For the past six months my husband and I had been trying to figure out what to do in the summer. We knew we wanted to spend a month away somewhere, but not exactly sure what that place would be. For a few months we decided that we would go inter railing through Europe, but then we had an even better idea. We booked our tickets to go backpacking in South East Asia two weeks before the departure date.
We were beyond excited, it was the perfect plan. The original idea was to travel Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and a week in the south of China to spend some time with a close friend. We knew it was ambitious but thought we could pull it off. Our first stop was Bangkok, my first experience staying in a hostel. Luckily, it was a very nice and modern hostel, air condition and all. I started to think it won't be too hard "roughing" it for the next few weeks. To make a long story short, that was the nicest hostel we stayed in. Not that we stayed in bad places, they were all clean, for the most part. But it was definitely an experience. The weirdest part of it was not being able to share a bed with my husband, for almost a year now I'm used to him being right next to me. Most nights it was a struggle to sleep, but soon we realised it wasn't much more to get a private room in the hostel so we started to do that.
I don't even know where to begin to talk about the actual trip itself, as in what we saw and did. We ended up spending just under 3 weeks in Thailand because we were enjoying it so much. We trekked on elephants, got to hold a tiger's head, trekked to waterfalls and up mountains, rode scooters in the mountain, stayed in a hut, went island hopping, and of course went to the full moon party. Our adventures in Vietnam consisted of buying silk, getting a tailor made suit, seeing a new wonder of the world, trying not to get run over, and once again riding scooters through the mountains and rice paddies. It was awesome. We stepped away from the world we are used to and its luxuries to really delve in to something completely different. We did what we wanted when we wanted to.
I have never travelled like this. Half of the places we went to were small towns, no chain stores or restaurants. We didn't do any tours because we wanted to explore things at our own pace. Of course we bought things along the way, mainly clothes, but we kept to just a backpack each. My husband and I usually overpack for everything, but for once we made sure not to. The main shopping happened when we were in Guangzhou, China. We literally shopped till we dropped. If you're looking to buy some really trendy, good quality, and moderately priced clothes and accessories then go to Guangzhou.
I am so thankful to have had this experience, and I am sure it won't be the last. I think every few years we will do a backpacking trip to really get to the roots of a place, not the resorts and glam.