21 PROBLEMS EVERY BACKPACKER WILL ENCOUNTER IN ASIA

Because let’s face it, no matter where we are in the world, some of us still need to complain.

  1. When you ask someone to take a photo of you in front of a famous landmark or amazing view… and they only get you in the shot. 

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2. Having to buy a replacement pair of flip flops every four days. Where do they all go? 

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3. Mosquitos. 

And the constant fear you might have contracted dengue from one, because you’re tired all the time.

4. Travelling all night to get somewhere you really wanted to see, then being too tired to enjoy it when you arrive. 

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… what? There were wild tigers? I was too busy catching up on my sleep.

5. Lying in your hostel bed the morning after two buckets of Sangsom and Red Bull, wondering if each laboured breath will be your last.

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6. Snorers in dorms. 

What’s your chosen tactic? A bed rattle? A loud cough as close to the culprit’s head as possible?

7. Arriving in a new town in 40 degree heat, and being too stubborn to get a taxi or bus. 

All about cutting those costs. We will walk to save money! (often less than the equivalent of £1 or $2).

8. No matter how savvy you think you’ve become, always ending up at the tuktuk driver’s mum’s friend’s fabric shop after you’ve been convinced the temple you wanted to visit was closed.

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9. Never having enough room in your backpack for all of the useless gifts you succumb to buying.

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Your fourteenth pair of silk baba-pants? A $1 wooden elephant statue for your blind grandad? A photocopied edition of Shantaram for $2? Totally worth the $100 postal fee to send it all home in a box!

10. Having your dreams of cute, playful monkeys shattered after your first near-death run-in with one of the ferocious creatures.

 

11. Never really knowing whether to trust the vendor who tells you, ‘yes, clean bottled water’. 

 …Then spending the next three days in tiny, tiled bathrooms staring into the toilet bowl.

12. Constantly having to dress and re-dress the burn from a Vietnamese motorbike exhaust pipe on the back of your right leg.

These wounds are now so common amongst travellers we call them ‘the Saigon Kiss’. You might as well wear your scar with pride.

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13. Impractically placed plug sockets, often just a foot or two away from the ceiling, yet five metres from the nearest shelf.

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14. Traffic. 

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15. Constantly having to walk on the roads due to all of the traffic, both stationary and moving, on the pavements. 

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16. Realising you’ve lost your headphones in the first five minutes of an eight hour bus journey. 

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17. Realising you’re going to have to hitch a boat ride back to the mainland with one of the locals when a storm is imminent and the waves are larger than their boat. 

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Where’s the sick bag?

18. Coming to the realisation that every item of clothing you’re wearing has elephants on it. 

You might even wake up with a tattoo of one on your foot.

19. If you’re a guy, having to wear a long skirt issued by the ticket office for the third time because you’ve accidentally worn shorts to visit a temple in 35 degree heat, again. You’ll never learn. 

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20. Arriving in Australia, New Zealand or Singapore and being outraged by the price of everything. 

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21. Hometime. 

The crash back down into reality is the hardest one of all. How can we possibly go back to normal every day life after so many months of freedom in such a wonderful, colourful world? How can we even begin to describe what we saw and experienced when people who could never understand ask, “well, how was it?”

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