A Short Guide to Asia – Backpacking Asia on a Budget

Asia Highlights, backpacking asia on a budget

As you land in this majestic continent and take your first steps on this exotic land, you will be transported to a place that couldn’t be further from home. For me what makes it so special, is it’s stunning sunsets, gorgeous beaches and the diverse range of people who reside within it.

Moal Boal, Cebu, The Philippines asia
Moal Boal, Cebu, The Philippines (2013)

Asia is Earth’s largest and most populous continent, covering an area of 17,212,000 square miles and home to the majority of the human population. As you can imagine, due to it’s size Asia varies greatly as you travel from country to country. My trip took me from Brazil, straight to India. The culture shock not only occurs from travelling across continents but as you travel through Asia itself. Within it’s regions, it is notable to mention the variety of ethnic groups, religion, cultures and languages you will come across in your journey across this mystical place.

Bangkok, Thailand (2013) Asia
Bangkok, Thailand (2013)

Languages

The sheer number of languages that are spoken within Asia is mind blowing. Most Asian countries have more than one language spoken natively. Not only are there various languages spoken across each country, there are also a number of dialects in different provinces. It has been said that there are around 22 major languages in India, with 720 dialects within these languages. Do not fret, you do not need to go out and learn all of these languages in order to travel here, many of the locals will also speak English.

For me, even learning some of the more simple words within some of these complex languages helps in a number of ways. By showing willingness to learn the language will go miles with the locals you meet. I feel it’s always appreciated by the locals you meet along the way. In turn this will also allow you to have a more pleasant welcoming to a new destination.

Cuisine

Eat your way across Asia! It’s very clear to see that the recipes from Asia are some of the best in the world.  The various cuisines have taken hold of not only the countries in which they originate but the western world also. The list of top cuisines in the UK now incorporates 3 key Asian cuisines; Thai, Indian and Chinese.

Pad Thai Street Food, Thailand Asia
Pad Thai Street Food, Thailand (2013)

For me this was my favourite aspect of my Asian adventure. Using my pallet to guide my trip, I set off to explore the full flavoured food of this gorgeous destination. What more can you ask for than; delicious fresh fish curry on the beaches of Sri Lanka or red hot curries in India. Steaming bowls of Pho in Hanoi, Vietnam or Pad Thai noodles off the street stalls in Thailand.

Get yourself booked in to cooking classes when you arrive in a new destination. You can learn to cook the exotic dishes yourself. Once the meal is cooked, all you have to do is sit back and feast on the mountain of fresh food you’ve created. Taking the age old recipes home to cook for family and friends only adds to the experience!

Asia perfect for the budget traveller…

Here are just a few examples of where you can save a few quid along the way. If in Vietnam, take a pew on the small plastic stools at Bia Hoi Corner and try the cheapest beer in the world for just 10p!  Eat cheap street food from every country you can and only occasionally treat yourself to a sit down meal.  Grab a cup of delicious sweet chai tea on the overnight trains in India, they will keep you going on the long journey through the night. 

Bia Hoi Corner, Hanoi, Vietnam (2013) Asia
Bia Hoi Corner, Hanoi, Vietnam (2013)

If you have travelled through Asia, please feel free to send me your recommendations.

Abigail x

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