Top 10 International Destinations To Go For First Time Filipino Backpackers
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This is according to our personal experience backpacking around-the-world with a basic budget of $25/day. I have based this list on the ease of getting a Visa, availability of backpacker’s accommodation and transportation, feasibility of living on a $25 / day budget, uniqueness and interesting features.
1. Hanoi, Vietnam
Food, Beer, Secret Night Life, Motorbikes – if this sounds like a fun cocktail to you then Hanoi is the place to be! The crazy chaos of the daily life in this Asian city makes it one of the best backpacking destinations in the world. Hanoi is also a great base for loads of amazing places to visit in the north including the incredible Ha Long Bay.
2. Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand
Sunrise at Thong Nai Pan by Markf 234 via Wikimedia Commons
Known for the (in)famous Full Moon Party, Koh Pha Ngan is a backpacker’s party heaven. It’s the best place to experience your first crazy party on your travels. Since it’s pretty much every gap year backpacker’s favorite destination in Thailand, expect to find a lot of dorm beds, restaurants and random outdoor activities around the island. A little less known, is that Koh Pha Ngan has another side – a spiritual community of full time yogis, so if you want to explore yoga and spirituality then this is the place to be.
3. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Kach in Chiang Mai
If you want to see and meet experienced long-term travelers then this is where you’ll find them! This is one of the most famous hubs for international freelancers and digital nomads. The strategic location for visa runs, cheap Thai food every day, incredible countryside all around, the feeling of being surrounded by Nomads –Chiang Mai has it all. When you go, you might even change your life plans and stay there long term!
4. Luang Prabang, Laos
This lesser-known UNESCO World Heritage site is a peaceful retreat from some of the crazier destinations on the Banana Pancake route. It’s not too crowded, it’s friendly and surrounded by waterfalls, rivers and stunning scenery. It also has one of the best night markets in South East Asia!
5. Sihannoukville, Cambodia
Kach in Angkor Wat Putt
Alright, so a lot of the backpackers who visit Cambodia just head for Phnom Penh and then Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat. If you want a break from urban life, then head for the coast and the beachside town of Sihannoukville. It doesn’t have the best beaches in comparison with Thailand and the Philippines, but it’s a place that’s not too crowded, where you can chill out and even indulge in ‘Happy’ Pizza and cookies – if that’s what you’re into! From Sihannoukville, you can also take a short boat ride to one of Cambodia’s stunning and almost deserted islands, for a few days of sun, sand and ultimate relaxation.
6. Yerevan, Armenia
Where on earth is this? Ha! This is located in Central Asia and was a part of the Former Soviet Union. If you want to experience a unique and enchanting European city, without applying for a Schengen visa then Armenia is for you! Armenia is a pretty cheap country and you can get a visa on arrival for 30 days! From Armenia, you can also easily take a train to Georgia, another country where you can get a 183 day visa! The scenery, the food and the wine will make you want to live here forever but of course you won’t as there are more awesome cities to visit nearby to this yet to be famous country.
7. Manali, India
Manali Mountains photo by Wikimedia Commons
Most of the tourists in India just go to the Golden Triangle (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur), but if you’re interested in snowcapped mountains or even the chance to ski (yes, Ski on real snow!!) in Asia, then Manali is the best place to be. Overnight buses from New Delhi can bring you to this backpacker heaven in the Northwest of India.
If you have extra time, visit the home of the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, then maybe head out to Rishikesh to do some yoga before going back to Delhi. I’m telling you, the Northwest and North East of India is the best place to be – the difference in the North East is that it is ideal for more experienced travelers.
8. Goa, India
Jon and Kach in Agonda Beach Goa India
If you’re traveling from the North and you still have a crazy extra amount of time, then head down to Goa! Goa is a really small state of India but it’s divided by two – North Goa and South Goa. The South is the quiet part where you can find the best beaches in India – Agonda, Galgibaga, Patnem and Palolem while the North is the crazy party and hippie area! Goa is even listed as one of the best places to party in the world – if you go, you won’t need to ask why.
9. Cuzco, Peru
Well, who wouldn’t like to go to Machu Picchu? As a Filipino, we can even get a 183 day tourist visa on arrival in Peru! From Lima, Cuzco is another overnight bus journey. You might have a little trouble with the altitude at first but it’s all worth it to visit Machu Picchu.
Traveling in Peru is pretty cheap, (the only big expense is the flight from Asia,) you can easily flash pack with a $25/day budget in this place! And if you’re already in Peru, you should definitely check out the Amazonas and Lake Titikaka?
10. La Paz, Bolivia
Jon and Kach at Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia
If you’re already in Peru, why not go straight to its neighboring country for a serious dose of culture and history. La Paz Bolivia is another overnight bus (17 hour) away from Cuzco and you can easily cross the border by land – they will give you 30 day visa on arrival! La Paz is the highest Capital City in the world but don’t worry, since coming from Cuzco, you’re already well-prepared for the altitude! Also, it’s one of the few cities in South America where you can totally splurge, as it’s really cheap here (just like in India). If you still have enough time, head straight to the incredible Uyuni Salt Flats for a three-day four-wheel-drive adventure!