tag, and the food is almost always better.

An average meal will cost between $1-$3. Restaurants that cater to westerns and western food cost between $6-$12 a meal.

Tips to Find Mouth-Watering Food

Walk Around – Head down the side streets and alleys. Don’t be afraid to eat in a place that looks a little dirty as long as you can see where they prepare the food.

Street Food- Cheap and amazing…. enough said.

Ask the hostel staff – Ask the staff. Tell them you want to get away from the tourist restaurants and find the local hotspots.

Getting Around Thailand

Thailand runs off of buses, ferries, and trains. Lately budget airline flight prices have been so good that I have just been paying a little extra to fly.

Budget airlines in Thailand are Air Asia and Tiger Air.

However, Buses are the cheapest option. While Trains and planes are a bit more expensive.

Tours in Thailand

Companies also  Thailand backpacking trips. These are good in your are backpacking Thailand alone and looking for some company.

A couple of my favorite companies are G Adventures, and Intrepid Travel. . They both are good companie and offer different  types ofThailand tour. However, they are worth checking out if you are looking for tours in Thailand.

Places to See in Thailand

Thailand Travel tips

There are a ton of different cities to see when backpacking Thailand. Here are a few of the top ones and some suggestion of what to do when visiting this cities.

Bangkok

However, there is more to do in Bangkok than just backpackers partying.

Get off the regular tourist track and you will see a very deep city, full of culture and life.

Sadly, most people backpacking Thailand never get off Koh San Road long enough to see it.

Where to stay – I’ve been to Bangkok over 12 times, and I highly recommend either Lub’d

They are hands down the best hotels in Bangkok and a couple of my favorite hostels in the entire world.

What to see in Bangkok

Royal Palace – Over 300 years old, this extravagant palace is the main tourist attraction in Bangkok.

Cost to visit the Royal Palace: Thai people get in free. Everyone else it cost 500 Baht ($15)

Visit Bangkok’s other Temples- You might get templed out if you attempt to visit all of these in a couple of days, but here are some other.popular temples in Bangkok.

• Wat Kalayanamit
• Wat Saket and the Golden Mount
• Wat Benchamabophit
• Wat Traimit

Don’t have a lot of time, not to worry. Here is the perfect way to spend 3 days in Bangkok

What to do in Bangkok

Shop till you drop – Downtown Bangkok is filled with massive malls. Many of them are all right next to each other. Take the BTS (Sky train) to the Siam stop and you will be surrounded by shopping centers.

Party- Nightlife in Bangkok never ends. The city is wild, and I have had more than one morning I woke up and felt like I had just reenacted the movie Hangover 2.

The Main party streets in Bangkok are Koh San Rd and Soi Cowboy.

Markets – The weekly markets in Bangkok are ok. However, they are nothing compared to the massive weekend market. This market has over 8,000 stalls and shops. Some of the shops are price, but many of them are also very affordable.

How to get to Chatuchak Weekend Market: Take the BTS to Mo Chit station. The market is open Friday through Sunday.

Chiang Mai

trips to Thailand

Chiang Mai is a city that’s dear to my heart. It is a place I have called home twice in my life.

The main draws of Chiang Mai are the food, the overwhelming friendly locals, and the low price.

The quality of living in Chaing Mai for the price is insane. If you are looking to take a break from the road, and looking for a cheap hideout, then Chiang Mai is the city for you. It is possible to live like a king for $1,000 a month.

Things to See in Chiang Mai

Doi Sup Thep – The famous temple in Chaing Mai. Full of gold statues, and has some amazing views of the city.

Other popular temples to visit in Chaing Mai

  • Wat Phra That Doi Suthep,
  • Wat Chedi Luang,
  • Wat Chiang Man
  • Wat Suan Dok

Get a Sak Yant – This is my Sak Yant

Thailand Backpacking

Read about my Saky Yant Tattoo Here

What is a Sak Yant – A Magic protection tattoo given to you by a monk. This bamboo tradition started over 700 years ago in Chiang Mai area. I recommend this private tour for a Sak Yant, because they take you to an Ajram (master) who’s family has been giving Sak Yant for over 300 years.
Sak Yant Chiang Mai Experts

Eat a ton of Khao Soi – One of the best foods in Thailand.Khao Soi is known as the food of the North.

However, Khao Soi is the tourist food of the north. If you want the local experience also try Kà•nŏm jeen nám ngée•o. It is tasty ( though I like Khoa Soi better) and it is what the locals eat.

(Note: Kà•nŏm jeen nám ngée•o contains blood)

The best Khao Soi in town is Khao Soi Mae Sai. You can also get Kà•nŏm jeen nám ngée•o here as well. See it on Google Maps

Places to see and what to eat in thailand

Bus Bar Wednesday – A bunch of couch surfers meet every Wednesday at Bus Bar to talk, hang out, and share cheap drinks. When I am in Chiang Mai, I never miss it. It is a insanely fun night and a great way to meet locals and fellow travelers when backpacking Thailand.

Road Trip to Pai – A beautiful city in the mountain. Rent a bike and head on a road trip. The mountain road is full of thousands of twist and turns and some amazing views.

CHiang Mai has one of the lowest cost of living in Thailand. It is an amazing place!

Other Places to VIsit in Thailand

Pai – Beautiful city in the mountains

Chiang Rai – The two main attractions of Chiang Rai are the famous White and Black Temples

Phuket – Party town and where you will want to fly if you are going to Phi Phi or Koh Lak.

Pattaya  – On the east coast of Thailand. Pattaya is known for its beautiful beaches, big resorts, and never ending parties. 

Islands to Visit on Trips in Thailand

Backpacking Thailand Travel tips

Of course, we have to talk about the Thai Islands. Many of these islands are picture perfect with soft sandy beaches, warm water, and thick jungle.

Most backpackers flock to the islands for partying. (the parties are out of control) but there are some quite Islands for people just wanting to lounge on the beach.

Koh Tao – Famous for Scuba Diving. Kho Tao has some epic places to stay, and has a mix of nightlife and adventures. It is my favorite personal island in Thailand.

Koh Phangan- Famous for the epic full moon party that draws crowds of up to 20,000 each month.

Koh Samui – The biggest island in the area. Koh Samui is where most honeymooners and families spend their time. It is not really a party island. It is also a little more expensive than the other islands but the quality of the resorts on Koh Samui is much higher. .

Phi Phi – Known for snorkeling, scuba, party, and tattoos. Oh yes, and the fantastic views.

Other Things to do when Backpacking Thailand

Learn to Scuba Dive- Thailand is famous for having amazing dive spots. It is also one of the cheapest places to learn in the world. ( Maybe even scuba dive in a tropical storm)

Visit the Floating Markets – These boat markets are more of a tourist trap, but are still cool to see if you have the time.

Song Kran – Thai New Years turns into a wild and wet festival. With entire cities turning into a massive water fight.

I hope you enjoyed these backpacking Thailand travel tips. Feel free to comment below about your Thailand travels.

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