Backpacker Nirvana?
May 29, 2006 10:43 PM   Subscribe

Know any good travelling websites? Most specifically for backpacking in Asia...

I am going to hit up SE Asia this August, hopefully for a few months, and am looking for some great resources for planning my trip.

A backpackers message board / forum would also be great, specifically one which hooks up lone travellers into potential groups.

Any SE Asia hints in general will be gladly accepted (I am travelling starting in Japan - see previous MeFi-question)
posted by 0bvious to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Lonely Planet, and their Thorn Tree msg board?
posted by pompomtom at 10:45 PM on May 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

BootsnAll is generally pretty active.
posted by arruns at 10:56 PM on May 29, 2006

For Malaysia:

When travelling inne-city, take trains whenever possible, but when travelling inter-state, take buses. They ace where the other fails - trains are more efficient in cities, but they're slower when getting from one state to another.

Beware tourist traps.

Taxis are most likely going to overcharge you by virtue of being a foreigner. Insist on a meter, or avoid them if you can.

Malaysia isn't very pedestrian-friendly, though it is possible to get by on foot. Be careful.

if you have any questions, feel free to email me - email's in profile.
posted by divabat at 11:15 PM on May 29, 2006

Best answer: TravelersMeet may be worth looking into, although it didn't yield any travel partners for me (mostly just people not-so-subtly using it as a personals site). I also second Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree boards, and if you're thinking of going to India, the IndiaMike forums are a good resource (and you can email me for advice!).
posted by introcosm at 11:37 PM on May 29, 2006

I don't know if they have a forum for travelers, but pass planet is a pretty good resource. If you're going to be in big cities and can plan a couple days ahead you may find good deals on
posted by minkll at 11:51 PM on May 29, 2006

I haven't used it myself, but find the idea behind CouchSurfing pretty interesting.
posted by milquetoast at 1:47 AM on May 30, 2006

I'll 2nd the thorn tree.. do a search for info, and if you can't find anything, make a post like you did on here. You'll get tons of useful responses.
posted by sandmanwv at 5:27 AM on May 30, 2006

A general back packing SE asia tip: you can buy everything there so don't bring anything but your most treasured travelling items. I can't stress how easy it makes things when you pack one meduim sized backpack for your trip vs a huge backpackers backpack. Have fun.
posted by maxpower at 6:36 AM on May 30, 2006

Best answer: A couple of ideas...

Stay loose - don't be too concerned with elaborate itineraries. Much of the great parts of travelling come from unexpected suggestions and diversions. If you have worked out a schedule, expect it do change, and plan room to maneuver.

Don't worry too much about meeting people - if you are travelling to moderately common areas, using buses and suchlike you will meet people. Be sure to get tips from folk travelling from where you are going - the best information is usually from fellow travellers. Hanging around in hostels with other travellers is also great for this.

You will probably get ripped off sooner or later - don't make a big deal of it. It will likely be for a relatively tiny amount of money, so just accept it as a learning experience. Don't be paranoid about scammers, as most people in those parts are genuinely astonishingly friendly and helpful - but do keep your wits about you, stay relaxed, confident and aware. If someone is trying to trick you, be firm, but not angry. Good humour goes a long way. Don't be afraid to haggle, always approach it in the spirit of fun, and never get angry.

And yes, the thorn tree is pretty useful - maybe take an afternoon to submerge yourself in the SE Asia boards to get a preview what you are in for.

And have fun!
posted by MetaMonkey at 7:27 AM on May 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

I second the BootsnAll forum.

Also, do register on the Couchsurfing site. I joined only a couple of months ago and have had the most amazing experiences meeting travelers from all over the world. Highly recommended!
posted by koenie at 8:43 AM on May 30, 2006

Best answer: Other free accomodation sites:
Hospitality Club
Global Freeloaders
posted by koenie at 8:48 AM on May 30, 2006

Tripadvisor is excellent. Recently National Geographic's traveler magazine rated it as one of the best. Check out the Asia forum, or the various sub fora especially.
posted by Amizu at 9:10 AM on May 30, 2006

Best answer: Thorn Tree has pretty much jumped the shark - too much garbage on there now. We found travelfish helpful in SE Asia recently.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:35 AM on May 30, 2006

Bookmarked this a while ago for armchair traveling: TravelBlog is a site that hosts blogs by travelers. You can search by country and find people's stories about traveling there.
posted by easternblot at 5:31 PM on May 30, 2006

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