Inspiration, Responsible tourism, Travel tips

5 Best Backpacking Destinations

best backpacking destinations

Backpacking is an incredible way to see the world. While backpacking may be more adventurous than traditional travel, it provides travelers the chance to have a more authentic experience and stay on a budget.

If this type of travel is new to you, it can seem a bit daunting. But, don’t worry. We have compiled a list of the 5 best backpacking destinations around the world. So, read on and start planning your backpacking adventure today!

Vietnam

halong bay vietnam

                                                    Swim in the crystal clear water of Halong Bay.

An up and coming destination, Vietnam is quickly becoming one of the best backpacking destinations. From the mountains to the coast, this Southeast Asian country is a unique destination to visit. With hostel beds being $5 and delicious street food between $1 to $2, staying on budget while exploring Vietnam is very easy.

  • Where to Go

For big-city lovers, don’t leave without exploring Hanoi. Vietnam’s capital, this is a city rich with culture and history. Discover the city’s many museums to get acquainted with Vietnamese culture. See the Quan Se Temple and learn more about the Buddhist faith. Wander the twisting streets of the Old Quarter. There, shop and eat at the local vendors. With a bowl of Pho no more than $1, you can’t beat those prices, or tastes.

To really live like a local, rent a motorbike and head to the famous Vietnamese beaches. Untouched and idyllic, these beaches are the perfect place for some relaxation after the hustle and bustle of the city. Explore the various islands in Halong Bay or go scuba diving in Nha Trang.

 

vietnam sapa region

                                                 Trek through the Sapa region and live like a local.

  • What to Do

Explore the Sapa region and experience daily life in a rural community. Sapa O’Chau offers multi-day treks that will take you through various villages like Suoi Ho and Matra. Meet the local people and learn about local herbal remedies. Since Vietnam is one of the largest producers of rice, discover the rice paddies in the area and how this staple crop is produced. Most importantly, this social enterprise helps support the educational endeavors of local students.

 

Thailand

bangkok thailand

Wander down the bustling streets of Bangkok.

While Thailand is getting increasingly more popular with tourists, this inexpensive country is still a great country to backpack through. This country has it all: lush jungle, tropical beaches, bustling cities and delicious food. One of the most popular backpacking destinations, a trip to Thailand is not to be missed.

  • Where to Go 

The capital city Bangkok is truly a one-of-a-kind place. Check out the Grand Palace and Buddhist temples that scatter the city. Khao San Road is a mecca for backpackers and a great place for nightlife and restaurants. Thai cuisine is incredible so hit the streets. There, you will find food markets and street vendors serving authentic, and inexpensive, dishes.

To get away from the crowds, and more expensive prices, head to Northern Thailand. Perfect for those wanting to get away from the city and experience nature. While Chiang Mai is a popular tourist destination, head a bit off the beaten path. Go on a trek through the jungle and visit the local hill tribes. Rent a motorbike and travel the Mae Hong Son Loop. Admire the beautiful scenery while seeing the Thai countryside.

 

thailand elephant encounter

                                                  Bathe elephants in this ethical animal experience.

  • What to Do

Animal encounters in Thailand are a popular tourist attraction. Unfortunately, many of the animals in these encounters are treated very poorly. So, it is extremely important to visit somewhere dedicated to treating them ethically.

In Petchaburi, visit the Wildlife Friends Foundation’s Wildlife Rescue Centre. The centre is home to over 450 rescued animals. On your visit, learn the stories of the animals. Then, get the chance to walk an elephant and assist with their daily showers and feedings. Thus, get the chance to see wildlife up close in a safe and ethical environment.

Cambodia

                                                          Revel in the beautiful temples at Angkor Wat.

While Cambodia’s history is marked by political instability and violence, the future is bright for this country. As such, it is becoming an attractive destination for tourists. A country filled with ancient temples and bustling cities, travel to Cambodia for a unique experience. The friendly locals and low costs of travel gave Cambodia a spot on our best backpacking destinations list.

  • Where to Go

A trip to Cambodia isn’t complete without seeing Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is a temple complex where remains of the Khmer Empire are found. Spend a day exploring the entire site and the various ruins in the area. Built with both Hindu and Buddhist traditions in mind, Angkor Wat provides an incredible glimpse into Cambodian history.

After visiting the temples, take a scenic river cruise to Battambang. This city is characterized by its’ French colonial architecture and riverside location. Explore the countryside surrounding the city and visit some local villages to get a taste of the real Cambodia.

cambodian dance

                                       Learn traditional Cambodian dances with Cambodian Living Arts.

  • What to Do

Visit the capital Phnom Penh, the bustling capital of Cambodia. Wander the streets and explore the markets, shops and street vendors. Additionally, discover the culture through the arts. The nonprofit Cambodian Living Arts hosts a cultural experience at the National Museum of Cambodia. See a traditional dance showcase, which benefits local artists. Thus, further immerse yourself into Cambodian culture.

Nicaragua

nicaragua

                                                      Discover beautiful colonial architecture in Nicaragua.

Head next door to Costa Rica’s neighbor for an incredible Central American trip. Nicaragua is perfect for adventure seekers or for those who just want to catch some sun on the beach. There is something for everyone. While Costa Rica is becoming more of a tourist hot spot, Nicaragua is lesser known. Meaning lower prices and a relatively untouched landscape—a hidden gem for backpackers.

  • Where to Go

First, head to Granada. This colonial town with its’ impressive architecture will make you feel like you have stepped back in time. Walk through the cobblestoned streets and admire the beautiful pastel buildings. Wander down the main street Calle la Calzada. Visit the Catedral de Granada with its’ bright yellow exterior.

After you get your fill of architecture and history, make your way to the beach. Ometepe Island is formed by two volcanoes and is the largest island in Lake Nicaragua. Relax in a hammock on one of the island’s many beaches or swim in the crystal clear water.

nicaragua hacienda merida

                                                         Discover the natural beauty of Ometepe Island.

  • What to Do

Alternatively, go on a volcano hike with Hacienda Merida. This social enterprise offers a 2-day tour that will take you up the volcano. Revel in the immense natural beauty and get a stunning view of the country from the top. Even better, this hike supports educational development for the local community!

Georgia

tbilisi georgia

                                                   Explore Georgia and its’ rich history and culture.

While Europe can be expensive, especially on a backpacker’s budget, Eastern Europe is a great alternative. Georgia is a small country located where Europe and Asia meet. Thus, it is a place with a rich history and diverse landscapes. A great meal here will cost around $6 and private hostel rooms will only be around $10 a night. Low costs and incredible views make this one of the best backpacking destinations.

  • Where to Go

Not as popular as the capital city Tbilisi, Kutaisi is nonetheless worth the visit. This city is home to the Georgian Parliament and 2 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Discover medieval Georgian architecture at the Bagrati Cathedral. Built in the 11th century the cathedral is located on top of a hill, providing incredible views of the city and surrounding area.

Venture out of the city into the Georgian countryside. The Svantei region is home to the indigenous population the Svans. Their rich culture is best depicted in their songs and dances that have been passed down through the generations. The tallest mountain range in Europe, the Caucasus Mountains, runs through this region. So, a hike through the gorgeous landscape is a must.

georgia elkana

                                                  Sample traditional Georgian foods in a local village.

  • What to Do

Visit Tsnisi, a village in rural Georgia. Join a tour organized by the Biofarming Association Elkana. Discover the local farm and the indigenous crops native to the area. Then, try traditional Georgian cheeses and bread. Additionally, the country is home to some of the oldest wine regions. At the end of your tour, put your wine tasting skills to the test and try some local specialties.

Add some of our best backpacking destinations to your list and book an authentic travel experience with Visit.org.

best backpacking destinations

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