I need recommendations for 'real traveler' backpacking locations/routes.
I currently find myself in Southeast Asia and while I espected there to be a lot of tourists I had no idea what it would actually be like. I thought Cancun was the byword for over traveled; every place here is orders of magnitude beyond that I'm currently in Cambodia and there's a fucking Hard Rock Cafe up the street. It's also insanely cheap here and everything is available so I'm enjoying it as a cheap luxurious vacation, but I'm not getting that sense of loneliness, hardship, and worry and since I'm saving so much with it being so cheap I'm gonna go somewhere 'hard' after this for a few weeks or months.
I'm thinking maybe Sri Lanka or a Kenya-Uganda-Tanzania loop. Other ideas welcome. I'm looking for something where I won't see many other tourists/backpackers, but I don't want to be kidnapped by al quaida and I don't want it to cost a crazy amount (ie not more than $15 on accom a night, although I don't really care about quality or comfort).
- Are there any multi-country West African tours that can be done independently without breaking the bank that have a few highlights?
- Papua New Guinea?
- Is anywhere in Eastern Europe under-traveled? (Ukraine?)
Essentially I'm looking for uncomfortable (to keep away the crowds) but not actually dangerous (who wants to be kidnapped).
Just go up to China. The language barrier itself is a challenge. Try not to stay in hostels - ask people where to find a 'lu gwan'. Its a cheap hotel, and they're everywhere. The transport is cheap and fast. If I was you I'd go deep into northern Yunnan and disappear into the temperate valleys comprising the foothills of the Himalayas. Although I've been to Yunnan before, the highest I went was Lijiang. Checking out the Burma/Tibet/Yunnan crossroads is on my itinerary.
Sri Lanka is babby tier, going there in two weeks for 5 days. If this threads still up I'll report back on how many whites there are.
PNG is demigod trvlr tier.
Random violence, muggings, kidnappings, cannibalism. Avoid unless you have a security detachment. Get old, but a boat, cruise the coast. That's how I'm going to see PNG.
Why is this? Is it actually worse than say West Africa?
If what they're after is money and I don't have much on me to look at me why would they bother? Is it possible that once you get away from the capital / big cities it's actually pretty chill? (A la most of Africa or the Afro-Caribbean)
How about Sumatra?
You can get a flight from BKK to Medan quite cheap and there is less tourist industry.
People speak english at touristy spots but for moving around you should learn at least few words of indonesian. Most of the tourists there were locals, from Jakarta etc prbably due to the xmas/new year, but there were other backpackers traveling alone or couples, depending on the place.
I went to Pulau Weh to dive, chilled out at Lake Toba and checked out the semi-wild orangutangs at Bukit Lawang. I think it was one of the cheapest places I've ever been to and I've travelled the region fair bit (Vietnam, cambodia, thailand, philippines).
Pic related, that cottage with hot water and squat toilet at Toba was something like 100k (7 euros) during Christmas. I think you can find cheaper ones as well, as I didnt shop around that much.
Isn't a lot of Sumatra under shariah law? I like to drink (and don't like being woken up early) so Muslim countries are usually a drag. What does a beer cost on Sumatra and how available?
In Aceh they have the sharia and you cant find beer in menus. They do sell it anyway in Weh, but it was expensive (about 2,5 euros for a small can). If go there, do what I did and bring a bottle of your own booze.
In Toba, the population is called Bataks and they are Christians so no sharia there, and if remember correctly the price for beer was about the same as in Thailand. They also sell shrooms and weed pretty openly there, if you are into that.
Bukit Lawang was pretty much the same as Toba in terms of alcohol and weed.
I thought coming here I'd at least enjoy the Cambodian coast: Sinahoulville, Koh Rong... But talking to people coming from there it's awful, full of the worst kinds of tourists (yuppie couples who don't care what they spend bidding anything decent and quiet through the roof and druggie burnouts who demand to have Bob Marley blasting at all hours while they tend to their braids cliches etc).
I'm still gonna go to Koh Rong since it looks large enough that I can just fuck of along the coast and live in a hammock if thats what it takes to get some peace, but obviously more work than it should require to get away from the party and drug scene without paying fly-in prices.
I'm really intrigued by the idea of PNG would love if someone who has been there could comment. Otherwise it sounds like Africa is the only Real Traveler(tm) locale left.
The off beaten path areas are the ones way from the coast. That's why Laos and Isan would meet your criteria. They are not as easy to get around and not as well travelled by outsiders for that reason. There is a Burma thread on here right now. I suggest you reqd through it.
>OP goes to the most backpacked part of the world (outside of western europe) and wonders why there are so many tourists...
What you need to do is get off the banana pancake trail. There are still a few spots in that region that are not drowned in tourists. Some examples include: Myanmar, Borneo, Sumatra, some of the islands east of Bali, Sulawesi. China has so many people that even if a million whities traveled there they would be hard to notice. Now I do have to say that the places are listed still have tourists, and since you're staying in hotels/hostels/guesthouses you will always be in close proximity to tourists.
You do need a "group" visa to visit Tibet, this is true. You're free to move around Yunnan though. I've been to both countries and they're quite different, but I understand if you are trying to go for something even more different.
Honestly I don't know. I just remember a thread here one time and a guy said there was a shoot out at the airport while he was waiting for his flight. There are other stories about how crazy PNG is, but it might be that its just Port Moresby thats dangerous and the rest of the country is chill. I saw an episode of River Monsters where he went to PNG and the people were pretty nice. I bet he had security though.
Sometimes things are popular for a reason. Turlock is pretty "off the trail", but it doesn't mean it's worth going to. Chill and accept the fact that, unless you're actually living there, you're a tourist.
If you're going to koh rong then don't go via the standard ferry that every backpacker takes because the destination is filled with the type of people you're talking about... at least when I went in the summer. I've heard that there are some private islands up north which you have to take a different boat to. They seem to be a lot more quieter.
If you want quiet hammock scenery then I'd suggest lower Laos where there's a few islands.